Japan Rams ACTA Through; Ratifies It While Avoiding Debate

from the but-of-course dept

We heard some rumblings out of Japan over the weekend that the ruling party was seeking to ram ACTA through the ratification process there. This wasn't a huge surprise. Japan was actually a key player in the formation of ACTA at the very beginning, and it was where the first official "signings" all took place. Japan has been pushing for exceptionally strict copyright laws and ACTA was supposed to help spread such laws further around the globe. Already, we've seen the country criminalize unauthorized downloads and making DVD backups... leading to a publishing exec facing jail time for offering a book that tells people how to back up their DVDs.

About a month ago, the upper house of the Japanese legislature passed ACTA, as the first step in ratifying it. Some had thought that ACTA might stall out as a minor issue while other political turmoil went on, but it appears that Japan's ruling party has decided to push forward with the ratification. Last week, the Foreign Affairs Committee within the legislature tried to push through ACTA without allowing any discussion from opposing politicians -- which caused a ruckus, leading to a slight delay. However, after a few days, the committee passed it anyway. The ruling party then sought to do something similar, rushing it through a full vote, which appears to have just happened, resulting in ACTA's approval with effectively no real debate. In fact, it was mostly a non-story in Japan. It wasn't covered by the press and most politicians were basically silent about it.

This is fairly incredible, given the widespread protests we saw towards ACTA in Europe and a rapidly growing protest movement in Japan. Still, the protestors admit that ACTA just hasn't caught on as an issue in Japan like it has elsewhere. That's unfortunate for a variety of reasons, but they're hoping to change that with a protest on September 9th.

Of course, there's a question of how useful is it to ratify ACTA when many of the other negotiating parties (mainly the EU countries) don't seem likely to follow through and ratify the document in its current form. One report I heard out of Japan suggested that the ruling party there recognizes that ratifying ACTA is mostly symbolic at this point, but that it needed to be done to "save face" for the negotiators. Of course, if they really wanted to "save face," perhaps they shouldn't have negotiated for absolutely awful limits on how copyright can be reformed, while pushing for greater enforcement without necessary safety valves against abuse. Either way, the whole thing definitely has all of the appearances of ACTA being rammed through by political interests who don't want any debate on such a topic.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    copyright and IP are the most important things in the world. where would we be without them? i have to wonder though just how they or laws like ACTA will save us in a real worldwide crisis? will 'saving face' be as important as saving everything and everyone else? only time will tell. stay tuned for the next fascinating episode of how mankind allowed itself to be well and truly screwed by those that lived only in make believe

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 3:59am

    The Japanese will do what they already do with current copyright restrictions: ignore them and live on with an occasional causality in the process. Basically that's what happen when you have over aggressive and out of touch laws.

     

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  3.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:01am

    Re:

    Bit late for that one. The end is nigh, whether it's culture or the actual Apocalypse as we know it.

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Manok (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:03am

    Well, Japan... They seem to be getting tough on copyright infringement lately, but they never infringed much in the first place. I've never ever stumbled upon any Japanese download web site, ever.

    Anyone here who has?

    Please wake me up and alert me once the Russians and Chinese start cracking down hard, because then we are in real trouble.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:05am

    Re:

    ...

    Perhaps it would help if you were into anime culture or if you spoke japanese?

    I know of a few japanese 'dedicated infringing sites' that I frequent.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:20am

    North Korea must be Best Korea if every other government aspires to be just like them.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Mega1987 (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:25am

    NOOO!!!!!!!
    I wont be able to watch all those anime in the internet from Japan.
    Nor Download the so awesome Super robot wars game series...

    T_T

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:32am

    Re:

    Russia has quite a bit of copyright law "updates" at a discussion stage currently, including the idea of forcing providers and site owners to block infridging content, multiplying the fines for infridgement, and labelling link sites as accomplices in crime. So, no sleep for you.

     

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  9.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:38am

    Re:

    2 problems with your assertions. First is - when was the last time you tried searching in Japanese? I'm sure you'd find more if you searched in kanji instead of English, and there's probably plenty of Russian sites if you brush up on your Cyrillic typing skills. Just because you're never found them by blindly searching for other things, that doesn't mean they don't exist.

    The other is, at the risk of Godwinning, the old "they came for the ... but I wasn't one" issue. Even if Japanese torrent sites didn't exist and this was all being done to address a non-existent problem, don't fool yourself for a second into thinking that the pro-ACTA people in governments in YOUR country won't start holding this up as a reason why ACTA wasn't so bad after all and people should try passing it again where you live. ignoring this only makes it difficult to deal with when those people have fooled politicians into thinking it's the right thing to do again.

     

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  10.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:49am

    Re:

    I've never ever stumbled upon any Japanese download web site, ever.

    Doesn't hurt to emphasize: ever tried to search in Kanji or sites specialized in Japanese content? I guess not, I have at least 5 sites that are dedicated to Japanese content right on top of my mind.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:52am

    Re:

    They mostly use dedicated P2P programs that you can't even install without AppLocal and many sites block non-Japanese IP ranges.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 4:56am

    Re:

    ... clearly you've never heard of Share, Winny or Perfect Dark, then.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Re:

    I do not disagree with that cultural tale of Japan 20 years ago, but Japan is waking up to reality and the conflicts of politics. After the tsunami there has been a lot more political activism and something they have somewhat lacked: Critique of the ruling parties and how they handle things. As we are moving into the age of freeflowing informations of the internet, I think that even the japanese people will stand up. Maybe in a different and probably more respectful manner than us westerners, but there is no doubt that the political active people are becoming a much more important factor. IP-activists are a completely separate species though...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 5:39am

    "leading to a publishing exec facing jail time for offering a book that tells people how to back up their DVDs."

    Criminalizing knowledge - awesome ... what's next?

     

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  15.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    There's a tentacle joke in there somewhere.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re:

    Probably sending people to jail for not buying enough. Because if someone's not buying movies and music, they must be a pirate, right?

    Seriously, I'm surprised that the **AA's haven't already started drumming up support for laws making the purchase of their products 100% mandatory. I guess they just haven't thought of it yet.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re:

    "purchase of their products 100% mandatory"

    That would be too draconian, it would come in the form of mandatory tithing to the church of **AA. I suppose one could argue this is already happening via taxation, tax breaks and subsidies.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    corwin155 (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    fascists

    First state in the corporate one world government

     

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  19.  
    icon
    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    copyright and IP are the most important things in the world. where would we be without them?

    OMG IF I DIDNT HAVE COPYRESTRICITON S TO HOLD MY HAND I WOULD NERVER HAVE PICKED UP A PENCIL YOU DONT GET PAYED TO PICK UP A PENCIL

     

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  20.  
    icon
    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That would be too draconian

    To the MAFIAA, no such thing.

     

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  21.  
    icon
    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re:

    AND AND if we dont have monopoly IDEAZ WILL RUN OUT then the woirld will explode THATS THE CAUSE OF 2012 DOOMSDAY FOLKS, PIRACY!!!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 8:18am

    i suppose Sony is behind this, being the biggest of the Japanese entertainment companies. it has to have been done to please all of them though. where would the world be as a civilization without them?

     

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  23.  
    icon
    Violated (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    No to ACTA

    So much for democracy when such a large treaty is passed without any opposing voice being given the chance to air their concerns. I am not even sure how you would class such a Government beyond foolish.

    Then what can I say to DVD backups being banned. Anyone with kids well knows that DVDs and young kids do not mix well. So keep the original DVD safe and burn the kids a copy they can damage all they want with a new copy available when it no longer plays right. One of many fair uses clauses I am sure.

    Well this is a sad day indeed. They have obviously seen the large public protect and failure of ACTA in Europe. Now they want to sure up what remains so they hit the remaining countries hard with all opposition denied.

    I can only say that we need to work hard in the remaining countries to ensure ACTA is rejected when if ACTA does hit the right numbers when it will become a live international treaty and that would be trouble. Even in a future year the EU may get ACTA when they go we will only do this for you if the EU ratifies ACTA. And with barely a whimper of protest or news story they would. So the fight to kill ACTA must be global and we must fight on a global level.

    Then if you want a second reason then look at the contempt and arrogance that is coming out of TPP(A). They could have welcomed an open discussion to modernize copyright and patent laws across the globe to the benefit of many but no when this is only the demands of the few.

    This is a very dangerous time where the very Internet is at stake and we should not let organizations ram through new laws so they can cut themselves a slice of control.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 9:34am

    It's funny, whenever I look at the people pushing for greater copyright restrictions for their own benefit and applauding copyright for boosting creativity it's always the most uncreative people doing so.

    Yes, copyrigth enables such original works suck as world war two FPS number #352425 and madden turndunken dinner 36.

    Oh, and let's not forget romeo and juliet the movie remake number #465.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    MAFIAA EXEC, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Draconian? is that some kind of wedding cake?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    Legitimate tentacle rape?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Anyone Else Notice?

    The title totally missed the oppotunity to slide a tenticle joke in if he used 'rams'

     

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  28.  
    icon
    Alana (profile), Sep 6th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Re:

    I'm sorry, the patent on "Generic World War II FPS" is owned by [redacted].

    There will be no more games in this genre unless we say so. Which means never.

    (...One can dream.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 6:46pm

    Japan sucks USA balls.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 6th, 2012 @ 6:47pm

    Japan sucks USA balls.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Corporations are people my friend, and therefore they are allowed to marry. What's disturbing is that they have apparently gone off and got hitched to a donkey and an elephant.

     

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  32.  
    icon
    Gerald Robinson (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 3:08pm

    ACTA

    ACTA has not been adopted by the US. The Senate never approved it nor was it presented for approval.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 9th, 2012 @ 12:43am

    Re: Re:

    This is precisely why the AC who constantly insists that industry agreements are the result of blocking SOPA and it's the public's fault is spouting bullshit. Industry agreements being backroom is precisely how people can be fed up with it and point out the concerns. What would SOPA have done? Nothing more than give the RIAA an excuse to say, "Thanks SO much for approving that. And now that you've did, we want another copyright extension! You've approved our requests before, right? Also we'd like to criminalise YouTube and the ability to duplicate files."

    Seriously, the guy's just mad the public broke his code.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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