A new law in Japan has gone into effect today which may have a huge impact on the country’s downloading traffic. According to the new law, anyone found guilty of knowingly downloading copyrighted content will face up to two years in prison or a 2 million yen (~$25,000) fine.
(Pirate Bay homepage)
The punishments for uploaders are even worse, however, as anyone found guilty of distributing copyrighted materials will face up to ten years in prison and up to 10 million yen in fine.
Many governments around the world have been aggressively trying to cut down illegal internet activities in recent years, and Japan’s latest act only helps to cement the reality that the entertainment industry (and other digital sectors) will not give in to piracy.
Anti-peer-to-peer file-sharing legislations have not been very effective in discouraging people from downloading copyrighted files. Even so, many peer-to-peer sites (especially torrents) have been under immense pressures from regulators as well as the industries themselves.
BTJunkie, once a popular destination for torrent seekers, has been shut down due to a host of lawsuits and pressure from local governments. Pirate Bay is on track to go down the same path as the site and its founders are in the hot seat with lawsuits and pressures from the governments worldwide.
Japan’s installation of the new download law is probably meant to crack down on piracy by making an example out of individuals, and instilling fear into the citizens who are considering piracy. Regardless, piracy is a global phenomenon that will take a lot more time for governments to deal with.