Square Enix has sued the producers of a music video containing cosplay recreations of scenes from its CG movie Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, and has been awarded a 400,000,000 won ($325,000) settlement for copyright violation.
The basis of the case is that Korean producer “Phantom Productions” violated Square’s copyrights and used “modified” sections of the movie without permission, in a successful music video used for commercial purposes. Korean courts agreed, and ordered Phantom to pay damages.
It is certainly undeniable that the video resembles the movie very closely. Whether it actually used sections of the movie as Square’s lengthy crowing insists is less apparent, though courts recognised the fact, so it is presumably the case. However, it does appears that the commercial cosplay was also an issue…
You can see the music video below:
Nico has spliced Advent Children together with the cosplay for comparison purposes (this is not the version made by the Koreans!):
Japanese commentators’ usual hatred of Korea is readily apparent in the general response, which is delighted. However, Japanese producers are famously no stranger to occasionally making “tributes” to other works, so there seems to be a double standard at play.
Additionally, a substantial number of Japanese cosplayers freely make unauthorised use of copyrighted properties in commercially created parody works, some on a highly commercial basis.
Whether parody or plagiarism, cosplayers will doubtless be concerned if the precedent spreads beyond Korea, none more so than TMA…