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Japan's New Copyright Laws: Up To 2 Years Prison For Watching YouTube

Posted by: , 16:41 AEST, Tue June 26, 2012

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Japan's new harsh copyright laws could see people go to prison for 2 years for simply watching the wrong YouTube video
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The Japanese legislature, the Diet, has passed controversial new copyright laws that threatens to send those watching the wrong YouTube videos to prison.

The amendments, passed with an overwhelming majority, adds criminal charges to downloaders of pirated content. Previously, only uploaders faced criminal charges in the home country of Sony, a stauch crusader for tougher copyright laws around the world.

Personal backups of DVDs have also been criminalized, along with any software or hardware that assists in the ripping of copy protected content. 

But most controversially, any Internet users caught intentionally downloading pirated content will face fines of up to two million yen (USD $25,000), and up to 2 years in prison. 

And as streaming players like YouTube also download portions of the video to the user's computer as part of the caching process, users could face harsh penalties for simply watching the wrong online videos.

Out of the 233 Diet members who voted, only 12 were opposed to these new changes. Among them was Upper House member Yuko Mori. "We shouldn’t risk making the general public — including youths — the subject of criminal investigations," Mori told the Japan Times.

These new changes come into effect on October 1st.


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