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Key Considerations for Product Production Contracts between YouTubers and Japanese Companies


Key Considerations for Product Production Contracts between YouTubers and Japanese Companies

YouTube has gained worldwide popularity, and the influence of renowned YouTubers is immense. Their endorsement of a product can yield exceptional advertising results. Beauty YouTubers, in particular, often generate significant buzz around recommended makeup products such as eyeshadows.

As a result, Japanese companies approach international YouTubers to collaborate on product production, featuring the products in their videos, and sharing the YouTubers’ photos and videos on the manufacturer’s LP (landing page) to drive sales.

In establishing a contractual relationship for such collaborations, it is crucial to be mindful of certain points and draft an appropriate contract. In this article, we will outline the key considerations that YouTubers should bear in mind when entering into such contracts.

Understanding the Contractual Aspects of YouTubers Producing Products


When a YouTuber receives a product production request from a Japanese company, it is crucial to establish a clear contract with the company to avoid any potential issues or disputes.

This article focuses on the contractual aspects related to the copyright of the videos created by YouTubers during the product production process. We will delve into the key considerations and provisions that should be included in the contract to ensure a mutually beneficial and legally sound agreement between the YouTuber and the company.

Understanding Two Key Copyright Agreements for YouTubers

When collaborating with a company to produce and promote a product on YouTube, it is essential to establish clear copyright agreements. In Japan, there are two primary types of copyright agreements that YouTubers should be familiar with.

  • Copyright License Agreement
    A copyright license agreement grants a company the permission to use the YouTuber’s copyrighted works, such as videos, while ensuring that the YouTuber remains the owner of the copyright. The agreement specifies the terms and conditions for the company’s use of the copyrighted content and the compensation to be paid to the YouTuber.
  • Copyright Transfer Agreement
    In contrast, a copyright transfer agreement involves the transfer of the copyright of videos created by the YouTuber to the company. With this agreement, the YouTuber relinquishes their copyright ownership to the company, granting them exclusive rights to use and exploit the content.

Understanding the differences between these two copyright agreements is crucial for YouTubers when entering into contracts with companies for product collaborations. Each agreement has its implications and considerations that need to be carefully evaluated to ensure the protection of the YouTuber’s rights and the successful execution of the collaboration.

Points to note about contracts for YouTubers to produce products

Regarding the copyright of videos created by YouTubers, let’s set the following.

Clarifying the Scope of Use for Copyrighted Works in YouTuber Contracts

In Japan, it is crucial to define the scope of use for copyrighted works in contracts when collaborating with companies as a YouTuber. This ensures that videos created by YouTubers are used only within the intended boundaries and prevents any unintended or unauthorized usage. Specify the boundaries by adding descriptions such as “Can only be used within the website A operated by the company.” to prevent any unintended usage of your video.

Prohibited Items: Important Considerations for YouTubers

In Japan, contracts between YouTubers and companies may include provisions prohibiting the introduction or production of videos featuring products that are similar or competitive to those offered by the company. It is crucial for YouTubers to carefully assess whether their content overlaps with such products. Additionally, contracts often include clauses that forbid actions that could harm the brand image of the products or the company. It is important to note that violating these prohibited items may result in legal action and potential liability for damages by the company.

Defining the Scope of YouTuber Responsibility in Copyright Claims


It is essential to clearly define the scope of responsibility that YouTubers assume in cases where third parties assert rights, lodge protests, or claim damages related to copyrighted works.

In certain Japanese contracts, YouTubers may be required to bear complete responsibility, including legal fees, and may be held liable for the full amount if the company seeks damages. This can potentially result in significant financial burdens. To mitigate these risks, it is advisable to include a clause that limits the scope of liability, ensuring that it remains within a reasonable range.

Verification of Author’s Moral Rights in Copyright Licenses

In Japan, when licensing a copyrighted work, it is crucial to ascertain whether the author’s moral rights can be exercised. Moral rights are personal rights inherent to authors within the realm of copyright protection. They encompass the right of disclosure, the right to be identified as the author, and the right to integrity.

If there is a provision in the contract stipulating that the YouTuber will not exercise their moral rights against the company, it means that the YouTuber cannot exercise their moral rights during the term of the agreement.

Furthermore, if there is a copyright holder other than the YouTuber who is a party to the contract, obtaining an agreement with the copyright holder regarding the non-exercise of the author’s moral rights is necessary.

Summary: Consult Lawyers to Enter Contracts for YouTubers Producing Products

As the influence of YouTubers continues to rise, more and more Japanese companies are seeking collaborations with overseas YouTubers to produce and promote their products. However, entering into a contract with a Japanese company without understanding its terms and conditions can potentially lead to unforeseen damages.

To ensure a smooth contractual relationship, it is advisable for YouTubers to seek the guidance of a lawyer specialized in YouTuber/VTuber legal affairs. Such a lawyer can provide valuable insights and expertise to navigate the complexities of these contracts and protect the interests of YouTubers in the process.

Our Firm’s Expertise in Providing Legal Services to YouTubers and VTubers

With the rapid growth of YouTubers and VTubers in the online space, our law firm has emerged as a trusted advisor for many content creators in need of legal guidance. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities faced by YouTubers and VTubers in their channel operations and contractual relationships.

Our team consists of lawyers with specialized knowledge in both IT, particularly the internet, and law. We have extensive experience in assisting YouTubers and VTubers with legal checks, contract drafting, intellectual property rights, privacy issues, and other legal matters pertaining to their online businesses.

By leveraging our expertise in both the legal and digital realms, we provide comprehensive and tailored legal services to ensure the protection of our clients’ interests and compliance with relevant regulations. Our goal is to support YouTubers and VTubers in navigating the legal landscape and achieving sustainable success in their online ventures.

Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

The Editor in Chief: Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

An expert in IT-related legal affairs in Japan who established MONOLITH LAW OFFICE and serves as its managing attorney. Formerly an IT engineer, he has been involved in the management of IT companies. Served as legal counsel to more than 100 companies, ranging from top-tier organizations to seed-stage Startups.

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