July 2, 2022

suspended prison sentence for showing film clips

Japanese justice has just sentenced three people to suspended prison terms and fines. The three defendants were accused of having downloaded and broadcast on YouTube “fast movies”, shortened versions of films accompanied by comments that reveal the whole plot.

Credit: Unsplash

YouTube has made the fight against copyright infringement a priority on its platform. Since March 2021 for example, YouTube can deactivate the monetization of a video before publication if a copyright infringement is detected. With the same aim of protecting the rights holders as much as possible, YouTube tracks and blocks all videos relating to pirating of films or software, but also to cheating in video games, for example.

Only the YouTube teams are not omniscient and sometimes it is up to justice to take sanctions against users who violate copyright. Indeed, the Japanese authorities have just sentenced three people to suspended prison terms and fines. They were found guilty of having download and distribute “fast movies” on the platform.

It is shortened versions of films of ten minutes or less, which are accompanied by commentaries that reveal the whole plot. This type of format is enjoying tremendous success in Japan, with dedicated YouTube channels accumulating millions of views. Very quickly, rights holders saw these channels as a major threat to the film industry.

Also read: YouTube has removed 83 million videos and 7 billion comments in 3 years

Japanese justice wants to make an example

Fast movies are clearly a copyright infringement and a serious crime beyond the scope of legally permitted citation, no matter how minor any act may seem. Fast movies including spoilers would discourage viewers from watching the original movies and therefore have a serious negative effect on rights holders ”, explains the anti-piracy group CODA to our colleagues at TorrentFreak.

According to the judgment, the three defendants uploaded five fast movies to YouTube between June and July 2021. Of course, they are accused of having violated the copyright of the distribution company of each feature film. The trio pleaded guilty.

Kenya Takase, 25, considered the creator of his fast movie channels, was fined four years in prison and a fine of two million yen (i.e. 15 438 €). His two accomplices received a three-year suspended prison sentence. The CODA association believes that the judgment is fair and hopes that it will constitute a dissuasive message for people who plan to download “fast movies” on platforms like YouTube.