After recent success, the Japanese government has further intensified its war against online piracy. However, it looks like they’re not just going after uploaders this time around. Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs has revealed that they are now planning to impose penalties who illegally download manga, magazines, novels, essays, and photographs from the internet. However, there seems to be a bit of a loophole here, as the ones who download must have the knowledge that they know that they’re downloading illegal content.
Under the proposed provision, downloaders can get up to two years prison time, or have to pay 2 million yen. The agency plans to submit these as revisions to the Copyright Act. They will start to submit the proposal during the next Ordinary Session of Japan’s Diet next year. The proposal also seeks to ban “leech sites” that aggregate and provide hyperlinks to pirated media.. They already asked several internet providers to block such sites, with some of them already complying. In fact, Japanese provider, NTT, has already blocked three of these pirate sites.
Current Japanese laws only punish consumers on pirated music and videos. These new provisions seek to expand to books and literature. These include manga and light novels. As for the site-blocking, the Japanese government aim to create new legislation which will expand the site-blocking rules by next year. The argument is that these sites cause harm to publishers and content creators such as mangaka and authors.
Several of Japan’s biggest publishers and manga magazines have now banded together to stop piracy. This helps the government, as they spread information about the issue. The Japanese government has also intensified crackdowns and arrests for those who upload illegal content as well. They recently arrested Chinese nationals, shut down the illegal manga site, Mangamura, and even hired a “Pirate Hunter” to track down these illegal sites.
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