Here is the copy of an ad promoting the “STOP! Image Rights Violations” campaign that currently stares at me during my morning commute (emphasis added):
The names and likenesses of entertainment talent and athletes are important business property. They are shared property created through the tireless efforts of the talent and athletes and the business efforts of the production companies. The rights protecting this property against unauthorized use by others are called “publicity rights.” In Japan, there have been many court cases acknowledging the importance of these rights, but since there is no clear stipulation of these rights in the law, in reality there is no end to cases of infringement.
I don’t have a ton to say about this now, except (a) you could make the case that the absence of laws explicitly protecting consumers’ rights to reuse commercial material to express themselves leads to patently pathetic violations as I have noted before (here’s hoping the Fair Use initiative passes this year); and (b) interestingly, Johnny’s Entertainment does not appear to be a member of this industry association.
As usual, Wikipedia provides concise and interesting background reading on the topic!