Police have arrested 2 hobbyists for the grievous crime of modifying a figure to look like another character, charging them with criminal copyright infringement.
The pair, aged 35 and 36 and involved with the operation of a Niigata toy shop, were found to have modified a figure to resemble a villain appearing in Toei’s Kamen Rider W, selling the completed figure in an Internet auction to a Tokyo man for ¥270,000.
The figure at issue was identified online:
Reportedly their work was of exquisite quality and popular with fans of the show – certainly the case considering the quality of the work on display on their homepage.
They admit the charges, explaining that “As we weren’t making mass manufactured goods but a single hand-made item, we thought they would overlook it.”
The arrests are an unhappy reminder that virtually anyone involved with doujinshi events, parody art and even cosplay is liable to be arrested should copyright holders become unhappy for some reason, or even should police get bored with arresting people for having sex in groups of 2 or more and instead decide to launch independent prosecutions for copyright infringement themselves.