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Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs Challenged for Alleged Unfair Reporting for Stricter Anti-Downloading Copyright Policy
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INDUSTRY NEWS
Japan, seeking to keep with the challenges that digital reproduction makes for copyright infringement prevention, has been aiming to bring the law more to bear on downloaders of pirated materials online. This comes in the wake of the Mangamura manga comic piracy hotbed debate, and controversy continues.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs published a report on February 13, 2019, purporting to give reasons for expanding the definition of illegal copying to include private-use downloading in the Japan Copyright Act. This could open up repeat downloaders of pirated material to criminal charges. The committee of the Agency in charge of the proposal argued that based on the example of nations like France and Germany, this was appropriate to do. It also offered “views” of experts in support of the stricter policies in a handout.
What opponents pointed out was that the handout expanded and mishandled the opinions of those in favor (or somewhat in favor) of the expanded restrictions on downloads to make the opinions appear widely in favor of the expansions, when in fact this was not the case. Yuka Okada points out that the critics at Meiji University (Tokyo/Kawasaki), actively challenging the Agency’s report, disagrees with the committee position that individuals who download illegally copied materials should be punished. Instead, they would argue that freedom and creativity are being attacked by the proposed changes.
Now, as of March 14, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party withdrew its plans to present the results of the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ committee meeting for approval by the Diet. The backlash by artists and other critics proved too much. Japanese citizens will need to press on to find a solution to the widespread use of pirated materials online.
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AbemaTIMES, “違法ダウンロード対象拡大で賛成意見“水増し”か「大学なら研究不正にあたる」 [Have favorable views been inflated for the expansion of definition of illegal downloading? ‘This would be research misconduct in a university’],” March 4, 2019.
Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, 文化審議会著作権分科会報告書handout, not dated.
Nikkei Shimbun, “ダウンロード規制見送り 著作権法改正案提出せず [Holding off on download restrictions, failing to submit proposed revision to Copyright Act],” March 13, 2019.
Nishinaka, Yuki, “弁護士ら90人が緊急声明、ダウンロード違法化の対象見直しへ反論 [90 lawyers issue urgent statement opposing the revision of downloading actions considered illegal],” CNET Japan, February 20, 2019.
Okada, Yuka, “ダウンロード違法化拡大”文化庁資料に「大きな問題」「賛成派の人数水増し」 知財法専門家ら指摘 [IP experts point out ‘grave problems’ and ‘inflating numbers of those in favor’ in Agency for Cultural Affairs’ paper on ‘expansion of definition of illegal downloading’],” ITmedia, March 4, 2019.
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