Tokyo-based publisher R’s Shuppan is being sued over sales of unauthorized books featuring the members of idol groups Arashi and KAT-TUN. The first hearing was held in court on Tuesday.
R’s Shuppan is accused of publishing twelve books between 2005 and 2008, using the names and photos of the groups’ members for commercial purpose without permission. The plaintiffs are reportedly seeking more than 170 million yen in damages.
The publisher requested to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming that the books simply traced the history of the groups and did not count as a violation of their right to publicity. However, the plaintiffs argued that the violation is clear, pointing out that the majority of the books’ pages contain unauthorized images.