Japanese warned of illegal file sharing risks

MUMBAI: The Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Association (JIMCA), which represents the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in Japan, distributed copies of an MPA-developed booklet outlining the dangers of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing to citizens attending an anti-piracy event organized by the country’s Anti-Counterfeiting Association in Osaka.

The booklets, titled “Illegal File-Sharing: The Risks Aren’t Worth It,” were developed by the MPA to warn people that users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing services risk exposing their computers to harmful viruses, worms, Trojan horses and annoying pop-ups, and risk data loss and identity theft.

The booklets note that since many P2P applications require users to upload – often invisibly – content at the same time they are downloading, users may be exposing themselves to criminal liability as well. Over the past few years, Japan has seen a number of high-profile leaks from government and corporate computer networks due to inadvertent uploading of confidential data by P2P network users.

The “Illegal File-Sharing: The Risks Aren’t Worth It” booklets were distributed in Osaka at the Anti-Counterfeiting Association’s annual “Don’t Sell and Don’t Buy!” anti-piracy campaign, attended by thousands of Osaka residents. The booklets will be distributed more widely across the country beginning in August.

The US Supreme Court and other judicial bodies around the world have ruled that P2P service providers can be held liable for illegal file sharing over their networks, and it has been estimated that the majority of traffic on P2P networks worldwide illegally infringes the copyrights of movie, music and software businesses.

“There is a very real danger that unless people begin thinking meaningfully about the consequences of wholesale copyright theft, the future will be much less bright for the next generation of creators. Since many P2P applications require users to upload – often invisibly – content at the same time they are downloading, they may be exposing themselves and their employers to criminal liability,” said Motion Picture Association senior vice president and regional director, Asia-Pacific Mike Ellis.