Four Arrested In Japan For Running Illicit Video Game Bars

The proprietors of four video game bars have been arrested for allegedly violating Japanese copyright law. According to Yomiuri Shimbun, these arrests are being called the first of its kind in Japan.

According to Mainichi, three of the suspects ran video game bars in Kyoto (Amusement Bar Colorful and Game Bar Clantz). The fourth one ran two in Kobe (Game Bar Fanati and Game Bar Equlit).

Above is a photo from Bar Colorful’s Facebook page.

Earlier this autumn, there were suspicions that the bars were lending out games to customers without getting authorisation from copyright holders like Nintendo and Capcom.

Japan’s Association of Copyright for Computer Software (ACCS) sent these bars warnings, which were apparently ignored. Earlier this year, three video game bars were shut down in Osaka that allowed customers to play games for free while charging them for drinks.


    Isn't that how rentals work though? I mean, places like Blockbuster (USA) and Video Ezy (Australia) do this with video games all the time.

      No, Blockbuster and Video Ezy pay well above retail for each copy of their games and dvds for permission to hire them out, these blokes skipped that step.

        Yep, there's a whole bunch of stuff you have to do, such as taking details for APRA, licensing, royalties, etc, before you can start renting out media.

    There's quite a few bars around Australia built around this exact premise, not to mention countless others with the odd n64 tucked away in a random corner available for patrons to use as they please.

    Do copyright laws say you can't lend games to people? Or "sell it to them for $0"

      Private Sales and Use: go to town on both - you're advertising their product which your mate may then buy (if they were ever likely to buy in the first place), and that copy has already been paid for if you give it away
      Commercial Sales and Use: only if you have permission to lend, not good business practice to sell on for "nothing"
      And those quotes are the key - whether they charge directly for the loan, or use the loan to value add to another sale or service, the business profits from the product, which requires a commercial usage license to legally use the products in that manner.

      Last edited 15/06/18 8:52 am

      Copyright laws state the personal use of the product (ie yourself, your family or personal guests). However if your using it for a commercial or for a large group of people (like a public screening), use without permission or standard royalty scheme, thats can be a violation.

      Even though the games were free, if they were charging more for drinks thats a violation. Also not sure what the Japanese law states but since they did not purchase Arcade machines or operating as a licensed netcafe their was probably a decision this was outside the lines.

      There were also reports they were just plastering some of these bars with game company logos without permission.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now