The Birth of a Criminal

It is a great week for lawyers in Japan. The Worlds second largest market for music is hungry for more and has figured it is a good idea to expand on their initial plan that made piracy illegal in 2010. Instead of this issue remaining a civil matter, it now turns everyone that downloads or uploads illegal copyrighted content (which is apparently a shit load of people) into criminals that could potentially face up to 10 years in prison with a 10 Million Yen fine. Pretty classy stuff. A study in 2010 revealed that the laudable music loving people of Japan illegally pirated about 4.36 BILLION music and video files, while ONLY legally purchasing around 440 million. It seems like they are trying to shut down a pretty damn good potential market here. But will it work?

This is history repeating itself. (Prohibition of Alcohol, Marijuana etc…) People demand their freedom, but it is shut down by a few corporate interests (who in this case happen to be record companies falling apart like a cheap suit grasping at anything they can to save themselves). However will these legal threats actually do anything? Will they actually save the music industry? No. Because the music industry they are trying to save exists only in the old stubborn “in denial” minds of these record companies. Here is a neat quote from Naoki Kitagawa, Cheif Executive of Sony Music Entertainment Japan on the new laws:

“This revision will reduce the spread of copyright infringement activities on the internet.”

I highly doubt that. It might scare a few people but not for long. All this does is take innocent people, turn them into criminals, and then punish them. It does not stop the activity. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) one in four internet users around the globe regularly access unlicensed services. Looks like Japan might need to invest in some extra prison cells.

The music industry is slowly progressing towards a universe where record companies are not needed. They know this but refuse to acknowledge it and are waging war on the freedom of information that they can not control anymore. I think they are so pissed off they are literally trying to drag everyone down with them. Unfortunately they are letting themselves dissolve through focusing their efforts in the wrong ways. Forget about piracy, you won’t get rid of it, you wont stop it, you will only promote it.

Every time there is an article in the media about the pirate bay, or bit torrent, or some other file sharing/torrent hosting service, the traffic on the websites significantly increase. It’s like a sore tooth: stop poking at it cause it will just get worse.

At the end of the day all this will do is screw over a few Japanese citizens that have an apparent love for music (remember 4.36 billion illegal downloads) and wont benefit record companies, artists, fans, or anyone else for that matter that isn’t a lawyer. What a waste of time.

Phillip Richard

Additional links:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/10/01/162096387/japan-introduces-stiff-fines-jail-time-for-illegal-downloads

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19767970

http://torrentfreak.com/japanese-bittorrent-user-avoids-virus-but-not-the-police-100720/