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Jul 23, 2012

Preparation for War: ”Watching YouTube Videos Not Punished” Agency of Cultural Affairs Disclosed Q and A on Imposition of Criminal Punishment on Illegal Download


We have to keep an eye on this law. It is likely that innocent people will be arrested simply because they are critical about the government.  This is one of necessary steps leading up to war.
Masatoshi Takeshita


English translation of an excerpt from a Japanese article: bizmash!:nifty July 13, 2012


“Watching YouTube Videos Not Punished”
Agency of Cultural Affairs Discloses Q and A on Imposition of Criminal Punishment on Illegal Download


Amidst spreading concerns about imposition of criminal punishment on illegal download, the Agency of Cultural Affairs has disclosed Q and A on this problem to the public.  The agency shows its view that it is no problem to watch videos on “YouTube,” video-sharing website.

The revised Copyright Law, which includes imposition of criminal punishment on illegal download, was enacted on June 20, 2012.   It stipulates that on and after October 1, 2012, a person who knowingly downloads music or videos somebody illegally uploaded shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than 2 million yen.

However, consumer organizations and lawyers have showed their concern about the ambiguous words used in the Q and A.  It might threaten to punish anybody for just watching on YouTube, video-sharing website, depending on how the words are interpreted.

When browsing video-site such as YouTube, data stored within a cache will be automatically created on a PC or a smartphone.  According to the Q and A, it is not violation of copyright.  And sending and receiving illegally copied music and videos on e-mail between friends is not considered a punishable crime.

Furthermore, duplicating and storing photos and sentences on the Internet is no problem only for private use.  However, music and movies are subject to punishment.

However, these are simply the agency’s views, which are not always applicable to the actual operation of the law by the police and the prosecutor, and the judgment of the court.  Lawyers also question whether the agency’s views are applicable to the actual operation of the law without fail.

(Reported by Hiroshi Ueki, Newsfront)


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