Police Arrest Man in Japan for Uploading Pirated Films

The alleged uploader faces up to 10 years in jail and fines up to $122,000.

TOKYO – Officers from the Computer Crimes Control Center of the Metropolitan Police Department and Tokyo’s Kojimachi Police Station arrested a man Tuesday suspected of uploading at least 40 pirated films to Nico Nico Douga, one of Japan’s biggest video sharing sites.

The 35-year-old man from Kochi Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku, has admitted uploading content illegally, according to police. 

The Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Association, Inc. (JIMCA) had been tracking the man’s online activities since the summer of last year, and identified him in December.

The man - who used the online user name “Bell” – faces up to 10 years' imprisonment and fines of up to 10 million yen ($122,000).

“We commend the officers from the Metropolitan Police Department for tracking down this suspect…Such efforts are crucial toward thwarting online content theft in Japan, and represent important steps toward protecting the rights and livelihood of the film community in this country,” said Mike Ellis, head of Asia-Pacific for the Motion Picture Association in a statement.

Nico Nico Douga (which translates as "smile videos") was founded by Hiroyuki Nishimura, one of The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen Asia class of 2009, and has nearly 20 million registered users.

The site does carry some licensed anime but has run into problems over unauthorized content in the past and came to an arrangement in 2007, along with YouTube, to pay royalties to JASRAC, the Japanese copyright holder’s organization.