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Japan arrests pirates

Websites streamed TV shows to overseas audiences

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police High-Tech Crime Center and police in Tokyo’s Harajuku district have arrested three individuals for violating Japan’s Copyright Law by transmitting domestic TV programs to Japanese living abroad, the Center announced on Friday.

The police alleged that Tatsuya Kodama and his unidentified girlfriend began offering Japanese TV programs on his NipponTV website in April 2005. In March 2007 Masayuki Moriya did the same on the JapanTV site.

The trigger for the bust were two children’s programs the suspects offered on a pay basis to subscribers from June to September of this year without permission from rights holders.

The sites were sending the shows of pubcasters NHK and the five commercial networks to Japanese living in the U.S. and elsewhere with a 10-second delay after the real-time broadcasts. The two sites were using separate servers but would back each other up in case one server broke down.

Kodama’s earnings from his site amounted to $35,800 from January to October, while Moriya’s totaled $18,520 in the same period, according to the police.

Moriya has denied any wrongdoing, saying that he was “introducing Japanese culture abroad,” while Kodama and his girlfriend have reportedly admitted to piracy, according to police.

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