Japan's Piracy Crackdown Heats Up

Sansai Books, the Japanese publisher known for mags Game Lab and Radio Life, is in hot water. Last December, Sansai released a publication called Totally Easy to Understand DVD Copying 2012, which included a detailed how-to and ripping software. That didn't go over well with Japan's cyber police. At all.

This week, authorities arrested four Sansai employees -- including exec Yoshiaki Kaizuka -- for violating Japan's Unfair Competition Prevention Law. The law was revised last month to add penalties for selling software or devices that enable the ripping of copyrighted material, such as movies, music, and video games. The law does not make a distinction between personal use and piracy, thus, making all forms of ripping and copying piracy by default.

Late last year, several industry groups repeatedly warned Sansai about selling the publication. However, Sansai continued to offer the magazine (and ripping software) via its website well into 2012.

"I knew this was illegal," Kaizuka is quoted as saying. "I sold it for company profits."

Totally Easy to Understand DVD Copying 2012 sold approximately 4000 copies, totaling ¥4 million ($50,600) in proceeds.

This isn't an isolated crackdown as Japanese police are moving swiftly against individuals selling ripping software and piracy devices. Yesterday, Japanese news reported that the manager of an Osaka game shop was arrested -- the first arrest of its kind -- for selling R4 devices.

For several years now, Japanese cyber cops have been battling digital piracy. Now that the country's Unfair Competition Prevention Law has been strengthened, it now has the necessary legal backing to arrest individuals. And that it will.

DVDコピー解除ソフト販売 容疑の出版社役員ら逮捕 [Nikkei] DVDの違法複製ソフト販売容疑=出版社常務らを逮捕-警視庁 [Jiji] 『ゲームラボ』『ラジオライフ』で知られる三才ブックスの役員らが逮捕 [Get News]

Photo: dsy88/Shutterstock/Sansai Books


Comments

    So does this mean that anyone selling a CD burner is a potential target if they are suspected of being involved with piracy?
    Also, most ripping software for music and DVDs are free and available on the internet - what can they possibly do about that?

      I believe they've said that ripping CDs for your personal collection is ok, so they can use that loophole to avoid that sort of trouble.

        Not in japan

        They've specifically said the opposite.

        "The law does not make a distinction between personal use and piracy, thus, making all forms of ripping and copying piracy by default."

    Wait, burning CDs is illegal?
    Damn, I'd just finished reducing 100,000 of those Justin Bieber CDs to ash....

    "“I knew this was illegal,” Kaizuka is quoted as saying. “I sold it for company profits.”"

    Oh man my sides! Really he's got a good reason, just let him go!

    Just more impotent flapping by old men. The kids will find new ways to circumvent the copying problems.

    ““I knew this was illegal,” Kaizuka is quoted as saying. “I sold it for company profits.””
    in japan, my lawyer friend told me that 90% of arrests result in a conviction, not necessarily because theyre guilty, but because their legal system is as weak as piss. People are coerced almost as bad as in China to give admissions of guilt under interrogation techniques that would amount to phycological torture until Guantanamo raised the bar (think good cop bad cop and scaring a timid little japanese alone in a room for hours on end, except one of them is his lawyer). A citizen was suffocated with a sock as recently as last year for demanding a right to trial before being deported without notice because of a minor mistake in his naturalisation papers when he married a japanese woman over 30 years ago.

    I love how it's called the "Unfair Competition Prevention Law". Because it does sound like a pretty unfair law designed for prevention of competition...

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