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.