Gov't, industries battle copyright infringement by hiding strongly worded letters on P2P networks

Gov't, industries battle copyright infringement by hiding strongly worded letters on P2P networks

TOKYO —

On Jan 25, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications along with various motion picture and music associations announced their latest copyright protection measure, dubbed “Operation Decoy File.”

The plan involves inserting files onto Japan’s popular P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks such as Winny and Share which appear to contain popular copyrighted material. However, once downloaded, the file is revealed to be a message appealing the user to reconsider their wicked ways.

At left is a translated diagram from the ministry website which outlines Operation Decoy File in detail.

The message intended to sway featureless blue Internet pirates is also available as a PDF file on the Ministry website and outlines the penalties for uploading and downloading data under copyright in Japan. Here is the main part of the message:

A Warning from the Organization to Raise Awareness of Copyright

Files with the same name as this contain content which is in violation of copyright when distributed over P2P networks such as Winny or Share.

Knowingly downloading and of course uploading files that are protected by copyright law without the consent of the owner over the Internet is illegal copyright infringement. Please stop immediately.

Also, from 1 October 2012, downloading content which is known to be available for sale is punishable by a maximum 2-year prison sentence and/or 2,000,000 yen fine.

Our copyright organization is working to eliminate copyright infringement by file sharing software. In addition to consulting the police to obtain the disclosure of user’s identities, we want to focus on user education.

When this scheme was announced, it triggered a discussion on Japan’s 2-channel message board. Here, some netizens were worried about the impact this would have on their porn viewing habits.

Others tried to track down files containing the warning message by checking the huge difference in files sizes between the real “Dark Knight Returns” video file and a paragraph of text. While this entire plan does seem like a throwback to the days of Napster, it’s not so likely this group is hiding the files in such a lame way.

The ministry also makes it clear that this is simply a test to see how effective it could be to deter filesharing by inserting “copyright awareness” files on P2P. Some people on 2-channel read this to mean that they may consider inserting viruses onto the networks.

Either way, illegal file sharing is sparsely practiced in Japan compared to other countries despite having some of the fastest internet connections in the world. Most people think it’s simply not worth the risk to download movies or songs. So while this plan may seem absurdly naive abroad, it actually may have an effect in this country.

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

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  • 1

    Gobshite

    With this P2P file sharing software I can download wahtever I want...

    Yes, that must be in Japan....

  • 3

    Saulo Akazawa

    One of the fastest in the world... Now we are proud of our internet connection even if it is NOT the fastest in the world!!! I think it is lame that Japan has been surpassed by so many countries in the quality of IT and I don't read anything about that on the news.

    *Knowingly downloading and of course uploading files that are protected by copyright law without the consent of the owner over the Internet is illegal copyright infringement. Please stop immediately.

    Also, from 1 October 2012, downloading content which is known to be available for sale is punishable by a maximum 2-year prison sentence and/or 2,000,000 ye

    n fine.* > Does this mean that if one would, for example, download Real Time, a show that has no re-airing in Japan and is not available for sale in this market, nor on the itunes or the web, would NOT break the law? This is all so confusing? P2P is not illegal so long the content is not illegal!!! I get that part....

  • 1

    Kent Mcgraw

    Japan's copy-write infringement laws are ridiculous.

  • 1

    Nessie

    This piece raises but fails to address an important question: What impact will this have on porn viewing habits?

  • -1

    cl400

    Make DVD's and such region free, cheaper and more available and people won't have to resort to downloading + the companies will still make their millions of dollars from increased sales. As far as copyright infringement goes... I think Japan is up there too. Almost every Japanese person I know owns CD's, MD's or copied Mp3's which they rented from Tsutaya,borrowed from a friend, etc.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Make DVD's and such region free, cheaper and more available and people won't have to resort to downloading + the companies will still make their millions of dollars from increased sales.

    LOL WHAT?! Making a DVD cheaper just means that someone gets their source material for the pirated media they create cheaper. It won't change things one bit. Free download will ALWAYS be taken over reduced-fee purchase. Income from sales won't increase, it will DECREASE due to the lower pricing. There isn't a huge market of people out there saying, "I'd be buying a TON of DVD's instead of downloading them for free - if they were only cheaper than they are now."

  • 0

    Willem

    "It is far from obvious that music piracy is actually hurting sales. If it doesn’t, piracy is only broadening the fanbase of an artists at no cost, and that can never be a bad thing."

  • -1

    basroil

    FadamorFeb. 07, 2013 - 05:40AM JST

    LOL WHAT?! Making a DVD cheaper just means that someone gets their source material for the pirated media they create cheaper. It won't change things one bit. Free download will ALWAYS be taken over reduced-fee purchase. Income from sales won't increase, it will DECREASE due to the lower pricing. There isn't a huge market of people out there saying, "I'd be buying a TON of DVD's instead of downloading them for free - if they were only cheaper than they are now."

    There's been about a dozen peer reviewed studies that prove you wrong, people actually want to buy, but not if a single DVD is going to cost them 3% of their monthly earnings, and 10% of their spendable money.

  • 0

    Robert Dykes

    At kent: pleas tell us what is so ridiculous about Japan copy right infringement laws. The uk and USA are even worse and more strict. Not to long ago the USA just extradited a uk citizen for downloading American copyrighted material. Many think its breaking every civil law in both countries. Their is a huge list in Europe and the USA where they have taken the even stricter copyright laws, totally bent them out of the context and have indaited people who never deserved it like the college student who had to pay 100,ooo$ for downloading 22 songs!!!! He lost his appeals trial as well.

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