large First Arrest Made Under Japanese Anti Piracy Act

Japan has made its first arrest under the new version of its anti-piracy act, known as the Unfair Competition Prevention Act.

Authorities in Japan have made the first arrest under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act since the amendments made last year to combat piracy. Nintendo posted a press release (in Japanese) about the incident. The accused, a 39-year-old man from Saitama, is said to have sold R4 cartridges, devices used to pirate games for the Nintendo DS, to three separate individuals over the Internet between February 14th and March 9th for 7,200 yen (roughly $91 USD). The Aichi Prefectural Police Department carried out the arrest on Wednesday.

In the press release, Nintendo expressed its hope that this arrest would cause the devices to disappear from the marketplace. While the R4 and similar devices (known in Japan as majikon) have been illegal to sell for years, there was no criminal penalty for doing so. This meant the devices were easily obtainable both on the Internet and on the streets of electronics districts throughout Japan. In December of 2011, however, a revision was made to Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act which allows for criminal penalties to be applied to, in the words of the law, “the act of providing devices to circumvent technological restriction measures.”

Nintendo did not comment about the details of the case other than applauding the efforts of the Aichi Prefectural Police Department. Also included in the announcement was news of a man arrested in Fukuoka this past February for modding Wii consoles to allow them to play copied software that had been backed up to a USB hard drive. He was also charged with violating the new Unfair Competition Prevention Act along with the Japanese Copyright Act, though his case did not deal directly with majikon devices. Nintendo also praised majikon sale bans in countries around the world, such as Korea, Taiwan, the UK, Italy, Holland, and Germany.