Most users who download content from torrent or file-sharing websites have at least once stumbled upon fake files. This has inspired the Japanese government to come up with a new program that’s meant to educate users about online piracy.
In October 2012, Japan introduced a new anti-piracy bill. In an effort to discourage the downloading of copyrighted content, considerable fines and even prison sentences await those breaking the law.
However, according to TorrentFreak, the government believes that users need to be “enlightened” regarding the implications of downloading illegal content. That’s why they’ve launched Operation Decoy File.
Until the middle of February, they will be planting fake files on P2P networks. When opened, these files will not contain the movie or the music the user was hoping for, but the following warning message:
“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.”
After the news about the new law broke out back in the summer of 2012, hacktivists immediately launched protests. They threatened the government and the Recording Industry Association of Japan, accusing them of violating their basic rights to an open Internet.