Japan strengthen their law against illegal downloads, nobody seems to care

A few weeks ago, a new law passed in Japan, which can send you in jail for two years, and have to pay a 2 million yen fine (that’s about 20’000$) if you are found guilty of downloading or owning pirated content.

Downloading pirated content was already illegal in Japan since 2009, but not associated with any form of sanction. Uploading illegal content, on the other hand, can lead to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a 10 million yen fine (about 100’000$).

Apparently, the law is so obscure that people watching illegal stuff on youtube without knowing it is illegal could even be charged.

This is an extreme case and such a thing is probably not going to happen, but that’s how fuzzy the law is.

By doing so, Japan joins the growing circle of “countries that our grandchildren will laugh at for their obscurantism”. It is worth noting that the world champion remains the United States, with up to 5 years in prison and a 250’000$ fine for pirates. Then again, US are the main producer of pirated content on the net, so I guess it makes sense for them to try to protect their assets (even if it’s with such counterproductive laws). I am still clueless at who would like to pirate the latest AKB48 or Arashi Album, but apparently it happens enough that Music lobbies in Japan want to put an end to it.

More concerning is the fact that none of my Japanese friends, even the ones working in IT, seem to be aware of this amendment to the Copyright law. Apparently the whole thing was decided without any consultation from the population, or from any expert whatsoever, for that matter. By comparison, such attempts at voting liberticide (is this a word?) laws in France (DAVDSI) or the US (SOPA,…) have always led to massive activism to prevent the laws from making it to their final step, at least online.

If the law is confirmed, it will be applied in October this year. So you still have a few months to download the second season of Game of Thrones, since it is nowhere to be found legally anyways in this culture-forsaken land (ok, just kidding here, Japan has lots of cultural content and entertainment, just not the stuff I like).

Source mainichi shinbun

  1. freddy_156’s avatar

    Activism may work with more “democratic” countries imho, lack of democracy in some eastern countries is not a very big news.


    1. Kizumik’s avatar

      dude, it’s the same in western and middle countries :S.


    2. rog’s avatar

      More “democratic”? Not sure if serious. You do know we are talking about Japan, yes?


  2. natsu’s avatar

    damn…. internet is all about freedom… shame on those who deprive users of their freedom to download stuffs in the internet… damn….

    im a big fan of ANIME and this law might delay all the releases… :(


    1. KirkD’s avatar

      I hear that, Natsu! Most of the anime I watch has been fansubbed and uploaded to various sites. Many times an anime I watched will make its way over here (US). If I really enjoyed, I will pick it up. Often, however, there are shows which do not make their way over here, so I depend on these various releases. I’m sure it won’t cause too much trouble in the end, but it’s still a little concerning.


    2. Rey’s avatar

      Me too, that worry’s me a little. but, I doubt it will make any impact at all, no one can stop piracy. By any chance is your username from Fairy Tail? xD


    3. wololo’s avatar

      I wouldn’t worry too much about that. As I mentioned, uploading has been illegal and massively sanctioned for a while now, and it hasn’t stopped fansubbers from sending you your anime so far. This new law is not going to change that. It only impacts people who live in Japan and download content.

      Plus, the way fansub works, everything goes through IRC and private ftps before it goes to more public channels. As far as I know, the police are wasting their time on bittorrent and Winny/Share and not monitoring irc very closely. This is true for most countries, I think. All governments are focused on http streaming and bittorrent, ignoring other means of file transfers.


  3. francesco’s avatar

    One thing i really don’t understand it’s why watching tv series online is illegal, i can understand that downloading a game it’s a crime because normally i have to pay to use it.

    But do i really damage society if i watch online a tv programm, why? isn’t there advertising online?
    If every TV network let me watch their telefilm online i would be pleased to click on their banner..
    The matter is that i like to watch Tv series online, and if i have to wait for them to arrive in my country and legally watching them when my national tv buy the rights to broadcast them (if they buy them) i’m simple not going to watch it..
    You quoted Game of Thrones, you’re right, without the streaming online, it would have not been a world class tv series!!


  4. KnuxTheTurtle’s avatar

    Yeah I heard the US was doing some BS like this soon as well. Here it is: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/15/american-isps-to-launch-massive-copyright-spying-scheme-on-jul


  5. StepS’s avatar

    Switzerland was the most clever in all these problems afaik… They simply made downloading everything legal for personal use, while uploading the copyrighted content is still illegal. And i think it’s a wise decision since pirates would still find ways around restrictions


  6. JackleJoe’s avatar

    Personal question for Wololo: Do you live in Japan?


    1. StepS’s avatar

      he does


  7. cscash241’s avatar

    Meanwhile in White America…


  8. svenn’s avatar

    Money talks everywhere, even in Asia. I think you couldn’t be right more “people wanne pay for content, just not as much as current company’s want”

    But then again, nothing beats free does it ?


  9. Kid’s avatar

    There would have had to have been some professional consolation in the making of this. Politicians don’t just herp around creating news laws and taxes.


  10. alisson’s avatar

    Downloads is the joy of all the poor, here in Brazil.


  11. James Way’s avatar

    It’s all corporate greed. I have no issue watching a tv show that airs on regular tv, ie not hbo or cinemax, online after it just aired on tv and have to sit through ads. Services like Hulu did this all the time and I loved it. I used it because it was convenient to watch the shows I liked when I could watch them. They made their money through the ads, some of which actually required me to answer questions, and I got to enjoy my shows. Then they went all Hulu plus. You pay to watch, there are ads all over the site and if you don’t want to pay to watch it now, you’ll have to wait like 2 weeks, or 1 week, to watch it. So I bit torrent to a small hard drive and I weekly scrub the drive. I get the cake and I will be eating it too. I still watch netflix, because at least they have no ads, and I love Teamcoco.com. I don’t mind supporting the shows I like by them getting paid for the ads I need to sit through, but I do not wish to pay any less or any more than the value of the show itself. Seeing that the show was worth 3 ads per episode and some banners on the site, to then being increased to a monthly subscription, is gross. And about teamcoco, their ads are like 5 mins each and there are like 4 of them per episode. I still sit through them to watch the show. It’s like tv when I want to watch it, and it costs just the same as if I had watched it when it aired.


  12. xdeath’s avatar

    when i read that the first thing that came to mind is crooked cops. just a good reason for them to arrest anyone that gets on there bad side.



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