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Prison For Music Thieves
Amanda Barokh , October 2nd, 2012 08:41

Banged up in Japan!

Japan has introduced stringent new anti-piracy laws. Illegal downloaders in Japan now face up to two years in prison or fines of up to two million yen (£15,900). Although filesharing has been illegal since 2010 it is the first time that the government has decided to invoke such hefty penalties. The decision follows lobbying from the Japanese music industry.

Usually it is the uploader that is penalised but the new law means that downloaders can now face imprisonment. As reported by the BBC, the penalty can be invoked if a user has even downloaded a single file.

Masked ‘hacktivists’ campaigned against the move by staging a protest in Tokyo’s Shibuya shopping district earlier in the year. While the Japan Federation of Bar Associations issued this statement,

"Treating personal activities with criminal punishments must be done very cautiously, and the property damage caused by individual illegal downloads by private individuals is highly insignificant."

Other countries have implemented different strategies as part of the global crackdown on illegal downloading.

Illegal streaming service Megaupload has been taken offline in the US, and the UK has jailed the owner of Surfthechannel.

France recently imposed its first fine, enforcing a “three strikes” rule against piracy, whereby a suspected pirate is fined following three warnings about their activity.