After years of preparation, the new amendments to Japan’s Anti-Piracy Law finally came into effect on January 1, 2021. In particular, they are aimed at incriminating people who download manga, magazines, and other literary works on the Internet. without owning the licenses, reports Torrentfreak.
Japan is catching up
In 2012, Japan passed its first anti-piracy law. People who illegally download copyrighted movies or music promise up to two years in prison. This was largely rejected by many rights holders.
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For good reason, they did not think it was sufficiently comprehensive at this point, as other important cultural areas were not considered. Licensed downloads of manga, magazines and other literary works such as academic texts were therefore not covered. A breach that took eight years to resolve, with new changes coming into force on January 1, 2021 that (finally) make it possible to (finally) take these different areas into account.
What are the Japanese risking by updating this law?
The new changes are subject to the same sanctions as those introduced back in 2012 when the original Anti-Piracy Act was published. In other words (and in theory) the Japanese could face a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to 2 million yen (just over 15,000 euros).
In practice it looks a little different. People who occasionally download content without having the licenses don’t risk much. Evidence must first be gathered for prosecution to be possible. In this precise context, “the Japanese police only investigate if the person repeats, deliberately and maliciously commits the crime,” admits Masaharu Ina of the anti-piracy group CODA.
In addition, Torrentfreak states that so far no one in Japan has been prosecuted for simply downloading movies or music. A record that reminds us of France, with the fiasco of its famous Hadopi law. Masaharu Ina puts it into perspective … For him, this Japanese law (and its new amendments) does not aim to be a criminal offense, but only to dissuade it. Mission accomplished? Hard to believe. Remember that illegal downloading would create a deficit of € 1.03 billion in France.