Japan tightens copyright law

Downloading pirated material made illegal

TOKYO — Japan’s upper house has unanimously approved a revision to the Copyright Law making downloading of pirated content illegal. The revision will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Uploading of pirated music and video content is already proscribed, but downloading has been tolerated as long as it is for personal use.

Legislators have prescribed no penalties for illegal downloads, counting on a strong cultural aversion against lawbreaking to keep netizens in line.

Illegal uploading of video content, particularly toons, is rampant at Japanese file-sharing and other sites, however, leading to large losses for Japanese toonmakers.

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