Last month, police in Japan arrested three people for uploading so-called “fast movies” to YouTube. These edits reveal entire plotlines of major movies in just a few minutes while breaching copyright law, movie companies claim. Police have now made two more arrests of people alleged to have provided narration for the edits.
Uploading full movies to YouTube is an activity that can lead to takedowns, copyright strikes and even lawsuits. Despite the dangers, some people go ahead nonetheless but even those sharing short clips now have reason for caution.
Movie companies in Japan say they are increasingly worried about the rise of so-called “fast movies”. These are edits of popular movies that take place over the span of about 10 minutes but instead of being uploaded for review or critique, they instead aim to make viewing the original movies unnecessary.
Anti-piracy group Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) previously informed TorrentFreak that action would be taken against uploaders and last month that prediction came true when three people were targeted in Japan. These people weren’t subjected to a civil lawsuit but instead were arrested by police as part of criminal action based on alleged breaches of the country’s Copyright Act.
Allegations and New Arrests
According to CODA, the Miyagi Prefectural Police Life Safety Division and the Shiogama Police Station made the arrests claiming that the suspects edited and uploaded four movies owned by Toho Co., Ltd and Nikkatsu Corporation.
The edits were approximately 10 minutes in length and due to their popularity generated advertising revenue for the uploaders, making the offenses commercial in nature. The videos also featured added narration, which has now resulted in more arrests this week in Japan.
“The Miyagi Prefectural Police Headquarters and the Shiogama Police Station arrested two additional suspects who reside in Tokyo and referred them to the Sendai District Public Prosecutors Office for uploading films to YouTube without the right holders’ consent in violation of the Copyright Act,” CODA informs TorrentFreak.
“There were three suspects arrested on 23rd June. The police investigated and found that the two suspects colluded with the three and narrated the unauthorized re-edited versions of the films or otherwise contributed to the crime.”
Police Action Seems to Act as a Deterrent
While copyright complaints can deter some users from uploading or continuing to upload allegedly infringing content, it appears that having the police involved can elicit even more rapid results.
CODA says that prior to the first set of arrests, it had confirmed the existence of 55 accounts on YouTube offering so-called “fast movies”. With news of that action in the air, people are now taking action to avoid being part of a new sweep.
“After the arrest, many of such accounts have been closed and many of the fast movies have been deleted,” CODA says.
Whether any additional arrests are in the pipeline is currently unknown but the anti-piracy group says it will maintain the pressure to ensure that the prevalence of “fast movies” is kept under control.
“CODA shall continue to take appropriate measures, including international enforcement measures against overseas platformers, to identify such malicious uploaders, so that copyright should be properly protected,” the group concludes.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.