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Monday, October 1, 2012
Illegal Downloaders in Japan Face Two Years in Prison
Under a new law that goes into effect Oct. 1, Japanese internet users who illegally download files face a 2-year prison sentence or a fine of up to 2 million yen ($25,700), the BBC reports.
Theoretically, pirating just one file could get you in jail and — under one interpretation — using a service such as YouTube, which temporarily stores video files on your computer, could be illegal.
Downloading copyrighted material has been illegal in Japan since 2010, but it did not incur such penalties. Uploading, on the other hand, is a far worse offense, with a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a 10 million yen ($128,400) fine attached.
The law was passed under influence of the Recording Industry Association of Japan, which cited a 2010 study, claiming illegal downloads in the country outnumber the legal ones ten to one.
Japan has been on the forefront of the anti-piracy fight in recent years. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a international treaty designed to protect intellectual property rights, was first created by the U.S. and Japan in 2006. The treaty was abandoned after a strong public movement against it in many countries, including the U.S., Hungary and Poland.