06 Feb 2013

Japan Stuffs Anti-Piracy Messages Inside Fake Torrent Files

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications along with movie and music local industry launched Operation Decoy File in an attempt to educate computer users about piracy online and protect copyrighted content.

Apparently this initiative is designed to back up Japan’s anti-piracy legislation updated in October 2012 that was perceived by citizens mostly as abusive, intrusive and aimed at curbing Internet freedom.

Instead of using the conventional media information campaigns on radio or TV, the Japanese government turned to the source and decided to place anti-piracy warnings inside fake downloadable files on various file-sharing and torrent websites.

The fake files carrying warnings will mimic music or film files that could be of interest to computer users who never pay for them. When someone downloads these from a P2P network and opens them, the following message will be displayed, as reported by Torrent Freak:

 “A Warning from the Organization to Raise Awareness of Copyright

Files with the same name as this contain content which is in violation of copyright when distributed over P2P networks such as Winny or Share.

Knowingly downloading and of course uploading files over the Internet that are protected by copyright law without the consent of the owner is illegal copyright infringement. Please stop immediately.

Also, from 1 October 2012, downloading content which is known to be available for sale is punishable by a maximum 2-year prison sentence and/or 2,000,000 yen [US$21,000] fine.

Our copyright organization is working to eliminate copyright infringement by file sharing software. In addition to consulting with the police to obtain the disclosure of users’ identities, we want to focus on user education.”

While some may find this annoying, it certainly aims and reaches its targets directly. Only time will tell how efficient this sort of campaign is and whether people will be discouraged from downloading  pirated content.