This is pretty huge: new laws passed in Japan will hit illegal downloaders with some serious jail time. Music Week reports that downloaders could face two years in prison or a fine worth up to 2 million yen (about $25,000). Unauthorized uploaders get it even worse: up to ten years in prison and a fine of 10 million yen (about $125,000). National and local governments will now be tasked with educating minors on illegal download prevention.
Warner Music Japan's Keiichi Ishizaka (pictured above) is largely being credited with the crackdown after claiming he wants to "exterminate" illegal downloads. According to the Recording Industry of Japan (RIAJ), in 2010 there were 440 million legal downloads, compared to 44 million illegal ones. Ishizaka served as the chairman of RIAJ when that report was made.
The law takes effect October 1, but offenders will not be indicted unless rights-holders actually file complaints.