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Japan introduces harsh punishments for music file-sharing

Both uploaders and downloaders could face fines and prison time

After Japan’s music downloading market took a nosedive, shrinking by 16 percent in 2011, the country has decided to take drastic measures. As of Monday, it has instituted a law that punishes not only music uploaders, but downloaders as well with hefty fines and even prison time.

Illegal uploading of copyrighted music could cost the perpetrator 10 million yen, or $127,959, with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. The price for downloading is not as steep, but still more than enough to give one pause before stealing the latest Taylor Swift single: $25,700 fines or up to two years in prison.

CNN reports that the Japanese music industry is hoping to see the same success enjoyed by South Korea, which began cracking down on piracy in 2007. Since then, its global download market has risen from 23rd to 11th.

But while Japanese musicians and record labels might be happy about the development, some Japanese lawyers are less than thrilled, according to the BBC. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations released a statement saying it felt downloading should have remained a civil, not criminal issue.

"Treating personal activities with criminal punishments must be done very cautiously, and the property damage caused by individual illegal downloads by private individuals is highly insignificant," the statement reads.

 

Read more InsideCounsel stories about illegal downloading:

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