In Japan today, a new law was passed as a way to put a stop to illegal file sharing. Anti-piracy laws have been part of most countries legislation for a while now, but this new law states that anyone if someone is caught illegally file sharing copyrighted material, they could be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison.
In a recent study by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, illegal downloads eclipse official, legal downloads 10 to 1! Combined with the download market shrinking by 16% this past year, something had to be done. There was already a law in place that sentences uploaders of illegal content 10 years in prison and a $128,300 fine and the Recording Industry Association of Japan created a system that stops illegal uploads before the reach the Internet, but now the government looks to punish the downloaders as well.
The punishment for illegally downloading a file in Japan is 2 years in prison and a $25,680 fine.
It is fairly simple for the Japanese government to track down the illegal download, but there are some difficulties with actually proving that the user actually downloaded the file illegally. Japanese citizens are skittish now to even look at an infringing YouTube video, fearing grave punishment.
Question, Question, Question:
Do you think this law is too harsh or is it a step in the right direction to stopping illegal downloads?