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How on earth is this a criminal offense? Copyright law should never, ever be that powerful.

In japan they are. People have gone to jail for double digit years and have been ordered to pay millions of yens in damages for file sharing. From wikipedia straight:

>Unlike most other countries, filesharing copyrighted content is not just a civil offense, but a criminal one, with penalties of up to ten years for uploading and penalties of up to two years for downloading.

I've done my fair share of trying to get vintage animation via Winny some 10-12 years ago. At one time a Galaxy Express 999 uploader just disappeared. Later on there were reports of his trial, sentenced to jail for uploading videos of cartoons that aired between 1978-81. That is, 25 years ago at the time of the events.

Also see Nintendo's case against M2 and R3 card manufacturers that are now basically illegal in the country. You could be stopped by police on the street and retained if they saw you with a Nintendo DS and a non-standard game cartridge.

How long has it been crazy like this?

About 20 years, as far as I can tell. There is also a high level of Internet service provider cooperation. http://www.zdnet.com/article/japans-isps-agree-to-ban-p2p-pi...

Japanese copyright laws are backwards, even more so than in the US.

Things are far too out of hand, my friend.

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