You’ve already read the background, right? So you know that the newly amended copyright code in Japan now not only carry prison (and obv., criminal) terms for illegal downloads, but also for home ripping and anti-circumvention stuff, right? So you get the joke in the post title, right?
You know when law school ruined you when you read this article and the one sentence stands out is the quote from the Bar Association (Japanese Federal BA), besides how it saps your sense of humor:
“Treating personal activities with criminal punishments must be done very cautiously, and the property damage caused by individual illegal downloads by private individuals is highly insignificant,” the group said in a statement.
I mean, I think it doesn’t need to be said that criminalizing this is the wrong way to go, and it doesn’t even come from the IP debate perspective. It comes from a social justice and criminal punishment perspective. I guess crime rate in Japan is so low, they need more inmates for their prisons to justify their existence? I don’t know. At any rate, it’s going to be interesting to see the impact of this law on the actual practice of illegal file sharing. But for countries busy locking up people doing pot, putting people who download rips in jail seems like a huge waste of the government’s time, money and resources. I mean, all for what, protecting some wag-the-dog media content industry? [I think Verizon still generates (much) more revenue in the same period than the total retail sales of music in the US. (Add AT&T and you get the US home video industry.)]
It’s kind of interesting to see the impact of this law on legal filesharing. Well, more like the hypothetical Youtube or NND cases–does this mean someone in Japan can break the law enough to go to jail just because you happened to click on a link that plays back some to-be-DMCA’d material that was hosted on a Japanese server/site? I think it’s bullocks in the sense that why does anyone consider this? I don’t think it’s going to have a serious impact with existing players. Japan just doesn’t work this way.
Let’s put it another way. If you read this article it might give you the impression that the copyright amendments passed without really any fanfare, and the legislature just rubber-stamped it. Why? Because politically it just isn’t that important. It’s kind of the thing that gets shoved through as the course of normal business in the Japanese legislatures. One org pushes one way, the other relents only to get some other favor their way later. Contrast this with B156’s passing rites, it is a huge difference, despite ultimately the Tokyo metro ordinance (rather than a national one that’s this copyright law change, by the way) doesn’t really impact individuals but rather publishers. (And thanks to that, I got to watch some cool ACE streams off Nico!)
Well, maybe that is not a fair comparison. Everyone reacts to child pornography (even if it’s the fake kind). But yeah. I don’t expect Japanese kids and youths (people under 40 years old) to stand up for their rights. I just don’t have the respect that I have for your parents (despite the bad pun on ice cream)…unless you take away their To-love-ru Darkness (which, as expected, does not happen).
Silver lining (maybe… not): Hopefully this is yet another opportunity for some internet people to learn the difference between “illegal” and “criminal.” Because that change is a major highlight of the amendment.
PS. If I was in Japan and I published this post, the top image alone will get me in trouble!