Japan Adopts Stronger File-Sharing Penalties
The Diet – Japan’s Parliament – agreed on a new law that sets up tougher penalties for anyone who’s downloading illegal content from the Internet.
The news was reported by The Japan Times on Thursday. The previous revision established that downloading and uploading copyrighted material is illegal, but said nothing about the penalties.
With the new law, those found guilty are eligible of going to prison for up to two years and a fine of two million yen – around 16.000 euros. But this is only for downloading. If anyone uploads pirated content, he or she risks the maximum penalty – that’s ten years in prison and a fine of 10 million yen.
While both the online community and legal advisers had harshly criticized the new penalties, the music and movie industries are quite happy with the changes as they continuously asked for Japan’s copyright system to be revised.
The law comes to aid the financial situation of the industries, despite the fact that file-sharing in Japan was not as aggressive as in the rest of the world.
How will this affect file-sharing tendencies in Japan remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, rightsholders will continue to monitor file-sharing transfers, and it’s possible that they’ll focus on notorious file-sharers, especially those who upload.
Also important with the new law is that before being convicted, the “pirate” must be first questioned to establish if he or she was aware that the downloaded/uploaded content was falling under the copyright laws – maybe a way for one to escape ten “beautiful” years of prison for uploading some songs.