Japan's New Fine for Illegal Downloads: 2 Years in Jail

New penalties take effect today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2012 8:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Japan is really cracking down on online piracy: As of today, anyone who possesses illegally downloaded music or movies could go to prison for as long as two years, CNN reports. They also face fines of nearly $26,000. Possessing content that infringes on copyright laws has been illegal in the country since 2010, but the penalties take effect today after politicians voted in favor of them in June. Those who upload music and videos illegally face even stiffer penalties, the BBC reports: up to 10 years in prison and more than $128,000 in fines.

Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, after the US, but industry officials believe just one in 10 downloads are purchased legally. The country's music industry lobbied for the new law, and needless to say, it's been quite controversial: Opponents have carried out cyberattacks and staged protests, and a Japanese group of legal professionals stated that such offenses should have remained civil, not criminal. (Read more illegal downloading stories.)

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