Online piracy is a problem for copyright holders, there's no question there. However, Japan's latest ad campaign against the illegal uploading of copyrighted materials has been causing a bit of a stir due to its apparent demonization of Japanese otaku in one of the ads.

In the 15-second ad, a detective sits in an interrogation room, talking with someone who has been arrested for illegal uploading. The culprit – an obviously stereotypical Japanese otaku – gives an excuse as to why he uploaded an anime series online. The detective leans across the table and points out that whatever good intentions the person may have had, the point remains that what he did is illegal.

The message of the ad in and of itself is fairly straightforward – uploading is illegal, don't do it. However the online response to the ad on 2ch, Japan's biggest online message board, was more negative than positive.

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"It's obviously targeted at you guys LOL." wrote one person indicating 2ch users were the main target.

"I'm not sure what it's trying to say and who it's trying to appeal to." wrote another.

"It's not just TV programs. There's copyrighted music as well. Why are they pretending it's only TV?" was another response.

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"It'd be more effective if they had an arrest scene or mentioned the fines from big corporations." one person suggested.

"I wonder how it felt to be chosen for the otaku role." another commenter added.

"This makes me empathize with the uploader. One-shot variety shows or TV specials never get re-aired and don't get DVD releases. We have the internet now, so they should offer a monthly subscription service for each channel where people can go back and watch previously aired shows." was one observation.

Note that this is only one ad out of a series – each which involves a different person being arrested – and while some of the comments were directed at this one specific ad, others were directed at the entire campaign.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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To contact the author of this post, write to cogitoergonihilATgmail.com or find him on Twitter @tnakamura8.