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Japan passes new copyright laws, aimed towards stopping downloads and fansubs

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Just the other day, the Japanese Diet passed some amendments to their copyright law aimed towards illegal downloads and Internet caches. The first bit, dealing with illegal downloading, now makes it punishable if you downloaded illegal content knowingly. For a while, uploading content has been illegal, but the goal here is to expand the people they can punish, as a hopeful deterrent to uploaders. The only problem? They haven't actually included a punishment clause in the amendment.

The other one, just to mention, is about how sites like Google and Yahoo have caches of sites they index. Previously, it was illegal to view those, because the prevailing thought was there was no way they could actually get the permission of all those people they indexed.

This push has been mostly from the music, film, and game industries, according to The Global Voice. Japan is moving itself towards the copyright situation in America, where copyright holders have a lot more avenues for protecting their works. Right now in Japan, the threat is "next to nothing" when it comes to downloading illegal material. And it's somewhat confusing as to what exactly counts as downloading and what doesn't.

From what the Global Voice article describes, the Japanese industries are trying to force people back into buying CDs, DVDs, and the like, without really being willing to embrace digital downloads. That's what I've heard from FUNimation and other distributors: they have a hell of a time trying to get digital rights to their releases. So, while the industry is trying to protect their interests legally, they're just alienating their fanbase.

While I'm not one who's all gung-ho about embracing digital downloads, I recognize that it's where things are heading. Sony is in the right mindset with the PSP Go, but that's just one company. The biggest problem is that Japanese companies haven't really taken the prices down for any of their products -- CDs at 3,000 yen, and two-episode DVDs for 5,000 yen or so. No one wants to pay those prices, and so they aren't. Maybe they'll make a radical change and actually lower their prices, start offering digital downloads, and try to welcome their potential customers in with open arms as opposed to legal coercion.

And maybe the RIAA will send me a fruit basket.

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Brad Rice
Brad RiceFounder   gamer profile

Brad helped found in 2006, and currently serves as an Associate He's covered all aspects of the industry, but has a particular preference for the business-end of things, more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #fansubbing #Industy affairs #japan

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