February 1, 2018
Japanese Society for Rights of Authors,
Composers and Publishers
Simultaneous and Intensive Crackdown on Chinese Group "Kankagumi" under Copyright Act
An investigation of a copyright infringement case in which Japanese cartoons, anime, games, music, and other types of content were translated, subtitled, and uploaded to the Internet without authorization from the respective copyright holders was conducted, with members of the Anti-Counterfeiting Association (ACA) cooperating in the investigation. During the crackdown operation, launched on January 30, 2018, nine prefectural police organizations: Kanagawa Prefectural Police, Shizuoka Prefectural Police, Ishikawa Prefectural Police, Gifu Prefectural Police, Mie Prefectural Police, Shiga Prefectural Police, Kyoto Prefectural Police, Shimane Prefectural Police, and Yamaguchi Prefectural Police searched nine locations and uncovered five members and associates of the Kankagumi* (as of January 31, 2018).
The translation, reproduction, or Internet upload of works without authorization of the copyright holders and without legal grounds for exception is an act of infringement of copyright, etc.: the penalty is imprisonment with labor for not more than 10 years or a fine not exceeding 10 million yen. A criminal penalty may be imposed on both of these punishments as well. In addition to a criminal penalty, claims in a civil suit, such as damage claims and deletion of files, may also be demanded.
Japanese content that is also popular outside of Japan is one of the drivers that are essential for future economic growth of Japan. The attractiveness of such content, generated from its originality and creativity, has the potential for increasing domestic consumption by foreign tourists visiting Japan, as well as for expanding business in and outside Japan. If an act of copyright infringement is widespread, the economic and cultural development of Japan may be affected, and the promotion of Japanese content may be hindered.
While closely cooperating with the relevant government ministries and agencies, including the National Police Agency and prefectural police, the ACA will continue to promote activities toward eliminating infringing products and protecting intellectual property.
*Kankagumi is considered a fluid organization consisting of volunteers on the Internet. The group is suspected of having translated Japanese cartoons, anime, games, magazines, music, etc. and distributing them to China.
JASRAC-International Relations Department: