New Online Copyright Infringement Law In Japan: The Hits, Runs and Errors

Add Japan to the list of countries with oppressive online copyright infringement laws. This week, the island country passed a law that says people who illegally download protected material from the Internet can be sentenced to 2 years behind bars or a two million yuen fine.

Japan’s Online Copyright Law History

This is not the first online copyright infringement law Japan has passed. In fact, there are already illegal downloading statutes on the books. The difference is that the previous laws didn’t have any penalties attached to actions. This new law changes that.

Interestingly, Japan already has a more severe online copyright infringement law on the books. But instead of targeting people who do the downloading, it addresses those who upload protected material for others to download. In essence, they punish the uploaders more severely than the downloaders. And it’s a hefty punishment; we’re talking a ten-year jail sentence or a fine of up to ten million yuen fine awaits those who engage in the dastardly deed of making illegal downloads available to others

Japan’s New Online Copyright Infringement Law: Supporters, Detractors and Lobbyists

The new online copyright infringement penalties come after an aggressive lobbying campaign by the Recording Industry Association of Japan – the country’s equivalent to the United States’ Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAJ contends that illegal downloads in Japan outnumber legal downloads by a factor or 10.

Signed into law in June, since its passing, the regulation has prompted a series of cyber-attacks on various government and association websites. Amongst detractors of Japan’s new online piracy bill is the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. Their beef with the bill is its criminal provisions. “Treating personal activities with criminal punishments must be done very cautiously, and the property damages caused by individual illegal downloads by private individuals,” they argued, “is highly insignificant.”

Record labels are also pleased with the strict new online copyright infringement penalties in Japan. Chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment Japan explained earlier in the year, “This revision will reduce the spread of copyright infringement activities on the Internet.”

Is Japan’s New Internet IP Infringement Act That Different Than U.S. Laws?

Japan’s new online piracy law is not all that different than Internet copyright infringement laws in the United States, where statutory online copyright infringement ranges between $2,000 and $150,000 for infractions. In most copyright troll lawsuits, though, alleged illegal downloaders usually receive settlement offers for between $1,500 and $3,000 dollars.

Contact An Online Copyright Infringement Lawyer

Do you need an online copyright infringement lawyer to help with an illegal downloading issue? If yes, contact us here at Kelly / Warner Law. We’re a law firm dedicated to all Internet law related matters and we’ve helped many with their Internet intellectual property legal needs. Whether you need to respond to a lawsuit threat from a copyright troll, or are interested in filing a lawsuit against someone who has infringed on your protected works, the two founding partners of the firm – Aaron Kelly and Daniel Warner – are ready to help rectify the situation. Contact us here to get started.

Music downloading fun fact: Japan is widely considered to have the world’s second largest music industry after the United States.

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