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Japan Reconsiders Copyright Law For Search

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The Japanese government plans to amend existing copyright laws to make allowances for search engine indexing, according to Japan Today.

As it stands, Japanese copyright law requires search engines to seek permission from webmasters and/or copyright holders before indexing their material. The amendment is expected to include language similar to the United States’ Fair Use provisions for indexing.

The move is expected to boost search success in Japan as the major international search engines, as well as domestic, will be able to maintain search server computers within the country.

The complete legality of search indexes has been in question for years, and has been challenged in court by several organizations, mostly publishers.

Google is facing a lengthy court battle over a recent project with the aim of scanning and indexing books and making their content available online.

Major publishers worldwide have objected to the project on sheer principle, though their exposure will be greater and only snippets of copyrighted text will be accessible.

Most recently, it has been Belgium that objects most strongly to content indexing without permission. Belgium newspapers filed suit and won judgment against Google and is currently pursuing similar restrictions on Yahoo.

Critics have scoffed at Copiepress’ unwillingness to bend on the issue, considering the traffic Google can generate for online newspapers. The Japanese government seems to understand that value.

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