That’s when an amendment to a current Japanese law on copyright takes effect. It’s already a crime to download pirated music or view illegal movie files in Japan, but the government did not put the penalty of two years in prison and a $25,000 fine into law until recently.
While not as far-reaching as SOPA or PIPA was here, the Japanese public have made little to no effort to bring the law down, thus making the amendment a reality when it takes effect October 1. What’s worse is that Japanese citizens outside of Japan can be at risk for prosecution, scaring potentially millions of viewers away from YouTube.
Now how are Maru, “Cooking With Dog” or your favorite Japanese web celebrities involved in this debacle? Say “Cooking With Dog” used background music from an artist without their permission or used a song that may potentially trigger a copyright complaint; each time you watch a YouTube video, it downloads temporary data. If the Japanese authorities decide that the video you watched was in violation of the new copyright law, the guys at “Cooking With Dog” could face arrest, and anyone with Japanese citizenship watching the offending video will face the same fate.
Kind of scary, isn’t it?
Laws pushed by honchos in the recording and film industries to kill piracy will do more harm than good because those laws treat users and artists like criminals. It will scare a chunk of independent artists away from making vibrant and provocative content out of fear that something just a bit off will land them in jail. These harsh laws benefit the old established entertainment industries at the expense of new independent media.