The Number Of Pirates Arrested In Japan Since October Might Surprise You

The Number Of Pirates Arrested In Japan Since October Might Surprise You

Well, it’s been three months since Japan’s own version of SOPA was passed. So, how many music, video and game pirates were carted off to the slammer to face justice?

For those unfamiliar or cannot be bothered to research: in October, the copying of copy-protected and encoded materials, the sale of software and hardware that circumvents copy or access protection, and the intentional download of illegally uploaded materials were deemed illegal and punishable by prison time and/or a fine in Japan.

The law in question is written in such a way as to be vague and open-ended, allowing for potential abuse by any authority who wishes to. Even video streaming sites like YouTube and Nico Nico Douga could fall under the law’s definition of “illegal download” (although authorities later stated that they would not). So, how has the island country suffered under this new tyrannical rule?

In a word: none. As of January 9, no cases have been reported of anyone being arrested or tried under the new law.

With this new legal power and increased speculation that illegal piracy of music, video and game content is destroying the respective industries, it was thought that an increased crackdown would commence at the strike of midnight on September 30th. This turns out not to be the case. Some have speculated that the difficulty in determining the specifics of piracy and the variations in individual cases as well as the unclear parameters of punishment is making copyright owners hesitant to act rashly.

While some pirate sites have shut down or ceased activity since October, many still remain active. It could be that the vagueness of the law may have actually ended up hamstringing its application.

While not yet put into action, the law still exists and its effects are still valid, causing much nervousness both for informed pirates and people worried about their personal rights alike.

【違法ダウンロード】著作権法が改正されて3ヶ月経過 →摘発事例無し [はちま起稿]

Picture: VIPDesignUSA/Shutterstock


  • Well, it fails one of the tests of being a law. If it is not enforced it is effectively not a law. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if that changes in the future.

  • Dinosaurs move slowly.

    It takes months, sometimes years, to assign incident reports, investigate, assemble evidence, raid/arrest/ examine evidence etc.

    Just because there have been no arrests so far means very little indeed.

    There could be 10,000 arrests tomorrow, all based on months of investigation.

    Want a simple way to not get arrested? Don’t steal other people’s stuff. It’s really that simple.

    Everything else is sophistry, excuses and an overdeveloped sense of entitlement.

    • “Want a simple way to not get arrested? Don’t steal other people’s stuff. It’s really that simple.”

      My understanding of this law is that it’s so vauge this doesn’t really apply. You could be arrested for giving someone video editing software as it could be used for piracy. Doesn’t matter if they only intend to edit the video of their own wedding or something.

      The main problem with open ended laws like this is no one really knows the bounds of them until a handful of people have been arrested under them and their bounds tested in court. Sucks if you’re those people.

      Also Mr Duncs is right, the worry most people have about his law is that it will likely be used to arrest people not because they are being targeted for piracy but as a cop is angry at them for something they don’t have any powers/evidence to arrest for.

  • I think this law will be used to target ‘troublemakers’ rather than the general population. Get arrested for protesting outside an American military base (or whatever, trying to stop the dolphins getting bludgeoned), out the next day. A week later you get arrested again on copyright violations because you downloaded Old Boy and the latest series of Glee.

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