Japan

Can Virtual YouTubers sue for harassment of their character?

The portal Niconico News published an article in which a lawyer commented on the requirements that virtual people, especially Virtual YouTubers, must meet today in order to be able to legally proceed against defamation of their character (not from the real person himself). In this case, he emphasizes that it is now essential that the real person affected by the crime be a social circle.

«Hana Kimura, a Japanese professional wrestler, committed suicide for internet bullying, so it is undeniable that this is a visible problem today. It is no longer uncommon for the victims to be famous not only on TV, but also people who do not show their faces, such as Virtual YouTubers broadcasting on avatars (sites) anonymous Twitter users and characters. However, even if these “covered persons” go to court, it is not easy to recover the damage. We asked Yuichi Nakazawa, a lawyer specializing in online defamation cases, why this is and what can be done to restore the reputation of those who have not revealed their true identity.».

«Why is it so difficult to fight defamation if true identity is not revealed? Within the framework of current judicial precedents and court decisions, only a living person (natural person) or a genuine legal person may be considered to be the only participants in defamation (and may be a victim of defamation). Thus, an online alias does not become a victim of defamation independently, and defamation is recognized when an alias is used to represent a real person or legal entity (as a nickname)».

«There are Twitter users who do not reveal their true identity, but post and so on, and many Virtual YouTubers are also related to an agency and are probably related to people in real life. If you have a working history of alias in real life offline, slander is approved. In many cases, agency-related Virtual YouTubers will comply with the legal requirements to proceed legally».

«On the other hand, isn't libel available for “alpha tweeters” and “independent Virtual YouTubers” that have no links to real life? We have experienced instances where defamation is claimed in connection with the recreational accounts of non-reputable individuals, for example, when a person has participated in offline meetings about an alias, or where a photograph of a person has been posted. the Internet so that people who know her in real life can see who she is. However, if you do not have these activities in real life and you are completely alone and separate your online personality from your real life personality, then under the current court framework, defamation law will not be forever and ever.».

«In late 2021, Virtual YouTuber announced that it was preparing to sue another Virtual YouTuber! I have seen the complainant ‘s views in the newspapers. The plaintiff appears to have been seriously hurt by the slander against his character as a Virtual YouTuber, not by the slander against the “real person”. I think this is the crux of the damage in this case. However, this construction does not coincide with the court's view that “flesh and blood is the victim of defamation” and it will be a winning challenge. It would be different if the problem was: “people who know me now are thinking badly of me about what happened to the defamation of my Virtual YouTuber”»

«However, as the Internet has become widespread in society, more and more people are building their own personality on the Internet alone. In these social circumstances, there is a need to debate whether to maintain the framework for limiting the content of the right to live and exclude the legal protection of avatas. Now even online activities can make money, and everyone agrees that things like the number of followers have economic value. In doing so, it is establishing real-life support for online personalities that no longer exist or exist. If, in this case of Virtual YouTubers, the necessary damage that “defamation of my real person is harmed against my virtual character” is considered in court, it can pave the way for the legal protection of online personalities.».

Fountain: Niconico

© DWANGO Co., Ltd.

Akira

Il n'y a pas de honte à être faible, la honte est de le rester.

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