Japanese Law Enforcement Uses New Copyright Law To Arrest 27 File Sharers

from the lock-'em-up dept

Last year, we noted that Japan had put in place ridiculously draconian copyright laws that criminalized unauthorized downloads, DVD backups and even watching infringing YouTube videos in some cases. And, of course, what good is a law if it’s not used? So, Japanese law enforcement apparently went on a big raid, searching 124 locations and arresting 27 people. Those arrested may face between two and ten years in jail, because that’s a reasonable punishment for sharing something. I don’t see how this makes anyone respect copyright any more, or gives anyone any additional incentive to support the legacy players who are using this system to put fans in jail.

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Comments on “Japanese Law Enforcement Uses New Copyright Law To Arrest 27 File Sharers”

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83 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: @ Rikuo the obstinate little pirate:

THERE IS NO RIGHT TO SHARE WHAT DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU.

) Creators inherently have SOLE RIGHT TO COPY their work.

) Creating is and has always been more difficult than copying.

) The special provisions in law for copyright stem from the above 2 facts. It’s specific setting out of “intellectual property” rights for creating works given the relative ease of copying.

) Copyright specifies WHO can gain money from the works, AND that no one else is to gain money from them. (For a limited time, but after in public domain, it’s still unethical to grift on the work of others; ONLY the cost of reproduction should be charged.)

) Copyright law is indeed exactly to prevent copiers and the general public from copying works (during the limited time). The societal agreement is that only creators can attempt to gain from it during that (limited) period.

) There are NO rights whatsoever granted to or held by copiers. No one’s “right to copy” is at any time removed or diminished because it never exists prior to the creation of a work.

) Machines doing the labor of copying doesn’t confer any new right to do so.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re: @ Rikuo the obstinate little pirate:

Copyright law is indeed exactly to prevent copiers and the general public from copying works (during the limited time). The societal agreement is that only creators can attempt to gain from it during that (limited) period.

Except that copyright is no longer “limited”. And before you spout off about how it is still limited, list all the works by Disney that are now public domain.

Copyright was supposed to be a balance between creators and the public. Since copyright no longer respects the public, why should the public respect copyright?

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: @ Rikuo the obstinate little pirate:

1) Wrong. Creators are granted a limited right to maintain a monopoly on their works. If creators had the sole right to copy their work, publishers couldn’t exist, because they are by definition copying someone else’s work.

2) Difficulty of creation has no relevance to a creator’s rights, it doesn’t now, and never has. This is completely off-topic.

3) Law for copyright exists to grant creators a limited exclusive right to a new idea before it is added to the public domain for the improvement of society. This is to incentivise creation.

4) Wrong. Copyright specifies who can distribute original copies. Other individuals can profit besides the original owner. This is painfully obvious if you think about the concept of, I don’t know, every store in existence.

5) Technically true. Life + 70 years (or 120+ in the case of corporations) is not effectively limited. Anything that is limited for two lifetimes may as well be unlimited for all practical purposes.

6) There may not be a right to copy, but there is freedom of speech and the freedom to do what I want with things I have. Copyright prevents me from doing something I could otherwise do, therefore it is removing a right by definition. We, as a society, accept this in a limited degree in order to incentivise creation. Since the limitation is gone, and my rights are being ignored, I see no reason why I should respect the rights I am granting another person if they refuse to respect mine.

7) The method of copying is irrelevant, both in reality and in copyright law.

Your all-caps opening is wrong, too. If I buy something, it’s mine. I can give it to whoever I want. Copyright is removing that right.

You can copy and paste as many times as you want but it will never be true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

People have a natural right to share, which unfortunately, copyright gets in the way of.

I’ve decided I have the natural right to repeatedly kick you in the balls. My notion carries precisely the same weight as your declarations about art and copyright.

So, with that decided, it’s now time for you stand still and wait while I put these steel-toed boots on…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Years in jail and fines they will never be able to pay back in a life time?

For sharing? Sure, call it anything that makes you feel justified in having those people arrested. But the punishment is so far beyond reasonable and worthwhile that it … It defeats the purpose behind punishments given in a court of law. This is how respect for copyright is eroded.

Any reasonable person can see that as far as these punishments go, this is abusive.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Any reasonable person can see that pirates are abusive of other people’s rights.”

Any reasonable person can see that years in jail is a completely disproportionate punishment for infringing other people’s copyright.

You need to stop mentioning “people’s rights” as if copyright is anywhere near as important as real human rights. It ain’t, not even close.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m not following your logic… Mike clearly is showing empathy to the victims. The victims in this case are obviously private individuals sharing for non-commercial purposes now facing potential jail time and/or a fine of over 21k. Any moron in a hurry can see this punishment is beyond disproportionate, completely out of touch with reality, and the very definition of draconian.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think everyone in this story had their rights violated.

In the end, those sharing the files look to be raped by the Japanese justice system. Far more violated than the rights holders will ever be harmed.

This is inhumane and is not in line with what a civilized society does to those that break this type of law.

In the end, I can see this having far more of a detrimental affect to copyright than any file sharers do.

edinjapan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The fine is of course disproportionate due to the Japanese system where value must be put upon everything and everyone. Because of this value concept a schoolteacher or coach can get a suspended sentence for hitting a killing a bad student or a poor athlete. The reason they get the light sentence is because the victim was seen as worthless for contributing to society. On the otherhand, a crappy song by SMAP worth potentially millions of yen will net you a hefty fine and decades in jail because SMAP are a valuable commodity to their recording company.

SolkeshNaranek says:

Overall strategy

This is merely the first step in the copyright industry’s plan to eventually make file sharing a capital crime.

The death sentence will be imposed for merely being suspected of file sharing, no costly trial or other attempt at justice will be necessary.

Not to worry though. The copyright industry will assure us their word can be trusted and that an unbiased third party (which used to work for them) will oversee all executions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "respect copyright"?

Part of what makes Japan work the way it does is reverence and respect for the police force. A lot of protections we take for granted, those enumerated in our Bill of Rights (battered though they may be,) are alien concepts to them. Be interesting to watch how badly they fuck themselves at the behest of the US entertainment industry, in all honesty.

Brian says:

Re: Re: "respect copyright"?

Hahaha! Do you think this is to protect the US entertainment industry? Don’t be so arrogant, son. All arrests were made because the criminal offenders downloaded materials that were created by Japanese powerhouses.

They couldn’t care more or less about protecting the US entertainment industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

when bad laws have to be used to protect something, it shows how bad that something is! it also shows how pathetic those that instigate the introduction and use of these laws are. they are trying to minimize their own failings and fear of losing the control they had by criminalizing minor ‘crimes’ (using the term as loosely as possible here) and inflicting maximum harm. shame they cant do something to gain respect rather than contempt or be in the same position that they enjoy putting others in

mmrtnt (profile) says:

What is the Japanese Word for Irony?

The first big wave of consumer electronics that could be used for infringement came from Japan – cassette recorders, VCRs, scanners – and Japan became a financial powerhouse based partially on sales of these devices.

Then their economy crashed and now, apparently in an attempt to make sure that it stays crashed, the police are arresting people for using all of the awesome electronics they build.

Brilliant!

out_of_the_blue says:

Miss-the-obvious Mike strikes again.

“I don’t see how this makes anyone respect copyright any more, or gives anyone any additional incentive to support the legacy players who are using this system to put fans in jail.”

That’s not the intent. Stopping copyright infringement is the intent.

“Those arrested may face between two and ten years in jail, because that’s a reasonable punishment for sharing something.” — Sarcasm? On so serious a topic? Out of place.

Anyway, WISH were some serious consideration given by fanboys to just how much they’re willing to risk to download some mere entertainment. — I mean the kind which its owner intends to be paid for. — Because any state, especially the US, will be happy to go as draconian as they can get away with.

Whole area needs fought by other means. I’d suggest first of all to have an economist who’s studied this area for a decade or so come up with some viable plan that will both reduce piracy and protect rights of owners. … Now that’s sarcasm, done right.

Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
http://techdirt.com/
All Techdirt logo T-shirts are hand-made. … By laborers, a class of people whom Mike never even mentions, let alone favorably.

_out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Miss-the-obvious Mike strikes again.

First they came for those who downloaded copyrighted works, but I did not speak up since I did not download copyrighted works.

Then they came for those that created new things from copyright works, but I’m not creative enough for that so I said nothing.

Then they came for contrarians assholes posting on internet blog like me, and there was no one left to stop them…..

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Miss-the-obvious Mike strikes again.

@ a false out_of_the_blue:

>> First they came for those who downloaded copyrighted works, but I did not speak up since I did not download copyrighted works.

No, FIRST they come for those who are actually GUILTY. I prefer efforts be directed to mega-grifters like Kim Dotcom, who’s now a multi-millionaire after diverting an income stream from the creators of works. Throwing him in jail won’t bother ME a bit.

>> Then they came for those that created new things from copyright works, but I’m not creative enough for that so I said nothing.

AT THIS TIME, you’re advocating that those creators don’t get rewarded, so you’re starving them.

>> Then they came for contrarians assholes posting on internet blog like me, and there was no one left to stop them…..

Are you committed to MY free speech? I’ll thank you (after the fact) for stopping bullets for me, then, INSTEAD OF TRYING TO SHUT ME UP HERE AND NOW.

What an unwittingly perverse idiot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Miss-the-obvious Mike strikes again.

Frankly, I would think you’d be happy with the reaction you get on this blog.

You are after all a unpleasant little prick that provides no useful dialog in how to make the system of copyright work for all of society.

I would rather have a tough as nails pro-copyright commenter here that took the time to provide useful dialog. At least with that person, some consensus would be found.

Far as I can tell, you are just here to make noise and ensure everyone here understands how horrifically the entertainment industry hates the rest of the world.

Frankly, I think your boss will one day wake up to the fact that people like you are hurting the public image of what the entertainment industry is. I can only hope you at least get fired and at best, are found of violating a few federal laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Miss-the-obvious Mike strikes again.

In your mad rush to castrate those “Fanboys” (Who really are perhaps the biggest fans of the Entertainment industry) you failed to help set reasonable guidelines for what can happen to them.

With the punishments the Japaneses are willing to hand out, they might as well be a death sentence in many cases. Years of jail time for a movie is so far beyond having any useful value.

If you are such an outspoken critic, why don’t you participate in making sure the time fits the crime?

Anonymous Coward says:

For what it’s worth, these arrests are not solely a product of this new law, as Japan has been arresting people for uploading content, especially to the filesharing network “Share”, for years now (with a story like this coming out a couple times a year for the last several years). For this story, based on http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2013-02-22/27-arrested-in-japan-for-file-sharing-including-2-perfect-dark-users , it appears that in this case at least most of these arrests were for uploading which was covered under the old law, rather than downloading which the new law covers.

That is not to say either law is not ridiculous, but in this case it does not seem like this was a result of the new law, but rather a continuation of arrests of uploaders which could have happened with or without the new law that deals with downloaders.

Also of note, the manga creator Hitode Jinbo was one of the ones arrested for uploading certain anime and games on share.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

I wonder how long it will be before industries start pushing for jail time for swapping pre-owned DVDs.

After all – borrowing a DVD from a friend is also experiencing creativity without paying.

Actually, if I remember correctly, there was a proposal a few years ago for a new format, where all the media you buy would be tied to one machine forever. Like how downloaded games on a console are forever tied to that console (unless you go through the PITA process of transferring them).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Proposal?

Nope Micro$oft just launched Office with those same restrictions, the app will scan your machine, build a fingerprint and if it changes it refuses to run.

Of course their idea is to make it unpalatable for customers forcing them to upgrade to the Office 360 in the cloud which doesn’t have those things and the most important part, Microsoft doesn’t have a granted monopoly, it may have a virtual monopoly(aka natural monopoly), but it doesn’t have an artificial monopoly that would force everybody to buy Office this is why they don’t do it, but of course the MAFIAA people don’t have that problem, after all they were granted the right to a monopoly and so they can do whatever they want to do for life + 75 years or more, frak me.

Anonymous Coward says:

using fear to stop people from file sharing is one thing, using it to give people criminal records, bankruptcy and/or ruined lives is another. whichever road the entertainment industries go down, they are not, repeat not going to make people go into shops and buy stuff or go to web sites and buy stuff. their options are far to few, too restrictive and too expensive! ruling by fear is the way of dictators. people died fighting against those dictators and protecting the very race that are behind the majority of the entertainment industries. funny how money, power and control brings short memories, eh?

Anonymous Coward says:

The japanese are a very socialy repressed society. Old politicians keep getting re-elected, and young people either don’t have the motivation or don’t want to bother to fight.

It is based on a cultural problem, where seniority is too important(in every aspect of society), where respect is simply “given” instead of having to be earned. Given this, it makes it even tougher for young bright minds to change society in the way we see in the west. Japan with its aging population, simply doesn’t adapt well to changes, even if their future depended on it.

Then there is the fact it is a culture very much based on “the nail that stands up will be hammered down”.

Japan’s hope is that the west could put some pressure for it to change, but seen as we can’t even win this issue here, things in Japan will only continue to get worst.

It is unfortunate but Japan and I don’t see it changing unless we have western pressure.

silverscarcat says:

Re: Re:

So, in order to hear new music, you buy EVERYTHING in the genre you like, you don’t listen to the radio, you put ear plugs in your ear when you walk into stores…

And when buying a new video game, you don’t ever play a demo of it.

Or go to a book store and read a book to see if you’d like it…

And I’m sure you’ve NEVER loaned a game, book, movie, song, etc to your roommates or friends, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What makes this more hilarious is that Japan’s economy is already in big trouble. Youngsters already have problems finding jobs because Japanese society is so ingrained in corporate loyalty, businesses would rather hire old guys all the time and refuse to vacate those positions for newcomers. Japanese society is so repressed as a whole they have places like the “Suicide Forest” where people actively kill themselves every year.

Their population can’t replace itself, their economy is in the fucking shitter, but somehow just like Greece and Italy they’d rather find more ways to demand money off people who can’t afford to buy content en masse.

Anonymous Coward says:

and in the meantime, 15 murderers were not pursued because the Japanese law enforcement now sees it as a lesser crime! are you fucking kiddin’ me? 10 years in jail for file sharing? what the hell have we done by letting the entertainment industries loose on the world, letting them change the ‘innocent unless proven guilty’ to ‘guilty unless able to afford a lawyer, a fee and tickets to say the whole family were holidaying on Mars and now letting them decide what crimes are the most serious and what punishments can be meted out for swopping files of data! has the World become totally unhinged??

Richard Cintron (user link) says:

According to Japanese law unauthorized downloads, DVD backups and even watching infringing YouTube videos are crime. Now question is that is this justified or not, My personal view as a lawyer is that government should not take strong steps against all cases. If they try to download government secret copy or trying to hack password then only government should take strong action against them.

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