Japanese Government To Start Seeding P2P Networks With Faux Files Containing Copyright Warnings

from the if-going-to-jail-doesn't-deter-you,-maybe-some-ANGRY-TYPING-will dept

Late last year, Japan instituted some of the more draconian anti-piracy laws to hit the books, making unauthorized downloading a criminal offense (along with backing up DVD content), punishable by up to two years in prison or fines of $21,000 (two million yen). Apparently, this deterrent isn't having the desired effect. (Or maybe it is -- legitimate downloading is down, suggesting people might be too scared to download from approved sources.) Either way, the government, in conjunction with various members of the concerned industries, has taken things a bit further, seeding warning messages in various P2P networks.
On 25 January, Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications along with various motion picture and music associations announced their latest copyright protection measure, dubbed “Operation Decoy File.”

The plan involves inserting files onto Japan's popular P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks such as Winny and Share which appear to contain popular copyrighted material. However, once downloaded, the file is revealed to be a message appealing the user to reconsider their wicked ways.
This isn't altogether unusual. Record labels have uploaded faux files to these networks for years -- one of the most famous examples being Madonna's sweary upload that asked would-be infringers just what the fuck they thought they were doing. Others have operated in a grayer area, purposefully uploading files solely to track and eventually sue downloaders.

But this is rather novel: instead of the file they were expecting, the person receives the sort of warning most people wish they could skip past on their purchased DVDs.
A Warning from the Organization to Raise Awareness of Copyright

Files with the same name as this contain content which is in violation of copyright when distributed over P2P networks such as Winny or Share.

Knowingly downloading and of course uploading files that are protected by copyright law without the consent of the owner over the Internet is illegal copyright infringement. Please stop immediately.

Also, from 1 October 2012, downloading content which is known to be available for sale is punishable by a maximum 2-year prison sentence and/or 2,000,000 yen[US$21,000] fine.

Our copyright organization is working to eliminate copyright infringement by file sharing software. In addition to consulting the police to obtain the disclosure of user's identities, we want to focus on user education.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has also crafted this charming representation of how the warning system will work, painting itself a very rosy picture of faceless file sharers stopping dead in their tracks rather than viewing the unwelcome warning as some sort of dare. (Translation courtesy of Rocket News. Original Japanese version here. [PDF])
 


Japanese P2Pers have been discussing this new tactic and attempting to track down warning files in order to suss out any noticeable differences between it and the file it's supposed to be. (Yes, I know. One will be a warning and the other will be an actual piece of entertainment. But noticeable in terms of search results...)

The Ministry's statement indicates that this new warning system is only a test, albeit one that will stick around if there's any noticeable downturn in file sharing. Rocket News reports that some members of free-for-all discussion forum (and inspiration for 4chan) 2 Channel [2ch] are taking this to mean that the government may be considering uploading virus-tainted files to the various networks. As tempting as that may seem to some of the more vindictive members of the copyright industry, it's highly doubtful the Japanese government would be willing to brick computers to deter file sharing, draconian IP laws or no.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Aria Company (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    This isn't surprising. Those "various motion picture and music associations" are also trying to get the Japanese government to remove the Neighboring Rights restrictions of copyright owners so they can shaft them even more.

    In Japan, it's still illegal for a copyright owner to waive their right.

    Huh. Go figure this is just another association attempt at screwing everyone but themselves.

     

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

  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 6:37am

    "it's highly doubtful the Japanese government would be willing to brick computers to deter file sharing"

    You really think so?

    It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they did it.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:10am

    Re:

    I can't wait for them to meet the Warcraft player whose computer they just bricked.

    The Zerg rush on the government building would be the stuff of legend.

     

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

  4.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    One way to separate fakes from good files is simply checking the number of people that own the file and the number of people downloading (those file sharing networks probably have either one or both pieces of information). Then you have the hash, you can always have an ad-block style blacklist - i sincerely doubt the Japanese Govt will be able to outmaneuver such lists because there will be lots of contributors. File sharing is a social norm. Also, for large files they'll need to create huge files of pure garbage and waste shitloads of bandwidth on those. Doesn't sound like a smart plan.

    In the worst case people will move to other means of sharing that are less prone to fake files. I have never downloaded a fake file from torrents in my entire torrenting life. The community will filter stuff out by itself.

     

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  5.  
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    techflaws (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    The more accurate bubble content would read

    "I gotta find better sources!"

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    "...this new warning system is only a test, albeit one that will stick around if there's any noticeable downturn in file sharing."

    Consider the industry, no matter what the results there will be a downturn.

     

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

  7.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    What's the chances that these files contain trackers?

     

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

  8.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    no, it's not surprising. But it is hilarious, considering that a: torrent websites have rating systems and b: it's an invitation to openly spoof the number of downloads of said bogus torrent and/or try to have as many downloads with fake IP addresses (such as the japan copyright office) on them as possible.

    This literally creates more opportunities for mischief than legitimately doing anything constructive.

     

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

  9.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re:

    I believe it's now renamed to the Gangnam rush.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    So you're saying you pirate a lot.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Right, because "Don't Copy That Floppy" worked so well.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    "...it's highly doubtful the Japanese government would be willing to brick computers to deter file sharing, draconian IP laws or no."

    So a 2 year jail scentance and $21,000 fine is perfectly reasonable, but potentially infecting a $1,000-$2,000 computer system is going to far?

    I know that is not what Tim is saying... but considering the amount of FELONY arrests going on in computer and copywrite related 'crime', I really don't see how a virus is going to seem all that unreasonable...

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:03am

    Well when it comes to books the solution is always buy paper or hardback, that way they're unable to pull this DRM crap on you or threaten to throw you in jail for legally buying books.

    For the rest of the content like TV shows, you're pretty much screwed/at risk of being sued and thrown in jail no matter what you do.

     

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

  14.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re:

    file sharing =/= pirating.

    If I write something and share the file with someone else, does that make either of us pirates?

     

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

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    having now realised what twats they are making of themselves for going down the TPP route and probably backing out as only the USA will benefit, let's hope they realise as much over the entertainment industries false claims and stop this shit. it was bad enough ramping up their copyright laws in the first place!

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    Also, from 1 October 2012, downloading content which is known to be available for sale is punishable by a maximum 2-year prison sentence and/or 2,000,000 yen[US$21,000] fine.

    Boy oh boy do I hope that's not the actual wording of the law (although I think we're all well aware of how ridiculous that law is). "Downloading content which is known to be available for sale"? That includes an awful lot of things which are no longer copyrighted, or which are released under permissive licenses but are still sold. Although I suppose it's nice of them to refer to such purchases as sales. Maybe they could stick to that terminology later, instead of waffling whenever it pleases them...?

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Re:

    Sounds like they outlawed demos.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I want to see them bring back the old school Leroy Jenkins rush.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What does that have to do with what he said?

    So you're saying you pirate a lot too.

     

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

  20.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "does that make either of us pirates?"

    That depends, do either your friend or yourself wear an eyepatch?

     

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

  21.  
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    droozilla (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Yeah, because this worked so well before, and will obviously stop the Japanese people from downloading things.

     

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

  22.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    Re:

    There will be downturn on Whinny and Share, but similar increases in other filesharing software

     

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

  23.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    2 words

    IP Blocklist.

    Look it up, it's good for ya.

     

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

  24.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    Did you even read the article? it has nothing to do with DRM.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Message

    the sort of warning most people wish they could skip past on their purchased DVDs

    There is an idea. People move to file sharing to make a product suck less. Instead of making the product better, let's try really hard to make file sharing suck just as much.

    No, nobody would do that, it would be like making people walk in front of a an automobile waiving flags.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re:

    That is why it would never fly in South Korea! Japan is far more console oriented in terms of game-playing afaik. That makes it easier to beep rights up for PC-gamers.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you are saying you have never breached copyright? The hypocricy in copyright dependent industries is mindblowing...

     

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

  28.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    Or how about the movie and TV industry do what David Grohl did with his new Sound City Movie: sell it DRM-free for a low price that includes both streaming and download (in four different versions). I got it for $10 via Paypal. No hassle. No complications. No FBI/Interpol warning. Just a digital file of the movie in 1080p.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So...it would be the Zergling rush?

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, I like sharing naked pictures of myself under CC0. Still doesn't mean that I'm a pirate by handwavium overdose.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I had to, once. It had full-HD capabilities.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re:

    Not just that, but alpha and beta access promotions and trailers, as worded. Also, what about things that are illegal in Japan, but legal elsewhere? They're "available for sale", y'know!

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Simone Haddad, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Oooo no they are going to infect these computers with virus's... well considering all it takes is a simple re-image and a DNS flush and ip release these people are cognitively damaged. Not to mention you can spot these files by the 1mb size... only a retard would download a movie with a size of 1mb... dumb people..

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    The difference

    The difference will be file size on disk. They'll probably pad the files with a gig of 0s to make it show up as being as large as the real thing in the search results, but the compression algorithms will result in you downloading it in a split second, and dumping the file into a much smaller amount of disk space on your computer.

    The MAFIAA was doing this way back in the WinMX and eD2K/eMule days and using it to distribute malware to unsuspecting downloaders intended to overrun the network with fake files. The 'small file padded with 0s' approach had the interesting (and beneficial to the MAFIAA) side-effect of flooding the networks very quickly with available seeds, and always pushing the fake files to the top of the search results, since every machine downloaded it in an instant and began sharing the completed file until the user discovered the problem and removed it (or opened it, and turned their P2P client into part of the bogus file generating botnet)

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Clearly Japanese Officials dont know how p2p works -.- people dont download stuff that has a freaking small set of seeders and guys who frequent these sites read comments and do md5 checks before downloading.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Don't you mean "!=" ?

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Next Innovation...

    MD5 hashing and checking at the beginning of the process will stop this.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    All they are doing...

    Is creating the necessity for improving the quality and reliability of the service.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    Illegal but not insurmountable since you can in practice surrender all rights by contract.

    You sign a contract saying you will never sue and that is the end of it.

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re:

    what of anything that he said, has anything to do with pirating? That's a rhetorical question, because the answer is: nothing.

    I don't see him on the high seas pirating like One Piece.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Griffdog (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    But, your honor...

    "Your Honor, I would never intentionally infringe upon copyright. I read a news story about warning messages that the studios were posting. I wanted to download one and read it, but I just kept getting these other movies. I watched the whole show, but never saw the warning messages. How could I know what was in the file until after I downloaded it and watched it? I'll never figure out why the studios tried to hide their important message by giving it the same filename as popular movies. Don't they want people to be able to find their message? Of course, I deleted those popular movie files after meticulously confirming that the content I was looking for wasn't part of the files. I guess I'll just have to keep trying."

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    Re:

    And the FBI warning on DVD's is equally as effective.

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    McFortner (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Voicemail

    Um, Madonna called and said that she tried it and it didn't work.

     

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

  44.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    I realize that people might be misusing the term "virus" when they should be saying "trojan" or "malware", but actually using a virus would indeed be going too far. A virus self-replicates and spreads, and so will end up infecting all kinds of computers that aren't targeted.

     

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

  45.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re:

    Yes I do. And I'd buy quite a lot if not for my decision NOT TO GIVE MY MONEY to morons that sue grandmas, retired people, teens, students for shitloads of money virtually destroying their lives. So currently I help my favorite artists by attending to their shows and donating to projects in Kickstarter, Crowdtilt, Mozilla.

    Yes, pirate. And proud to be one.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are you that dumb?

    In any case I fit both categories. Pirates and non-infringing file sharer.

     

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

  47.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    Actually it works. I never downloaded a car. Unfortunately.

     

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

  48.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re: 2 words

    Works partially and gives people the false impression they are safe from being detected... I'd go with a hash filter.

     

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

  49.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    Re:

    I see what you did there. If this is true it's indeed insanely broad. On the other hand it can be used against high profile people in JP and maybe force this law to be revoked?

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re:

    So you are saying that anti-piracy viruses would create copies of themselves, spread to systems where they aren't needed, and implicate people completely unrelated to the 'problem' at hand?

    I fail to see how this is any different from the other anti-piracy programs/agencies/'solutions' out there.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How much have you donated to bands?

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Probably more than RIAA has paid them.

     

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

  53.  
    icon
    Watchit (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 12:54pm

    Also I'd think it'd be kind of obvious if the movie you're about to download is only a couple megabytes.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    Rotsa ruck, downroader! ROR!

     

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

  55.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re:

    I tried a couple of times, but the connection kept timing out. Probably shouldn't have gone with models with the power-windows and heated seats options I suppose, bet that really upped the file size...

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 3:47pm

    Hello, Don Quixote!

    Our copyright organization is working to eliminate copyright infringement by file sharing software.


    Also known as "tilting at windmills".

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2013 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Next Innovation...

    no it won't. collisions are easy

     

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

  58.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 6:59pm

    Re:

    Sorry your Honor, but that content is only available for rent/limited license. Lets ask dizziness if mickey mouse is for sale.

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    s. westfall, Mar 12th, 2014 @ 1:29pm

    Japanese Google and other sites

    This was being done without my knowledge on my android phone and its hacking and phishing and illegal!!! And I'm reporting it!!

     

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


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