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AT MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION SEMINAR, EXPERTS DISCUSS PROTECTING CONTENT & SUPPORTING A CREATIVE DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM November.04.2021
TOKYO – Japanese and international experts said Japan can look forward to a prosperous and dynamic creative industry if the foundations for a healthy digital ecosystem are sound. The arguments were made November 4 during the MPA Seminar –Site Blocking Legislation and Secrecy of Communications, hosted by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and UniJapan during the 34th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF).
In his opening remarks, Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association, cautioned that digital piracy remains an existential threat to the film and television industry, in Japan and around the world, but that robust measures are helping to reduce copyright infringement. “Together, site blocking and delisting really work, yielding as much as a 40 percent bonus for legal copyright owners,” Rivkin said. “We look forward to Japan’s leadership and investment in the eventual adoption of site blocking, so that we can continue to protect our precious digital ecosystem.”
Eriko Watanabe, Associate Professor of the University of Electro-Communications, presented the latest piracy landscape data, which showed incremental 15% increases in streaming and P2P piracy, but exponential growth in online reading piracy. Professor Watanabe said the research reported a total of 3,107 piracy websites offering illegal content in Japan, attracting approximately 600 million visits to those websites per month. This translates to 7.2 billion piracy visits per year.
In arguing the case for the suitability of site blocking measures adopted by the Australian Government, Graeme W. Austin, Professor of Law at Melbourne University and Chair of Private Law at Victoria University of Wellington, concluded that the Australian experience suggests that blocking orders are a proportionate response to a serious social and economic problem.
“This conclusion is reinforced and justified by the legislative design and the emerging practice under the Australian scheme, which I would describe in the following ways: Proportionality is reinforced by the characteristics of the scheme; Blocking orders are a limited judicial power to grant an injunction; The importance of the public interest is reflected in the detailed statutory factors courts consider; and the Australian experience suggests that the regime is used in serious cases,” Austin said.
Returning to speak at the MPA Seminar for a second year, Nobuharu Obinata, Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Law at Kumamoto University, said, “Notwithstanding the conventional view of some Japanese academics in the past, I find that there is a path to legislate site blocking in a way that is consistent with the Japanese Constitution’s prohibition on interference with a citizen’s right to ‘secrecy of communication.’”
Ikuo Takahashi, Attorney at Law (Japan) Komazawa Legal Chambers, concluded the series of presentations outlining his view of ‘secrecy of communication’, noting how site blocking came to be interpreted as a default violation in the early days of the Internet and the hurdles stakeholders will face in erasing more than two decades of this staunchly held viewpoint, and that these opinions are outdated and need to be revised.
Other high-profile speakers included:
Hiroyasu Ando, Chairman, Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF),
Shigeaki Tanaka, Secretary-General, Secretariat of Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters, the Cabinet Office, and
Steve Lang, Minister-Counselor for Economic and Scientific Affairs at U.S. Embassy Tokyo.
Shintaro Ito, Member of the House of Representatives, and Secretary General, The League of Diet Members for the Promotion of Culture and Arts, and Akira Amari, Member of the House of Representatives, and Former Minister for Economic Revitalization, provided messages read by the master of ceremonies in their absence.
The event was hosted at Roppongi Academy Hills 49 Auditorium in Tokyo, attended by film industry representatives, Japanese Government officials, copyright academics and media. The event was live streamed on YouTube to an international audience.
・渡邉 恵理子 准教授 / Eriko Watanabe, Associate Professor
「日本におけるインターネット上の海賊版サイトの定量化と分析」/ “Japan Piracy Landscape 2021”
・グレアム・Ｗ・オースティン 教授 / Graeme W. Austin , Professor
「オーストラリアにおけるサイト・ブロッキング法 制定時の課題」/ Challenges in Enacting Site Blocking Laws in Australia
・大日方信春 教授 / Nobuharu Obinata, Professor
「サイト・ブロッキング法制化におけるプライバシー権と通信の秘密」/ “Privacy Rights and Secrecy of Communications in Site-Blocking Legislation”
・高橋郁夫 弁護士 / Ikuo Takahashi, Attorney at Law (Japan)
「ブロッキングと『通信のプライバシーの合理的な期待』－ガラバゴスの国の『通信の秘密』」/ “Secrecy of communication “in Galapagos islands-Loopholes in the debate on Site-blocking
Access photos to the MPA Seminar here.