Avast, otaku, for the Japanese government is stepping up its piracy countermeasures.
At any given moment, a huge number of anime fans around the globe are searching the Internet for pirated videos of the newest and most popular series. Only one of them, though, is going to be getting paid to do so by the Japanese government.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry is about to add a new element to its anti-piracy tactics. Up until now, the organization has searched for illegal uploads of copyrighted material through automated means, but such methods are proving less and less effective in stopping the flow of unauthorized content. With slight alterations made to the original videos, pirated versions can slip through the ministry’s computer-administered filters, and so its members have decided a more human touch is called for.
Starting next week, the ministry will be employing a specialist to personally search video-streaming and download sites for unlicensed, copyrighted material and determine whether or not its presence constitutes economic damage to the rights holders. In the event that the pirated videos are judged to be harmful, the ministry will then explore what avenues of legal action are available.
While the new countermeasure covers both animated and live-action content, given the far greater international exposure, and thus piracy levels, of anime compared to Japanese movies and TV dramas, it seems likely that the majority of the pirate hunter’s work will involve protecting the economic interests of animation studios and publishers.
Initially only a single such specialist will be employed, and the individual selected is reportedly someone knowledgeable about anime, movies, and how to find illegal videos. No word has been given on whether or not he has to stop watching as soon as he can confirm a copyright infringement, or if he’s allowed to at least keep going until the end of the episode to see how the story turns out.