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Japanese anti-downloads mob sneaks warnings onto filesharing networks

Strongly worded letters of discouragement
Tue Feb 05 2013, 12:20

THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT is taking a different approach to opposing online downloading by seeding letters of discouragement onto peer to peer (P2P) networks.

The government has planted the letters onto the P2P networks in a polite attempt to steer people away from the practice of downloading copyrighted files.

People will never go onto filesharing websites to look for and download letters from the Japanese government and rightsholders, of course, so the letters are disguised as things that people might want.

This means that a Japanese person searching for some Japanese pop music might actually come away with a nagging missive about how bad they are, and how bad downloading is. Think of it like one of those letters in Harry Potter that yell at you, only this is a lot more polite.

We read about this at Torrentfreak where a translation of the notice is reproduced. "Knowingly downloading and of course uploading files over the internet that are protected by copyright law without the consent of the owner is illegal copyright infringement. Please stop immediately," it says, adding a reminder that there are possible fines and jail time involved.

However, it appears that the Japanese government prefers a softly softly approach and would rather educate its people, hence the notices.

"Our copyright organisation is working to eliminate copyright infringement by file sharing software," it said. "In addition to consulting with the police to obtain the disclosure of users' identities, we want to focus on user education."

Downloading content that is legally for sale in Japan can incur a maximum two year prison sentence and/or a ¥2m or £14,000 fine. µ


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