Japanese Police Sergeant Busted for Illegally Recording Anime

Japan cracks down on video piracy

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 16, 2012 Last Updated: December 17, 2012
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A Japanese police sergeant was recently arrested for illegally recording an anime movie in a move that will likely send a message to residents in Japan that Tokyo is able and willing to crack down hard on piracy.

The 38-year-old Fukushima Prefecture police official, who was not named, was charged on Oct. 22 for violating copyright laws, which have recently been beefed up, reported the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper. The charges were announced Thursday.

The movie in question was “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha,” which is about young girls with magical powers in typical anime fashion and heavily features Japanese pop, according to the Japan Daily Press. Apparently, this is the second time the sergeant tried to illegally copy an anime film.

This time, he attempted to record the movie with a video camera while it was playing in a theater, according to the Press. Police investigators said the sergeant tried to record the movie in three different theaters.

According to Mianichi, he recorded the film between July and August of this year in Sendai and Fukushima cities.

He was caught by staff at the Fukushima City theater while he was setting up his recording equipment. When he was questioned, he said that the recording was for his own personal use and that he had no desire to sell it.

He said he wanted to take the film “for myself,” according to the Sponichi Annex publication.

The police force said it would reduce the sergeant’s salary by 10 percent for one month.

Under the new Japanese copyright protection laws passed this year, it is forbidden to use hidden recording devices in theaters. The law also added heavy fines and prison time for people who illegally download copyrighted content.

According to a report from the BBC in September, those who download content illegally face a 2 million yen ($25,700) fine.

“This revision will reduce the spread of copyright infringement activities on the Internet,” Recording Industry Association of Japan Chairman Naoki Kitagawa was quoted by the BBC as saying. Naoki is the chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment Japan.

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