Japan limits scope for illegal downloads of copyrighted work
Japan Today -- Nov 29
A government panel has approved a plan to limit the scope for what constitutes illegal downloads of all copyrighted works -- including manga, computer games and literary writings -- reversing its initial plan to restrict wide-ranging online actions.

The Cultural Affairs Agency panel said a future amendment to the copyright law would not apply to partial downloads of copyrighted works, such as a few frames from a comic book, or a screenshot of a copyrighted image.

The government has called for broadening the scope of illegal downloads, currently restricted to videos and music, to all copyrighted materials. It wants to punish serious offenders as losses to copyright holders, caused by piracy, have been on the rise.

But the panel's plan presented earlier this year stirred concerns, with critics saying actions subjected to tighter controls were too broad, and that a harsh crackdown might lead to restraints on internet users and hinder their freedom of expression.

Some members of the panel also suggested images, such as those containing text, are sometimes collected as part of intellectual activities. They also said it is difficult to discern between legal and illegal content available online.

The panel had hoped to have a bill ready to submit to the Diet by March, but it was delayed following backlash to the original proposal.

News source: Japan Today
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