UGC Song Parody: Freedom Of Expression Or Libeling Her?

Aoi Usagi by Noriko Sakai
Noriko Sakai, who used to be a popular J-pop idol in late 1980s and is now an actress starring on several TV commercial films, was arrested on a suspicion of possessing illegal stimulants last weekend.   She has an enormous number of her fans in Asian nations, especially Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and several Beijing-based news portal sites are filled with her pictures, articles on this case and comments from Internet users.
Despite the record company, which has released her songs, is now calling in her CD albums/singles from music storefronts (announcement by Victor Entertainment[J]), her best hit song titled “a blue hare (aoi usagi)” momentarily marked the 1st rank in counting of downloaded items at iTunes Store, for the first time in a long time since her previous hit.  (A few days after marking the good number, all electronic song distributors, including iTune Store and ringtone content providers, completely withdrew her all songs from their lists.)
This week, some people composed an ironical and parody song named “a white drug (shiroi kusuri)” after her best hit, and some patterns of the music videos filming a virtual singing performance by vocaloid “Miku Hatsune[J]“, a vocal synthesizer developed by Sapporo-based music/sound software company Crypton Future Media[J], were uploaded to video sharing site Nico Nico Douga[J].   Totally these videos have been viewed more than 200,000 times in the last three days.
On Thursday, reportedly Nico Nico removed the videos in accordance with a request by Crypton, and Crypton said that it did so since the videos contained lyrics which might libel a specific person and a result of Crypton’s product.   (Basically Crypton permits any users of the vocaloid software to create any type of works derived from it, and you need not to worry about possible copyright conflict when you publish the works on the Internet.)
A well-known Internet tycoon and the managing director for NicoNico Douga, Hiroyuki Nishimura says on his blog[J],

I can’t find which part of Crypton’s rights have been violated by the uploaded videos.   If any items that Crypton hates had removed without sufficient reason nor the users’ understanding, they could be nastier than JASRAC (the country’s copyright administrating authority).

Author’s note: JASRAC has been often accused by Japanese UGC (user-generated content) site owners because the organization has requested the owners to remove items from their sites without presenting sufficient explanation.   This week’s video removal case could be more acceptable for Internet users if it had been executed based not on Crypton’s request but on Nico Nico’s well-considered judgment.   The video was already copied onto YouTube, and we have no idea whether YouTube has been requested to remove it by Crypton.    Because of no specific name found in the animation and the lyrics, generally speaking, no third-party will have the privilege to compel its removal.

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August 18th Update:
On Monday, Nico Nico Douga set the video back on the site because Nico Nico learned Crypton’s removal request had no legal basis.   For successful compromise, NicoNico requested the removal to the person who had uploaded the video.

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