Japan passes anti-camcording law

MUMBAI: The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has praised Japan for its the adoption of a legislation that criminalises the illegal recording of films in movie theaters.

The new law – Bill to Prevent the Unauthorised Photographing of Cinematographic Works – prohibits the use of a recording device in a movie theater and enables law enforcement authorities to arrest and prosecute camcorder pirates under the country’s Copyright Law. The bill will take effect at the end of August 2007 and will provide for penalties of up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to 10 million yen or both, under Article 119 (1) of the Copyright Law, it is learnt.

In January, the Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Association – an MPAA/MPA affiliate– in partnership with the MPA of Japan, the Japan Association of Theater Owners, the Foreign Film Importer-Distributors Association of Japan, and the Japan Video Software Association – submitted to the Japanese government a statement supporting the enactment of anti-camcording legislation.

These lobbying efforts highlighted the significant impact that film piracy has not only on the US film industry, but on Japan’s film industry as well. A study undertaken by independent research firm LEK Consulting shows that motion picture piracy cost the film industry in Japan $742 million of potential revenue in 2005, of which $216 million was estimated to have been MPAA member company losses.