A minor in Hioki, Kagoshima was recently arrested on suspicion of uploading and storing three episodes of Kamen Rider OOO (episodes 10-12) on the online storage service BB Quest without the copyright holder’s permission.
According to the Association of Copyright for Computer Software, the suspect allegedly archived these episodes between November 22nd and December 2nd of last year. (For reference purposes, these episodes included the debuts of the Toridevender and th SaGoZo combo)
There were similar arrests for three other suspected minors, including: a minor in Sapporo who allegedly uploaded three episodes of Crayon Shin-chan (ep. 539, 711, and 719) around November 27th of last year, a minor in Toyokawa who allegedly archived ep.22-24 of Lucky Start around February 10th of this year, and a minor in Fukuyama who allegedly archived ep.23-25 of Hayate the Combat Butler!! on January 10th of this year.
And my only response to this is: What the F**k, man? Let me say that I completely understand the need companies feel to protect their copyrighted material. I agree that they should have some level of control over that material. But this is copyright law overstepping its boundaries. These are three minors that simply archived digital copies of episodes of their favorite shows on a digital storage site. I don’t know if they intended to really do anything with those episodes, but I’m sure that they wouldn’t have done anything that could be considered over-the-line with this material. I mean really, what was the point in having an official police investigation into this. There are certain understood boundaries that people are supposed to respect in regards to copyrights, and this time the companies involved have crossed the line. You know, when exactly did copyright laws get so restrictive in Japan? What on Earth gives these companies the right to prosecute people for this? Once again, I respect copyright laws, but this take it one step too far. Now, I could understand if someone was doing this, and then turning around and profiting from this material somehow (possibly by charging people for downloads), but these were four kids that uploaded three episodes each, and from four completely unrelated series. I don’t see these kids as internet pirates, and I seriously hope that they don’t get charged with anything so severe as piracy. This is just too much too far.
And what’s worse, at least from my perspective, is that there are legislators in the US that want to enact similar internet copyright laws. A website like mine could be blacklisted for copyright infringement, and in some extreme cases I could be fined or arrested (ok, that law was completely rejected because of overwhelming objection to it, but the Protect IP bill is still being considered, and I face being “Blacklisted”, as well as any other website that has “copyrighted material” featured on it). My basic point here is that we just can’t let the corporations have the final say in all of this, no matter what country this takes place in. They are going to do whatever they think is going to be most profitable, even if it means stepping on other people’s rights to do it. And to think otherwise would be fantasy. We have to step up, we have to say that this is a form of injustice, and we have to demand from our governments that laws of this nature cannot be allowed, cannot be enacted or enforced. It only hurts people who no real harm, while those who commit the worst offences get away with it.
I know you don’t want to hear some big, politically charged rant, and I apologize to my regular visitors who have to sit through this, but some issues just get me going. Especially ones that are this important to me and the survival of my blog. Call me crazy, but I’d rather be sued for everything I’m worth than go to jail.
-M.C., the slightly-ticked-off Quantum Twin