In another case of serious punishment being doled out in Japanese courts for violations of the country’s new copyright and unfair competition laws, a man was given a four-year suspended prison sentence for selling a modified Sony PSP. The handheld video game system was able to pay illegal copies of games, a violation of laws against software piracy. This is reportedly the first conviction under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, however the first arrest for video game piracy was said to have been in late May, when a man was caught selling a device that allowed copied games to be played on the Nintendo DS handheld.
Yuichi Shimizu was caught in April of this year for selling a used PSP on the internet, priced around 15,000 yen (approx. $190). The system’s software had been altered to allow users to get around the built-in copyright protection, meaning the game console was unable to recognize if it was playing an illegal copy. In the evidence used against Shimizu, there were emails that indicated he had received over 100 requests for additional sales, enough to make around 2 million yen ($25,350).
Judge Atsutoshi Uraki of the Utsunomiya District Court said that a strict punishment must be enforced to prevent future crimes of the same nature. Shimizu’s prosecutors originally requested he receive a sentence of two years in prison, but the judge instead gave a four-year suspended sentence, meaning Shimizu can stay out of jail if he doesn’t commit any more crimes. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 2 million yen.
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