The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is now actively encouraging the Japanese government to consider creating a three-strikes policy against repeat copyright violators.
A recent modification to Article 30 of Japan’s national Copyright Law now makes it illegal for Internet users to download copyrighted material without permission from copyright holders. The MPAA and other groups applauded this decision, but believe more can be done to make changes in the future.
“We know there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach to the problem; that there are cultural and practical issues requiring different approaches from one nation or region to another,” said Bob Pisano, MPAA President, during a recent conference. “But what we do feel is that the basic belief underlying all of our efforts should be the same — that individual awareness and responsibility are essential if we are to continue to make progress.”
In 2006, there was an attempt by Japanese ISPs to ban Winny P2P users, but lawmakers didn’t support the ban. Since then, there has been increased discussions between the trade groups and government, leading to expected copyright reform in 2011.
Just two years ago, after continued pressure from the MPAA and other copyright trade groups, the Japanese government started to crackdown on peer-to-peer file sharing. In the United States and many other locations, individual users only gain attention when found sharing copyrighted files — but Japan and select countries will punish all file sharers.
Winny and similar Japanese P2P networks have created layers of anonymity to protect users, but copyright groups want users revealed for punishment. Not surprisingly, this type of copyright group interaction with the government is increasing in frequency, as France, South Korea, and other nations have tested modified versions of the policy. The UK is expected to put its own version of the three-strikes rule in effect sometime in 2011.
France originally passed the law in 2009, and a secret three-strikes plan was revealed in 2010. French pirates quickly found ways to circumvent the law, but the policy to ban Internet users is expected to stay in effect.
Despite continually saying movie piracy hurts the movie studios and is robbing American workers of their jobs, the cost of movie tickets continues to climb — as movie box office totals also increase further. The use of broadband Internet and easy access to P2P networks will plague copyright groups all the way through 2011, and it won’t get any easier.