Japan's stricter copyright laws were enacted on January 1
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications released an online informational video last Monday using Kōhei Horikoshi's My Hero Academia manga. The video raises awareness of Japan's stricter copyright laws, which were enacted on January 1. It also highlights government-sanctioned filtering services for blocking illegal websites. The service is aimed at parents and guardians who seek to create "a safe online environment for youths."
The revised copyright law punishes those who knowingly download illegally uploaded or pirated manga, magazines, and academic works. The revision also bans "leech sites" that aggregate and provide hyperlinks to pirated media starting on October 1.
Previously, the copyright law only formalized punishment for downloads of illegally uploaded music and videos, as well as illegal uploads of all materials.
The revision will still allow for the downloading of a "few frames" from a manga of several dozen pages or more, or posting photographs where the manga is not the focus of the photo (for example, appearing in reflections). The revision will also not punish people who download derivative works (such as dōjin or fan fiction) or parodies.
Penalties for repeat offenders of illegal downloads will be up to two years in jail or a maximum fine of 2 million yen (about US$18,274), or both. Penalties for those operating leech sites include up to five years in jail or a maximum fine of 5 million yen (about US$45,686), or both.
Also banned will be the pasting of hyperlinks to illegal websites on anonymous message boards, or creating "leech apps."
A subcommittee of Japan's Agency of Cultural Affairs agreed on a plan in February 2019 to create comprehensive laws banning the practice of knowingly downloading all illegal media from the internet. However, that plan caused concerns as critics argued the tighter regulations would be too broad and hinder the freedom of expression of internet users. The Agency of Cultural Affairs then revealed the draft of a plan, which contained exceptions for screenshots, to a panel of experts on November 27 to discuss the proposed changes.