Without much discussion, Japan’s House of Representatives (衆議院 Shūgiin) approved a revised copyright law on June 15, 2012. The new copyright law has gone into effect yesterday. The new law has started a new era into copyright infringement handling through stringent counter-measures. For example, if someone download any pirated content from the internet, he/she may face a sentence of 2 years in jail or a fine up to ¥2 million (US$25,700).
The penalty for uploading copyrighted content illegally is even higher. Such acts are punishable by up to 10 years in prison or ¥10 million (about US$126,000) in fines.
Downloading pirated content has been “illegal” in Japan since 2010. Downloading DVDs and Blu-Ray discs were also illegal, but it doesn’t carry any penalty. Hence, the old copyright law was ineffective to curb online piracy.
But the rules of the game has changed now. From October 1, 2012, a new version of the copyright law has been enacted in Japan, with stringent counter-measures to combat online piracy. From now on, if anyone in Japan, no matter willingly or unwillingly, download any pirated music, videos, DVDs or Blu-Ray discs will face up to 2 years in jail or will have to pay fines of up to ¥2 million (approximate US$25,700 or £15,900). However, offenders won’t be charged unless they’re actually accused by the copyright holder.
Earlier this year, Naoki Kitagawa, chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, expressed his optimism about the revised Japanese copyright law, “This revision will reduce the spread of copyright infringement activities on the internet.”