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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Japan Introduced Stronger File-Sharing Law

Japan’s Parliament, the Diet, has recently approved a new legislation which sets up stricter penalties for people downloading unauthorized material from the web
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The Japan Times reported a week ago that the previous revision established that downloading and uploading unauthorized content was against the law. However, nothing was said about the penalties.

According to the new law, people found guilty can go to prison for up to 2 years and get a fine of over $20,000. But these penalties apply only to downloading, while those uploading the illegal content risk the maximum penalty of 10 years jail time and a fine of 10 million yen.

Although the Internet community and legal advisers had criticized the new law, both the music and movie industries were very happy with the changes, because they have been asking for country’s copyright system to be revised for a while now. The new legislation is meant to help the financial situation of the industries, though file-sharing in the country wasn’t very aggressive compared to the rest of the world.

Still, it is not clear how this will affect file-sharing tendencies in the country. At the same time, copyright owners will keep monitoring file-sharing transfers. They will most likely focus on notorious file-sharers, in particular on the uploaders.

Another important provision of the legislation is that before being convicted, the accused individual must be first questioned in order to find out whether they were aware that the downloaded/uploaded material was falling under the copyright laws. This, the experts point out, may become a way for people to escape 10 long years in prison for uploading a few songs.

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