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Illegal Downloaders Face Two Years in Prison in Japan

Japanese internet users who download copyright infringing files now face up to two years in prison or fines up to two million yen (£15,900) after a recent change in law.

Digital piracy has been illegal in Japan since 2010, but until now it has held no penalties, the change follows a group campaign by Japan’s Music Industry.

Critics of the change in law have said the efforts should have been focussed on stopping such material being made available rather than the resulting penalties. Users who upload copyright infringing material face a maximum 10 year prison sentence and a 10 million yen fine.

Japan’s sales figures suggest the country is the world’s second largest music market after the US. The Recording Industry Association of Japan had pushed for the move, suggesting that illegal media downloads outnumbered legal ones by about a factor of 10.

The association’s chairman Naoki Kitagawa, who is also chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment Japan said "This revision will reduce the spread of copyright infringement activities on the internet.”

BBC News