Hatsune Miku Paradox

by Laura Wilson

A creation by Crypton Future Media, Hatsune Miku became world re-known in a short time for her synthesized singing sensation.  Her name is also formed from the adoption of Japanese words for first (hatsu), sound (ne) and future (miku) which can be twisted into the first sound of the future, which is exactly what she has become.  In learning about Hatsune Mike, which I had never heard of prior to this class, I have learned that she is not only computer generated, but an idol in Japan.  Her popularity has sky rocketed, just as she appeared on an aluminum plate on the Venus spacecraft.  I find it interesting that although Hatsune Mike is protected under Japanese copyright laws, her very existence is due to the fabrication and recreation of other people’s music.

How does Hatsune Miku fit into the realm of Intellectual property? Wouldn’t the very creation of Hatsune Miku and all of her music, performances, and existence be a new idea or creation.  Taking her as a creation, wouldn’t then we be able to call anything she creates, even if it is a re-creation of another’s work, a new piece of art?  Looking at how technology is changing the radio and music industry, is it time for government to investigate the intellectual property laws, or would that fall under what Foucault coined Governmentality?  Within the realm of governmentality we as citizens would be the key to determining the validity and rights of such projects and allowing the citizens to self govern their own creations, thus eliminating the need for governmental control.  But how do you enforce the rules, morals and ethical principals of governmentality when you have cultures that are so vastly different working on the same page.  Just comparing Japanese culture to the American culture and looking at copyright and intellectual property laws, could they work on an even ground?

Hatsune Miku presents many questions about technology and intellectual property laws.    Many may argue Fair Use for Hatsune Miku because of research and parody, such as the case In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. (1994) Supreme Court recognized parody as a fair use, even when done for profit.  Creators of Hatsune Miku could argue that they were using parodies of popular music to show the capabilities and entertainment value of their creation.  Collecting profits from Hatsune Mike, not the music that she was generating.  She is now making enormous amounts of money by appearing on cars, live concert appearances, cafe designs and she even has a role in gaming systems through Sega and Nintendo 3DS (2009)

Discussions surrounding Hatsune Miku and copyright, fair use, governmentality and intellectual copyright laws are just going to become more convoluted and difficult to determine how to move forward as the technology is constantly changing and evolving.  What seems to be the goal of the company that created Hatsune Miku, Crypton Future Media, is to show consumers and other technology creative individuals where we are heading, what can be done with audio, music and video and the first steps in creating it. What many people that have created intellectual property do is hide behind the laws preventing others from using it to move forward and create something bigger and better.  Within the United States, the Intellectual Property Protection Restoration Act of 2003 second purpose was to promote technological innovation and artistic creation in furtherance of the policies underlying Federal laws and international treaties relating to intellectual property.  In the past 10-15 years there have been numerous acts, doctrines, and laws that have tried to clarify and protect the individuals rights over their intellectual properties.  It is a fine line between protecting intellectual property and halting the advancement of technology and learning.  In listening and watching Hatsune Miku, I can honestly say I believe her creations are unique, non-negative, and encourages innovations; therefore I truly believe in following her creations as new and original which should not be sought after for intellectual copyright infringement.