Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Naoya Isoda


Placeshifting is a convenient service that enables customers to enjoy television programs from their home countries even if they are in foreign countries. Placeshifting works by receiving/recording a television program in one country and then transmitting the digital data to customers everywhere in the world via the Internet upon each customer’s request. Because placeshifting may be involved with recording and/or transmitting copyrighted content, service providers must face the question whether they may be liable for copyright infringement. In the United States, the Second Circuit in Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings decided the legality of placeshifting by requiring a “volition element” for direct infringement. In Japan, however, court decisions have varied. Most of the courts have applied an overall consideration standard such as the “Karaoke rule.” As a result, there remains large uncertainty about the state of the law in Japan. This Article introduces the legal basis and judicial decisions for placeshifting both in the United States and Japan and suggests introducing the volition requirement as one possible solution for the uncertainty in Japan.

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