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Japanese Supreme Court Rules TV Forwarding Illegal 177

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the legal-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder dept.
eldavojohn writes "If you use anything like a Slingbox in Japan, you may be dismayed to find out that a Japanese maker of a similar service has been successfully sued by Japan Broadcasting Corp. and five Tokyo-based local TV broadcasting firms under copyright violations for empowering users to do similar things. TV forwarding or place shifting is recording and/or moving your normal TV signal from its intended living room box to your home computer or anywhere on the internet. Turns out that Japan's Supreme Court overruled lower court decisions confirming fears that to even facilitate this functionality is a copyright infringement on the work that is being transferred."
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Japanese Supreme Court Rules TV Forwarding Illegal

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  • Ridiculous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This ruling is ridiculous. Once a signal is openly broadcast why do the content providers think they can limit how you view the content?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They have a right to control EXPORT of the content to other countries, which is what this ruling forbids. Read the frakkin' article
    • by chiasmus1 (654565)

      This ruling is ridiculous. Once a signal is openly broadcast why do the content providers think they can limit how you view the content?

      The signal is not really open. If you lived in Japan, you would know that there is a law that allows NHK to collect money if you have a television or other device that can pick up the signal. You are required to pay money, even if you do not watch NHK. The funny part is that the law requires you to pay, but no one can do anything about it (except continue to visit and ask for money) if you do not pay.

      I once paid for a Sony LocationFree box and had it hosted at a third party company so that I could watch

      • by Creepy (93888)

        Germany has something similar, and as I recall it is per-monitor (including computer) as well. Supposedly it is to keep the number of commercials down, but I hear it doesn't help much.

        My big question is since you can do the same thing with any proxy server, does that make proxy servers illegal as well?

    • Because they can. Its their content, they can have any rule they want attached to it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    is that illegal too? if so how long does it have to be 5m
    10m 100m?

    i don't know how you make a rule like this without it
    being capricious and arbitrary. but then again ianajl

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Or a sufficiently high-powered telescope, an even series of mirrors, and S/PDIF via laser to carry the audio?

  • Targeted: Fansubbers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is designed to prevent anime fansubbers from capturing raw broadcasts, subtitling them, and distributing them in the US and Europe before there are licensing deals (which are now negotiated after first run in Japan based on popularity there, and most shows aren't licensed) to protect the sales of DVDs and Blu-Rays.

    It's bullshit.

    • The artists' desire to get paid for their labor is "bullshit"? Really? How many hours do you give to your boss for free?
      You don't give free hours to your boss?
      Well that's bullshit too.
      /end sarcasm

      • As parent said, many shows aren't licensed, and that is bullshit. If they're not interested in selling them to certain markets, prohibiting sharing is just selfishness and nothing to do with wanting to be paid.

    • by Chang (2714) on Monday January 24, 2011 @01:42PM (#34983342)

      This is incorrect. This ruling went against Nagano Shoten's Maneki TV service which was targeted almost exclusively at a small number of Japanese living overseas - especially people who were doing the same thing by sticking a media PC at their Japanese apartment or parents house or whatnot and streaming it themselves.

      Sony sells a device called location free TV that does the same thing except you set it up yourself with no service provider involved.

      I wouldn't read too much into this ruling. If Sony is sued successfully then this would actually be news.

    • Yes. Heaven forbid people who have legitimate claims to international copyright and redistribution ensure that their rights are upheld.

      Anime isn't free. Entertainment isn't a right.

      Entertainment is a consumable product.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      It's too bad no one has come up with a legal way of simulcasting subbed anime over the internet.

  • why do lawyers believe they can stop the march of technological progress?

    it didn't work with the printing press, and it didn't work with every other media advance since

    why do some fools continue to believe it will stopped now, or ever?

    technological progress trumps law. always. deal with it

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday January 24, 2011 @12:56PM (#34982632)

      why do lawyers believe they can stop the march of technological progress?

      well, its either that or do real work.

      which would *you* pick?

    • why do lawyers believe they can stop the march of technological progress?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money [wikipedia.org]

    • by Ancantus (1926920)
      Lawyers don't truly want to stop technological progress, they want to get rich while technology progresses. Sure a few may truly believe that improvements in technology will be the downfall of their profession (as many of us keep wishing). But any lawyer worth his suit jacket has realized that emerging technology is an amazing way to earn great money, and ingrain themselves deeper in the social/political system. It may appear that they wish technological innovation's downfall, but without an innovator to cr
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        but without an innovator to create an idea, where would the patent lawyer be.

        Where they are now, attempting to get obviously bad patent submissions through the agency.

    • by FreonTrip (694097)
      Because there is a tremendous amount of money to be made in prolonging the inevitable.
    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      Lawyers can't stop the march of the technological progress... but they can sure as hell slow it down. Stopping the sale of devices they deem to be illegal, etc. Big companies slow technological progress until they can figure out a way to turn a profit... and they probably will eventually find a way.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      If progress means your high profit industry is turning into a low profit industry or a no profit industry then of course they'll do everything to block progress. Nobody except a few socialist idealists think people will take pay cuts or give up their livelihood for "the good of society". It's the rest of society that has to tell them "tough luck, find something else to do" and if you don't they'll just keep going. For example take the whole ambassador thing, they were very important as long as that was the

    • You have it wrong. The lawyers KNOW this is a losing fight. They have just convinced the guys who sign the checks it's not.
    • by dbet (1607261)
      Because our government is almost entirely made up of lawyers? We may have representation by place of residence, but not by social or economic class, or profession.
  • This is actually good news. Anything that helps further the demise of television is a good thing.

    • by kellyb9 (954229)

      This is actually good news. Anything that helps further the demise of television is a good thing.

      Televisions seems to be doing just fine in my opinion. It's putting out a poorer and poorer product and making money hand over fist. Advertisers wouldn't be shelling out the kind of money if people we're watching.

      • I'm curious, just when was the golden age of television? I seem to recall plenty of ignorant shows during my youth such as The Lone Ranger, Gilligan's Island, The Love Boat. If anything, some of the more recent sci-fi like stargate, and battlestar galactica, are much better than anything 30 years ago.
        • by kellyb9 (954229)
          I was going to list other shows... but I realized that I only need to start and stop with Jersey Shore. Reality television is a cheap alternative to actually having to write a script or put any work in except for sitting there with a camera. The only really good shows are on Showtime: Dexter, Weeds, etc.
      • by nomadic (141991)
        Televisions seems to be doing just fine in my opinion. It's putting out a poorer and poorer product and making money hand over fist. Advertisers wouldn't be shelling out the kind of money if people we're watching.

        Outside reality TV shows, television has been getting better and better over the past decade. The shows they had from the 1950's-1990's tended to be 99% unwatchable garbage. Even if 90% of TV is unwatchable garbage now that is still nearly tenfold increase in quality shows.
  • by DinDaddy (1168147) on Monday January 24, 2011 @12:51PM (#34982532)

    This is even more bizarre in the context of it being about Japanese TV. Most of what I see when I am there are eating (not cooking) shows, odd game shows, and infomercials. And news.

    • by dintech (998802)

      eating (not cooking)

      I'd love to be a talento that gets paid to eat nice food and say 'oishii' all day. Unfortunately I am not a member of SMAP or Arashi so it's a non-starter.

    • Why would they need cooking shows if they eat raw stuff all the time ?
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      I think they fear that if the true depravity of japanese TV were to be demonstrated to the american public they would face another, more comprehensive, round of atomic strikes.
    • ... all the manga and animé I can stand whenever I want it off of the web.

      How inconsistent these silly humans are.

  • So by this logic, using a longer cable to transmit the signal is also a copyright violation! They better regulate the maximum allowable cable lengths as well!
    • So by this logic, using a longer cable to transmit the signal is also a copyright violation! They better regulate the maximum allowable cable lengths as well!

      No, there's not a lot of material here but I think it has more to do with converting or capturing the signal to a framed encoding and then viewing this on a device unintended. There's the obvious facilitation of digital recording (like your own DVR) and redistribution or broadcasting to unintended individuals.

      Basically I think it comes down to a problem with locked down system to potentially open system. The new technology could potentially facilitate this.

      Remember, early on Slingbox and Tivo fa [newsweek.com]

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        What it means, really, is that Japan has just upheld the right of major manufacturers to force you to buy the white album again. Can this really have been on behalf of anyone but Sony? I will bet actual money that the money that influenced their decision came from Sony. Further, I will bet actual money that they were bribed. Now if we could only prove it one way or another.

    • its not 'logic'. you thinking people have to stop assuming that laws and courts follow logic.

      really. grow up. the world is not logical and anyone who led you to think this was lying to you.

      powerful people get what they want. logic and rules don't enter into it. rules are defined by those in power.

      media co's see a way to tighten control and they bought legal support. yawn. same thing happens here. our DRM is court-bought laws that attempt to cancel out 'obvious rights'. same thing there.

      • by Tim C (15259)

        Actually his problem is equating "using a longer cable" with "receiving, re-encoding, and re-transmitting".

    • You mean like the NFL does here on private screen size (annual Super Bowl parties article on /. in a couple weeks).

  • by Migraineman (632203) on Monday January 24, 2011 @01:09PM (#34982834)
    Here's a better article. [japantimes.co.jp]

    Looks like the issue is a commercial entity providing the space-shifting service. This isn't an individual setting up his own DVR and using a VPN to watch recorded shows. This case involves a company acting as a proxy for the individual, hoping that the following claim will protect them -
    .

    Nagano Shoten said it is just renting out space to install the devices belonging to its customers, who chiefly live abroad, and is not infringing copyright.

    Having not seen actual court documents, I'm inclined to think that the third-party service is the real issue. Oh, and that pesky part about the media cartels not getting a cut.

    • Actually had a friend who worked in sales selling one of these services.

      The way it works is this:

      The company hires a room in Tokyo and fills it top to bottom with (legally purchased) decoder boxes. The output from these is sent over the internet to paying customers in foreign countries -- in the UK in the case of my friend. They get access to these "proxied" services, the idea being that they can watch Japanese TV programs from the UK without needing all the special satellite equipment.

      The (stupid) copyright issue is down to regional licensing of TV programs and films, which is why the established broadcasters hate these services and try to portray them as criminal / pirates when of course they are no such thing.

      Anyway, hope this explains a bit more what's going on here. I see it's business as usual for openness and transparency in Japanese politics/law ...

      Rich.

  • Reading the secondary link, instead of the one linked to in the article, says something different:

    This has nothing to do with Slingbox which, as I understand, is not a service provided by a 3rd party but a device and software you use and set up yourself. The Nikkei article linked reads as follows:

    Japan Broadcasting Corp. and five Tokyo-based local TV broadcasting firms sued computer company Nagano Shoten, demanding the firm's service be terminated for copyright violation and seeking damages.

    So a 3rd party f

  • Is it illegal to use the devices or is it illegal to sell the devices? The former is virtually impossible to prove.

  • I'm going to take a devil's advocate approach here. You've subscribed to a service and signed some sort of contract. That contract probably stated that you can use the service in a certain predescribed manner. If you use it in any other manner, you are probably in breach of that contract. If you don't like the terms of that contract, there are many different legal options including choosing no options and obtaining televisions shows ad-hoc across the internet for a small fee.

    If your cable provider wanted
  • What's the surprise? Broadcasters and Movie-producers are still p@ssed that consumers can record analog signals ... I reckon with today's lobbying, they'd probably be able to get VCRs outlawed ...

    • by LocalH (28506)

      They're working on closing the analog hole. Ever heard of Cinavia? It's analog copy-protection added to the audio track before encoding that survives even recording via microphone. Remember the old "horror story" people warned about, where you'll have devices that won't let you record if copyrighted media is playing in the background? Well, that's what this is, except it kicks in on the playback end with devices that support Cinavia (and such support is required on all newly-manufactured Blu-ray players). I

  • by spongman (182339)

    so does this also mean that VHS is now illegal in japan?

  • Windows supports this functionality. Is Microsoft going to get sued?
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Share-your-media-in-Windows-Media-Player-with-other-people-or-devices
  • Turns out that Japan's Supreme Court overruled lower court decisions confirming fears that to even facilitate this functionality is a copyright infringement on the work that is being transferred.

    Does this mean that Japanese PCs can have either a TV-Tuner-Card or a Remote-Desktop-Server, but not both?

    If so, I guess this makes every "Media Center" PC w/ an Ethernet port illegal.

    Sounds like a new app will be hitting the Jailbroken Apple TV soon.

    In other news: The MPAA has successfully sued every ISP for billions of dollars in copyright violations. Turns out, Every Internet packet is copied each time it traverses a router between you and the content provider. ASCAP says it plans to sue RAM manufactur

  • It's called the Ouroborus [pudenda.net], and its a snake swallowing its own tail. Watching modern business, cannibalizing itself in the misguided hope of squeezing the last frigging cent, yen, drachma, or peso out of a product, service, or piece of IP is like watching the Ouroborus make a lunch of itself, happily munching away until that last mouthful slips quietly into some parallel dimension (I'm guessing hell, but at least some kind of mindless oblivion.) Sony Legal stomps on Sony music so it can maintain a deathgrip on the IP of recording artists, the RIAA consumes its own customers, and makes a public campaign of lies about why its failing to sell records, its a bunch of hypertestosteronal primates thinking they can kill and threaten their way to controlling every aspect of what people see, think and hear, and a neofascist government (both in Japan and the U.S.) which knee-jerkingly gives these crime bosses anything they ask for. The system is broken. Information (like art for instance) flows like water and as long as people can watch someone on a street corner playing beautiful music, the big guys at the media conglomerates are threatened. Personally I'm tired and nauseous of the cookie cutter clone artists being pumped out of the product packaging wombs of the big media producers. In the 60s and 70s, we got female artists ranging every depth and breadth of sound, body type, color, style, flavor, and sophistication from the ragged edge of self destruction blues pouring out of Janis Joplin, to the cool jazz pop of Joni Michell's "Free Man in Paris". None of these women looked like Vogue models, there were real, and deep, and sexy, and dangerously smart. Look at the selection of prepackaged, flavorless, flawless, lifeless female artists that perform today. The only female artist I'm hearing on the popular radio today that I'm still certain has a pulse and not a set of EveReady(tm) batteries, is Pink.

    The big guys running the studios are so busy defending proprietary turf, and massaging those big stiff egos, that they can't admit they're strangling the newborn future in its cradle. Right or wrong (mostly wrong) they are willing to ride those egos all the way to bankruptcy and oblivion, while the internet makes possible a new and profound democratization of artistic expression the likes of which has never before been seen. New business people will grow up in the place of suicidal giants. Young intelligent men and women who can see the opportunity, and a business model that will generate amazing new fortunes will fill the vacuum, and we'll all remember when the snake swallowed its tail and went out in a last rage filled cry. To quote Mrs. Gump "Forrest, stupid is as stupid does!"

  • You know, I would actually be willing to pay for a Japanese TV package via internet stream if it were available at a decent price. Unfortunately, the only IPTV I've seen has been offered by dubious SE asian sources at either terrible stream qualities, or at outrageous prices. (Standard 15 channels they offer on cable over there for like $100/month, for ex) Depending on the American cable provider, they have some premium packages -- but they also tend to only be like NHK and 1-2 other channels for like $50/m

  • a business opportunity!

    My J-wife uses IP streamed 1-seg with a USB decoder.
    The only alternative where I live is to get a satellite TV "Asian" package with a bunch of Chinese channels and *one* J-channel for like US$40/month.

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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