File sharing in Japan

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File sharing in Japan is notable for both its size and sophistication.[1]

The Recording Industry Association of Japan claims illegal downloads outnumber legal ones 10:1.[2]

The sophistication of Japan's filesharing is due to the sophistication of Japanese anti-filesharing. Unlike most other countries, filesharing copyrighted content is not just a civil offense, but a criminal one, with penalties of up to ten years for uploading and penalties of up to two years for downloading.[2] There is also a high level of Internet service provider cooperation.[3] This makes for a situation where file sharing as practiced in many other countries is quite dangerous.

To counter, Japanese file sharers employ anonymization networks with clients such as Perfect Dark (パーフェクトダーク) and Winny.

Legal history[edit]


In 2009 the copyright law was amended to specifically single out the uploading of copyrighted material for special penalties of up to ten years in prison.[4]


In 2010 the copyright law was amended to criminalize downloading copyrighted material.[1]


In 2012 the criminal penalties for downloading material were strengthened. The maximum penalty was set as 2 years in prison and a two million yen fine.[5]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]