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Anime Government Japan Piracy The Courts Your Rights Online

Illegal Downloading Now a Crime In Japan With Increased Penalties 286

eldavojohn writes "Although downloading songs without paying for them in Japan used to be a civil offense starting in 2010, it is now a crime with new penalties of up to two years in prison or fines of up to two million yen ($25,700). The lobbying group behind this push for more extreme penalties is none other than the RIAJ (the Japanese RIAA). The BBC notes this applies to both music and video downloads which may put anime studios in a particularly uncomfortable position."
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Illegal Downloading Now a Crime In Japan With Increased Penalties

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  • Isn't Japan the country whose P2P scene is dominated by darknet software like Winny and Share?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @08:51AM (#41512179)

    It is not worth wrecking the lives of the people involved just to boost sales of your crappy open source music.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @08:55AM (#41512201)

    Except that the only way for anti-piracy to "win" is to take general purpose computers out of the public's hands and move everyone into walled garden ecosystems, which would kill open source software.

    For as long as people can use computers to share files, they will. The only way around that is to replace the public's computers with devices that don't run unsigned software and don't play back unlicenced media.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @08:56AM (#41512215)

    yeah, I actually agree with you. If you can illegally download any album then it takes away from the artists who let you download their music for free or for reduced price. For instance the group Death Grips just released their new album today for free [] but since people can just steal any album most won't appreciate how cool it is to have a band that signed to a major label releasing free music.

    Also, quite frankly, I'm sick of spending $1000s on professional apps and then pirate kiddies have the same shit but this is one of the joys of using a Mac. The pirate kiddies ask "where can i download a cracked copy of Logic Pro, bro?" and I have to say "Sorry, Logic Pro is Mac only, kid".

  • by partyguerrilla ( 1597357 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:03AM (#41512279)
    If it can be read, it can be copied. There are means of distribution that cannot be stopped by conventional means.
  • by JosKarith ( 757063 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:04AM (#41512285)
    "people have to listen to our music"
    Do you _really_ want that to be your business model? Successful not because of your ability but because someone has mandated it? I guess your artistic integrity is worth less than the bottom line. You'll fit in fine with the *IAA then.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:06AM (#41512293)

    Said darknet software is closed-source though. There is no solid evidence that it is actually well-designed and secure. I seem to recall a few analyses that suggested that it isn't.

  • Somewhat fair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:17AM (#41512357)
    I guess one is supposed to be pro-piracy around here, but I am OK with piracy being reduced. If the artist(s) want a monetary compensation for their works, it's a fair deal. Of course if they set a price too high or make a crappy product, it's also fair for me to not buy it. But it's not a excuse to download it for free... Unless the producers choose so. For example if the anime studios feel that piracy has helped them, then why not just put up some free clips online in the future, by your own.
  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:18AM (#41512371)
    No matter how much we try we won't able to wreck the lives of artists as much as the MAFIAA does.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:20AM (#41512387)

    Are you so naive as to think the law applies in equal measure to the proles and to the lords of the ruling elite? Grow up.

    "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges."

  • by SAN66 ( 998917 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:23AM (#41512409)

    How about we don't wreck anyone's lives?

  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:29AM (#41512451)

    Exactly. Many, many of the people who pirate stuff also buy stuff.

    It is just as easy to stop pirating AND buying as it is to just stop buying.

    Plus there is no difference having an mp3 on your computer from a CD you legally purchased and ripped, and then later lost, versus having a pirated mp3. But when criminal jailtime is in play, this translates into having any mp3's on your computer being a bad idea that could land you in jail.

    Draconian laws that can ruin someones life will eventually provide the impetus for people to stop pirating stuff AND stop buying stuff. Total avoidance will be the safest policy.

    Then those police state espousing motherfuckers at the RIAA and MPAA can go the hell out of business.

    The RIAA and MPAA should start tracking how the animosity that their customers feel about them impacts the bottom line. I wonder if they'd find a trend.

  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:37AM (#41512525)
    That does not send out a clear message. People have been downloading this stuff for free and that's exactly why they set up stricter laws.
  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:43AM (#41512571)

    Yeah, but I've found most people who pirate have no bones about dropping serious bank on hardware.

    That's probably because hardware isn't subject to a model of artificial scarcity. There are actual manufacturing and distribution costs involved in producing things like CPUs and hard drives.

    If we ever have Star Trek-style replicators, you can expect that to change.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:46AM (#41512595)

    There is a big difference between wrecking someone's life by taking away their freedom and wrecking someone's life by ending a subsidy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:47AM (#41512613)


  • Re:Basic Math (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @10:08AM (#41512839)

    That works out to be a 34 songs per person per year in Japan. Somehow the mathematics just aren't there ....

    The number seems quite reasonable to me. Since downloading is except for the risk of being caught essentially free, there will be many people downloading whatever they can, with the purpose of the downloading being to _have_ thousands of songs, instead of _listening_ to thousands of songs.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @10:19AM (#41512949) Homepage
    I get your point, but the kid didn't have $999 in the first place, and the purchasers of bootleg DVDs don't have that $1.3 million. If we accept those numbers, then we're just confirming the delusional math of the the "Associations" (pronounced "cartels").
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @10:27AM (#41513047) Homepage

    I'm not clear what an "open source artist" is: For artistic creations, there is no 'source code' to be open, only whatever sensory experience the artist has declared to be a work of art. Do you mean that you're an independent unsigned musician? Do you mean that you release your stuff under a Creative Commons license?

    Here's the basic path to success for independent musicians:
    1. Perform at any venue that will give you a chance to do so, so you can create some fans. If you don't get fans, then sorry mate, but you probably just aren't that good, keep your day job and enjoy making music as an amateur.
    2. Start getting paid gigs. These will likely start out in venues you will hate, for not-very-large crowds and not a lot of money. You're trying to continue building your fan base, and also to create a good reputation among those who are responsible for booking musicians to play at venues in the area.
    3. Make an album of your music and bring it to the paid gigs. Sell them for $10 a pop.
    4. Any online presence is about building a fan base who will come to your live gigs. The goal is to be enough of a draw that you can start demanding higher prices and better working conditions from people who want to pay you to perform.

    If you don't have at least a few people actively cheering you on, expressing interest in hiring you, or wanting to pay you for recordings, you just aren't professional grade. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not the fault of music piracy.

    And I say this as somebody who's good enough to earn a very low 4 figures for my musical work.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:04AM (#41513451)

    It would be sort of like if you refused to ever prosecute any store break-ins or shoplifting

    No, it's nothing like that at all.

    A store owner has a store full of stuff. If the government disappeared, he'd still have a store full of stuff. He might have to protect the stuff himself, or he may have to pay someone to protect it - but nevertheless, he has stuff. If someone shoplifts, he loses some finite amount of that stuff, and he no longer sells it.

    A songwriter has a pretty tune. If the government disappeared, he'd still have a pretty tune. There is no way to protect this pretty tune - but it doesn't really matter because even if someone "steals" it, he can still hum the pretty tune. If he's lucky, his pretty tunes will turn the head of a patron of some sort and he might actually make some money. He could also make some money by performing the pretty song.

    Short of a patron or a performance, the only reason a songwriter holds anything of value at all is because of a government subsidy. Taking away the subsidy has no moral hazard at all. If the system isn't working to the benefit of society in aggregate, then the system should be changed.

  • Re:Somewhat fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:16PM (#41514243)

    The problem in this case is not that piracy is illegal but that it's disproportionatly punished.

  • Game over man. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Egdiroh ( 1086111 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:34PM (#41516261)
    The Subject "Illegal Downloading now a Crime", says it all, and what it says is that the corporations have won. If it was illegal downloading then it would have already been a crime, or it would not have been illegal downloading. "Illegal Downloading", has traditionally not been an actual thing but instead is a term used as a scare tactic. Similarly there is no such thing as an illegal copy. Traditionally, it has been the distribution or copying itself that is illegal, unlike stolen goods which remain tainted, Copies made without authorization have no lasting taint to them. So traditionally it has been the case that if someone serves you a song, they are the ones that are liable. If you serve it back out because you're on P2P, then and only they are you also liable. But the PR war was so effectively won, that this major change, is mis-reported.
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:45PM (#41517959)

    Shopkeepers could not make money selling things if we didnt have laws preventing theft.

    Of course they could - they could defend the store themselves or hire someone to do it for them. This is what happens when there is a "failed state". You pay the warlord to protect you.

    Banks couldnt make money off of loans if we didnt have laws making those loans enforceable.

    That's half-true. Loans predate the government. I'll take your goat as collateral. But the modern US banking system is heavily dependent on government, with instruments that are arguably even more abstract than IP.

    Im not clear where the difference here is, copyright laws make it possible to profit off of a creative work, which is the intent.

    I'm not arguing about their intent.

    Shall we not reform tax law because accountants and tax lawyers might lose their jobs?

  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @06:08PM (#41518949)
    For each famous artist who gets the spotlight for some time there are thousands others who can barely live. That is what the current model promotes. Record Labels are reasonably good to very few artists and horribly bad for most of them.

"Ninety percent of baseball is half mental." -- Yogi Berra