Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Japan's Internet Piracy Laws

A new law in Japan makes downloading copyrighted music and video punishable by up to two years in prison, and a penalty of up to 2,000,000 yen.
News articles talk about how the new law has hurt the music industry. Japanese people are buying less music now.
The goal of the law was to reduce illegal circulation, and increase legitimate purchases  but some studies show that the law has reduced revenue even further.
According to BBC news a group of 80 masked protesters, wearing masks associated with the hacker group Anonymous, picked up trash in Shibuya for about an hour as a means of protest.
Japan passed the law as part of an international push to reduce online pirating, and though similar laws drafted in the US failed to pass legislation, the new Japanese law went into effect on October 1st.

So what have Ben and I seen as an effect from this new law?
Old fashioned forms of piracy are back in full swing. Remember lending your CD to a friend, so they could put it on their computer, or better yet, burning someone a copy? People are bypassing the laws by cutting out the online medium.

People are going retro. When I asked my friends what they thought of the new law, they said they thought it was overboard. They also said they had no interest in buying new CD's, and would instead just download old or foreign music. I'm not sure about the letter of the law, but it seams that people believe the penalties only apply when downloading Japanese music. Foreign music, they believe is still fair game.

What's the most noticeable change since the new law? Businesses in our town no longer play Japanese music. Most of the music they do play is 10 years out of date in the US. I have re-memorized most of the lyrics to the Back Street Boys Millennium album, and am likely to smack my head on a wall the next time I hear "What I Got" by Sublime.

Further reading:
Article by CNN
Article by BBC
Article by Rocket News

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