Japan competes with Panama to pass the world's worst copyright law


Japan has extended its shockingly bad copyright law, passed in June, which provides for 10-year prison sentences for people who upload copyrighted works without permission; under the new law, downloading a copyrighted work without permission also carries up to two years in prison.

The Japanese copyright lobby has also renewed its demand for mandatory network surveillance, through which black boxes with secret lists of copyrighted works will monitor all network traffic and silently kill any file-transfer believed to infringe copyright.

The ISPs would have to pay a monthly licensing fee for the privilege of having these black boxes on their networks.

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Tracking uploaders of infringing material is a fairly simple affair, with rightsholders connecting to file-sharers making available illicit content and logging evidence. However, proving that someone has downloaded content illegally presents a whole new set of issues.

On BitTorrent, for example, rightsholders would have to be the ones actually sending the infringing material to a file-sharer in order to know that he or she is downloading it. This scenario could cause complications, since rightholders already have permission to upload their own content, making the source a legal one.

But for the implications for ‘downloaders’ could be even more widespread. The generally tech-savvy BitTorrent user understands the potential for being targeted for sharing, but by making mere downloading a criminal offense it is now feared that those who simply view an infringing YouTube video could also be subjected to sanctions.

Just when you thought Panama had perfected the crappy copyright law.

Anti-Downloading Law Hits Japan, Up To 2 Years in Prison From Today

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