Category Archives: Movies

Criminalization of Illegal Downloading in Japan

There has been surprisingly little fanfare to welcome the new “criminalization of illegal downloading” laws that came into effect in Japan today (October 1, 2012). I thought I would share some of what I have learned about this law.

First of all, what is being criminalized is illegal downloading of copyrighted material (regardless of whether it is for personal use or not) that is obtained through public transmission. Offenders face up to two years in prison or fines of up to two million yen.

Merely watching or streaming illegally uploaded copyrighted material does not come under this law.

The illegal downloading of copyrighted material is considered an “offense prosecutable upon a complaint” (親告罪), which means that people cannot be prosecuted unless the copyright holder lodges a complaint.

The law is very clear that there has to be copying of sound or video involved, so merely watching YouTube content (even if it has been illegally uploaded) is not prosecutable. [Note from Shaney: However, I believe downloading the illegally uploaded YouTube content would fall under this law, and therefore be a criminal offense, as long as it could be proven that the person who downloaded it knew that it was copyrighted work.]

If your friend sends you an illegal copy of a file by email and you download the file, this is not a criminal offense or illegal. Downloading a file from your email is not considered “public transmission”, so it is not within the range of this law. However, if you send an email with (copyrighted) music or video to anyone other than another person in your household [not sure how this is defined], then that is “illegal in principle”.

Copying and pasting image and text files for personal use is not punishable. This law is concerned with illegal downloading of sound and video files, not image and text files.

In order to prevent this law from unnecessarily restricting people’s use of the internet, the following conditions apply.

  1. The act must have been “on purpose”. If the person does not realize that (1) it is a copyrighted work and (2) it came from a public transmission that infringes on the copyright, then the person cannot be prosecuted. [Note from Shaney: I think this just means that they can inform you of this fact the first time you are caught and if you do it again, you will be considered to have done it knowingly and on purpose.]
  2. A person cannot be sued unless there has been a specific complaint lodged against his/her acts.
  3. The government and claimants must consider ways to ensure that the application of this law doesn’t unnecessarily restrict people’s use of the internet.
  4. Claimants must issue warnings first before they attempt to sue an infringer.

Please note that my above interpretations are based on my reading of the source files below. Please “read at your own risk” and double check before you base any legal decision on them, as I could very well have made a mistake or misinterpreted meanings!




More info:



Sex and the City 2

Wow. That was not a good movie. Here’s why.

1. It was horrifically disrespectful to Muslims and religious people anywhere. You may not believe the same things that other people believe, but you have to respect their beliefs and their culture, especially when you are in their country. The scene with Samantha in the market was shocking, wrong, and upsetting on so many levels.

2. It had no discernible plot other than “can Carrie and Big make it through another two hours without breaking up?”

3. If you break the law in a foreign country, you are likely to suffer a fate worse than being pitched out of your $20,000 per night hotel room.

4. I wonder how much money the film made on marketing clothes and shoes alone?

5. Muslim women do not look up to vapid New York fashionistas as their saviours.

6. Did you notice how they were CONSTANTLY eating?

7. I don’t even need to ask if you noticed the unbelievably shocking make-up on all the girls. Why didn’t anyone say anything before this film was released?

8. What exactly were they trying to say about marriage, and children, and singleness? Or Islam? Or traditions? Or gay marriage? Or Danish architects?

9. Liza, Penelope, Miley. Whatever. (No, I take that back. Liza was fabulous. She’s had my heart ever since she played Lucille 2 in Arrested Development.)

10. If you get a flat screen TV as a present, the correct answer is “thank you”, not “jewellery would have been nice”.

Stranger than Fiction

Stranger than Fiction
I haven’t posted any movie reviews here lately because nothing that I have seen of late has been good enough to warrant writing about. Since I last wrote about movies — which, looking back, seems to have been in August of last year — I have seen some bad movies and some not bad movies. But nothing has been either bad enough to make me feel like I need to warn people away, or good enough to send me into evangelical mode.

Today, I am happy to report that I have found a good movie. I feel strongly enough about this movie to take time out of my lazy holiday Monday to tell you to go rent it. The acting is good, the writing is good, even the soundtrack is well-integrated into the movie, with well-chosen musical interludes. The movie I am talking about is Stranger than Fiction with an incredibly sedate Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson, who I find captivating. It got a user rating of 7.9 out of 10 among 40,685 IMDB members and even though that is quite high, in my opinion it is not high enough.

Now comes the part about managing expectations. I often find that when a movie has been highly recommended to me by one of my friends I am almost guaranteed to come away from watching it thinking, “meh”. So, in the interest of giving you some small chance of enjoying this movie as much as I did, I will say that it is not for everyone. There are no fight scenes, no car chases, and not a lot of skin is shown. The pacing is slow and the plot is very much character driven. This is not the kind of movie you would wait in line at 6am to get tickets to the opening show for. It is more the kind of thing that you would watch on a weekend afternoon, once you have finished your chores and just before you start to think about what to make (or buy) for supper.

Have I managed to talk the movie up and down enough to get you interested, but not that excited? I sure hope so. If you do end up watching it, please let me know if I was right to lead you to it.


I watched Dreamgirls with my neighbour on Sunday night. I have to say that I was not impressed.

***Spoilers Follow***
(…but it doesn’t much matter as the movie is so predictable anyway)

I am not a huge fan of R&B (too soppy and histrionic), so that probably didn’t improve this movie’s chances of grabbing me, especially since the musical numbers went on WAY too long. (First rule of showbiz: Leave ’em wanting more!) But more importantly, the character that Beyonce played was supposed to be conspicuously less talented than the character that Jennifer Hudson played and that was just not believably portrayed. I mean, this is Beyonce we are talking about! I’m not sure that anyone in the world is more fabulous than she is — she’s got the bod, the voice, the personality. And the camera just eats her up, so the audience can’t really get angry with the manager when Hudson get the boot. I mean come on, this is Beyonce! OF COURSE she is supposed to lead the group. A manager would be stupid not to put Madame Charisma front and center. And besides that, the storyline was so predictable and cliched: if you’ve ever seen a movie about a band, you have already seen this movie.

With so many Oscar nominations, I expected a much better movie. If you haven’t already seen it, don’t bother unless you really like super-melodramatic R&B and have 2+ hours that cannot be spent doing something more entertaining (like organizing your sock drawer).

Surrounded by Potters

***This post does not contain any spoilers.***

I ordered the latest and last Harry Potter book last week and it arrived on Saturday, so I am back in the land of Muggles and Blast-Ended Skrewts. I also persuaded my neighbour to come with me to watch the latest Harry Potter movie this evening, so I am well on my way to being caught up with all that is Harry.

I would say that the movie is as good as a fifth movie in a series of seven could be. I already knew what was going to happen and I didn’t expect — and didn’t receive — any closure. But the filming was good and the actors who play the “kids” (who are getting noticeably older than their characters are supposed to be) are getting better at acting.

The book is good too, but I have no idea how children less than half my age are supposed to keep up with all the storylines that have happened thus far. I had to go online to look for summaries of the past six books before I started this one so I could remember who was who and what had happened. I am enjoying being back in that enchanted world for a while. It is always fun to be totally absorbed by a book. Makes the rest of the things that happen to you in a day seem less important.