Japan Introduces Prison Sentences For Illegal Downloading

Illegal Japanese downloaders will risk being sent to prison for two years or being fined $25,000 if they are caught in the act after a change in the law hit the country.

New tough penalties have been introduced to challenge those individuals who have downloaded copyright-infringement files, and, with Japan being the second-largest music market after the US and illegal downloads outnumbering legal ones by almost 10 to one, it is a landmark decision.

This could now mean that only one single download from a person could result in them having these laws unforced upon them. Critics of this decision have cited that the focus should be on stopping users who make the illegal material available to the public rather than punishing those who download it.

Japan’s actions are seen as a large crackdown on a global scale to eradicate illegal downloading, and several other countries are expected to join them in the fight. This has seen these nations take action against The Pirate Bay torrent service, whose founder has been deported to Sweden as he faces tax charges.

Other cases against illegal downloaders have seen the US take the illegal streaming service Megaupload offline, BitTorrent’s Demonoid being shut down in the Ukraine, and Surfthechannel video site’s owner being jailed in the UK.


France has also introduced a three strikes rule that has already seen the country issue its first fine, and other laws have had various successes on cracking down privacy internet laws including the US’s SOPA. It’s clear that different nations are taking opposing stances on how to battle this problem.