Japan has implemented a new anti-piracy law against illegal file sharing by Internet users who could face up to two year imprisonment or a maximum fine of JPY2m ($25,700).
The implementation of new law follows a lobbying movement by Japan’s music industry in a bid to control piracy, which has been prohibited since 2010, but it did not attract penalties.
Prior to the implementation of new law, illegal uploads of copyright violating music and videos fetched a ten year imprisonment and a fine of about JPY10m.
When the new law was approved in June 2012, websites of the country’s finance ministry, the Supreme Court and other public offices were defaced in protest against the new law.
The Recording Industry Association of Japan had encouraged the new law as downloads of illegal media were more than legal downloads by about a factor of 10.
According to a 2010 report, Japanese citizens downloaded about 4.36 billion unlawfully pirated music and video files and 440 million paid for in 2010.
Japan’s move follows the US tighten up on Megaupload and the arrest of members responsible for the Pirate Bay torrent service.