Japan's Piracy Crackdown Heats Up the Summer

Illustration for article titled Japans Piracy Crackdown Heats Up the Summer
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Sansai Books, the Japanese publisher known for mags Game Lab and Radio Life, is in hot water. Last December, Sansai released a publication called Totally Easy to Understand DVD Copying 2012, which included a detailed how-to and ripping software.

That didn't go over well with Japan's cyber police. At all.

This week, authorities arrested four Sansai employees—including exec Yoshiaki Kaizuka—for violating Japan's Unfair Competition Prevention Law. The law was revised last month to add penalties for selling software or devices that enable the ripping of copyrighted material, such as movies, music, and video games. The distribution of such devices and software violates Japanese law—and, thus, by default enables piracy.


Late last year, several industry groups repeatedly warned Sansai about selling the publication. However, Sansai continued to offer the magazine (and ripping software) via its website well into 2012.

"I knew this was illegal," Kaizuka is quoted as saying. "I sold it for company profits."

Totally Easy to Understand DVD Copying 2012 sold approximately 4,000 copies, totaling ¥4 million (US$50,600) in proceeds.

This isn't an isolated crackdown as Japanese police are moving swiftly against individuals selling ripping software and piracy devices. Yesterday, Japanese news reported that the manager of an Osaka game shop was arrested—the first arrest of its kind—for selling R4 devices. Earlier this month, police also arrested a 19 year-old college student for posting Wii homebrew software online.


For several years now, Japanese cyber cops have been battling digital piracy. Now that the country's Unfair Competition Prevention Law has been strengthened, it now has the necessary legal backing to arrest individuals. And that it will.


DVDコピー解除ソフト販売 容疑の出版社役員ら逮捕 [Nikkei]

DVDの違法複製ソフト販売容疑=出版社常務らを逮捕-警視庁 [Jiji]

『ゲームラボ』『ラジオライフ』で知られる三才ブックスの役員らが逮捕 [Get News]

(Top photo: dsy88 | Shutterstock/Sansai Books)

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I was not a fan of this story until the exec Kaizuka said that he knew it was illegal and he just did it for profits. If that's true, then screw this guy. The proper thing is to point out how crazy it is to be arrested for posting information and tools like this. If they're posting pirated copies of stuff and charging for it, then charge them, but if they're just posting information and tools, it shouldn't need a police crackdown.

Regardless, him saying he knew it was illegal and he just did it for profits makes me think this guy is probably just scum. There are legitimate concerns with Japan's current crackdown going too far, but if there is anyone who actually deserves to be cracked down on, this guy appears to fit the bill.