There is no law that forces you to give your image to anyone, but since photography used to be a hobby it does not have to be an artist. There is no need to pay licensing fees and no legal requirement; if you do not own it and do not intend on selling it, you are free to remove it. If you are an employer who does not want to pay your employees to shoot and photograph your business, you may request it be taken down.
This is a question you will have to consider during your research for your next project. Most people do not own their photos, but if you do not know which photographer owns or licenses it, talk to someone whom you trust. Some photographers will not give you the address of the photographer and other will say they will give you an address but will not do so.
What if I need to use the photograph for a business promotion?
It will not matter whether you are a photographer or a designer! If you do the project yourself, it is legal to do so.
What if the photographer is in Japan?
In order that you receive a valid work visa to Japan to shoot your project, you must apply first to the local tourist office. It is important to obtain the necessary paperwork for your project. This could take up to 12 days and could cost you money! If you are in Japan, you should apply to the Tourism Ministry for each of your projects.
Photography Licenses in Japan
Japan has some of the most stringent copyright laws on the planet compared to other countries, and you must be aware of them.
You must follow the guidelines established by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. There are lots of websites and books available to help you.
The government’s official website is http://www.mocos.go.jp/english/index.html and the Embassy recommends all photographers to visit the main section titled “Photography and copyright/imperiled interests/licensing”. They must read it!
This is a fairly extensive guide of all government rules and regulations. Visit: http://www.npp.go.jp/english/images/index.html or http://www.npp.go.jp/english/english/categories1_3_5_4.html
The Embassy recommends that you contact the appropriate copyright specialist or copyright group in your country before starting your project: Copyright Officer, Japanese Copyright Office; Copyright Assistant
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