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News Releases

July 16, 2014
Japanese Society for Rights of Authors,
Composers and Publishers (JASRAC)
Dwango User Entertainment, Inc. (DUE)

Website “Nico☆Sound#” operator allowing Niconico Douga videos to be
converted into MP3 files for downloading convicted in court

The Sapporo District Court today handed down a sentence of three years (suspension of 4 years) and a fine of 5 million JPY against the operator of the website “Nico☆Sound#.” The legal action taken by JASRAC and DUE led to the man (30 years old) being arrested by the Cybercrime Division of Hokkaido Prefectural Police Headquarters and the Teine Police Station on May 8, 2014, and was charged by the Sapporo District Prosecutors’ Office on May 28, 2014.

Through the website in question, videos posted on Niconico Douga, a video-sharing website, were converted into MP3 files and distributed as downloads or streams. The website in question allowed users to convert and download the files easily by just typing in the URL of the Niconico Douga webpage showing the posted videos. Illegal music distribution was being conducted on a large scale, where approximately 1,500 files were being shared per day and the number of users exceeded 200,000.

According to the police investigation, it was confirmed that the operator of the website in question earned roughly 130 million JPY through a major advertisement service that placed ads on the site in question, while the site was available to users for free. It is likely that the judge handed down the harsh sentence because these actions were found to be particularly malicious.

This marks the first time that illegal music distribution through a parasitic website (*) has resulted in the website’s operator being convicted for violating copyright law.

In recent years, “reach sites” and other parasitic websites, which have become a big issue due to the prevalent illegal distribution of copyright works, are very often set up for the purpose of obtaining advertising revenue. Posting advertisements on such illegal sites results in a large amount of advertising revenue for those sites.

JASRAC and DUE expect this case to be regarded as a warning against illegal music distribution, and will help develop legitimate music distribution businesses.

(*) parasitic websites: websites which show contents obtained from third-party websites by linking to or downloading such contents, that are set up mainly for the purpose of earning advertising revenue.


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