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.

More from TorrentFreak:

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


  1. Conspiracy mode on:
    Copyright enforcement is a big deal because it “softens” and opens the door for governments to embed their own filterings. I would bet that is why you don’t see any official outrage when the (c) lobbies impose these insane laws. These things will be dorment in the Internet infrastructure, until governments need them. Then, it will just be an extension of the status quo.
    That’s why everybody is complaining, but all government representatives are always very quiet.

    1. Nah, copyright enforcement is a big deal because it allows legislators to get big campaign contributions and cushy lobbyist jobs when they leave office (*cough* Chris Dodd *cough*).

  2. FWIW Japanese.. uh.. “media” has been just as easy to download of late. Speeds actually seem faster than they were previously. It appears their scaremongering BS isn’t working on people.

  3. One might be more sympathetic to Japanese copyright holders (JASRAC, the music copyright organisation seems to be the driving force behind these regulations) if they actually produced anything ‘original’ in the first place!!

  4. There’s an awful lot of misinformation about this out there, and nobody seems to be wanting to rush in and correct it, because this law has nothing like the teeth it was originally claimed to have. The prison sentence for downloaders was shoehorned in at the last minute by the copyright lobby without giving it any thought, and when actually thought about, it’s unenforceable for all intents and purposes. It doesn’t apple to streaming sites like YouTube, it cannot be pro-actively enforced without a specific complaint from the rights holder, and the rights holders are all Japanese industry manufacturers of lowest common denominator cash cows with no artistic value whatsoever. Passing the law was a victory of face saving, and that’s about it.

  5.  Sorry, there is perhaps a little victory in the story….they got their black boxes for monitoring, filtering and make DPI in the Internet. 

    On the other hand if they tighten it to much, there will be more users at the freenet-project….


    1.  They haven’t. They’ve demanded it is all (and that was months ago) and there’s currently no indication that they’re going to get it. Individual ISPs would have to pay for this privilege too, which nobody is going to do unless all the others do it first. Today’s story is just that the updated law comes into effect today.

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