MPA ally in Japan backs anti-P2P campaign

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TOKYO -- The Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Assn., ally of the MPA here, is backing a government campaign to stamp out illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing by distributing a booklet outlining the potential hazards.

The booklets -- titled "Illegal File-sharing: The Risks Aren't Worth It" -- were first handed out at an annual anti-piracy event this month in Osaka.

The association plans to give away thousands of the booklets, which warn that peer-to-peer file-sharing services expose computers to viruses, worms, Trojan horse intrusions and pop-up images and can lead to data being lost and identity theft.

"In Japan, this type of piracy is much less of a problem among young people than among middle-aged workers who use peer-to-peer systems on their office computers," said Roberto De Vido, a spokesman for the MPA in Japan.

"The government is trying to educate organizations and companies about the dangers, such as the loss of confidential data, and they were sufficiently concerned about the problem for the prime minister's office to issue a special warning last year," he said.

One of the biggest culprits in Japan has been the so-called Winny file-sharing program. Only this week, the system was blamed for the leak of 9,000 classified police documents about ongoing investigations in Tokyo, including 1,000 images.

Similar data leaks have been reported at hospitals, local authorities and private companies across the country.

"There is a very real danger that, unless people begin thinking meaningfully about the consequences of wholesale copyright theft, the future will be much less bright for the next generation of creators," said Mike Ellis, senior vp and regional director for Asia-Pacific for the MPA.

"Since many P2P applications require users to upload -- often invisibly -- content at the same time they are downloading, they may be exposing themselves and their employers to criminal liability," he added.

MPA estimates show that, of the $6.1 billion in potential studio revenue lost to pirated films in 2005, the Asia-Pacific region ranked as the second-worst offender at $1.2 billion. The U.S. topped the list with a tally of $1.3 billion.
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