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New Japanese Law Sends Casual Pirates To Jail

Radford C. Oct 2, 2012 0

Japanese Internet users who download unauthorized movies, music and games can now face up to two years in prison or a fine as large as 2 million yen ($25,000). The new penalties are an amendment to a 2010 law for copyright infringement crimes which formerly invoked no penalties.

Critics of the law say efforts should have been concentrated on stopping uploaders of copyrighted material instead of punishing those who consume it. In the nation, uploaders face a max sentence of 10 years and a 10 million yen fine.

Japan is the second-largest music market in the world behind the U.S., and media companies say the country is plagued by piracy just like in all nations. The Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) says illegal downloads surpassed legal ones at a pace of 10 to 1.

The Japanese music industry is hoping to replicate the success of South Korea, which has seen its global market ranking jump to 11th in the world from 23rd after the country cracked down on download piracy beginning in 2007, according the IFIP’s 2012 “Digital Music Report.”

South Korean laws require Internet providers to send notices to users who illegally download music, with 70% of infringers stopping after first notification, IFPI says.

The most challenging market for the industry is China, the world’s largest internet market, where an estimated 99% of all downloaded music is illegal, according to the report.

“China has nearly twice as many internet users as the U.S., but digital music revenues per user are currently about 1% of that of the U.S. More than 70% of music sales in China are digital, but the market has achieved a tiny fraction of its potential,” the report said.

“In 2010, China’s overall music sales were worth only $67 million, making it a smaller market than Ireland.”

Peer-to-peer piracy levels declined by 26% in France in 2011 after the implementation of strict new anti-piracy laws, IFPI said.

Via »Torrent Freak