This week, Japanese police have been carrying out raids all over the country against individuals alleged to have uploaded copyright works to the Internet. In total, 18 people were arrested for sharing movies, anime, music, games and software.
For the last few weeks Japan’s Anti-Counterfeiting Association (ACA) has been busy monitoring the country’s file-sharers looking for copyright infringers. After handing over their findings to the authorities, this week the police took action.
In an operation starting Tuesday this week and ending Friday, police targeted 50 locations around Japan and ultimately arrested a total of 18 individuals.
The ACA, an organization made up of various trade groups including the Recording Industry Association of Japan, International Motion Picture Copyright Association and various other film, music and software entities, said the raids followed a similar but smaller operation in November last year. In that action, 11 people were arrested and according to ACA, all have been convicted.
As appears to be customary in these cases, the RIAJ – the Japanese equivalent of the RIAA – has taken the step of publishing a list of the ages, sex, locations, occupations and copyright works said to have been shared by the 18 individuals.
They range from a 25 year-old taxi driver from Tokyo sharing Cross Game, Dragon Ball Kai, Evangelion, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Gundam 00 Second Season, to a 58 year-old construction worker sharing IBM Homepage Builder 12 and input method editor ATOK 2010.
What is striking about the arrests is that none of the accused appear to be heavy uploaders – the ‘worst’ pair appear to have uploaded 6 games, 2 comics and 4 music tracks between them.
While downloading in Japan was previously permitted for personal use, both up and downloading of copyright works are now expressly illegal.