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