Japan introduce piracy penalties
Japan has introduced laws that mean illegal downloaders could face up to two years in prison.
The country’s music industry has led a long lobbying campaign, leading to online copyright infringement being made illegal in 2010. But only now have such strict penalties been introduced, along with heavy fines of up to two million yen.
Uploading illegal files is even riskier, with the prison sentence being as high as 10 years with a maximum of a 10 million yen fine.
Japan is said to have the second largest music market in the world after the US.
Different sets of figures suggest illegal downloading is causing the music industry colossal losses, with the Recording Industry Association of Japan publishing that in 2010 illegal downloads outnumbered legal ones by a factor of 10. The study’s figures suggest that there are 4.36 billion pirated files downloaded, compared to 440 million purchased in the same year.
However, the move has been met with opposition in the country and protests have been staged. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations representing legal professions said the matter should have remained civil rather than criminal.
Earlier this year Naoki Kitagawa, Chairman of the Recording Industry Association in Japan, and Chief Executive of Sony said the law’s revision will "reduce the spread of copyright infringement activities on the internet.”
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