Japan’s crackdown on online piracy to include all forms of copyrighted media

Government panel calls for expansion of Japanese copyright law to include manga, video games and literary works.

©Hajime Ishiyama / Kodansha

Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs has called for expanding the scope of illegal online piracy in the country to include all forms of copyrighted media with a policy recommendation it adopted last Wednesday.

The agency will submit a bill to the current Diet session that will amend the country’s copyright law, widening the extent of illegal downloads to all copyrighted work including manga, video games and literary writings. The current law is only limited to illegal downloads of videos and music.


The proposed bill will also penalize operators of “leech sites” which aggregate links to piracy websites.

However, the report acknowledges that there should be further discussions on exactly how these acts should be punished out of concerns that these proposed amendments will infringe on the rights of internet users.

The agency recommends that only serious offenses should be punished, and that violators may face imprisonment of up to two years, a fine of up to JP¥2 million (about PHP947,000) or both.

The report also suggests that perpetrators should only be indicted if victims lodge criminal complaints against them, implying that the enforcement of the proposed law will not be proactive.