On June 23, 2021, three suspects were arrested by the Miyagi Prefectural Police Headquarters and Shiogama Police Station on suspicion of violating the Copyright Act by uploading films through YouTube without permission from the right holders.
From the beginning of 2020 to around late October, the suspects created so-called “fast movies” by editing 54 copyrighted movie works (64 URLs) from a total of 13 companies, including “I Am a Hero,” “Confessions,” and “LESSON OF THE EVIL,” for which Toho Co., LTD. holds the copyright, down to about 10 minutes and adding narration without the right holder’s permission, and uploaded them to YouTube to earn advertising revenue improperly.
The three persons, who were indicted on July 14 for violating the Copyright Act, were each convicted on November 16, and their sentences were finalized on December 1.
On May 19, 2022, the plaintiffs, consisting of 13 member companies of the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) and the Japan Video Software Association (JVA), filed a lawsuit for an action for damages in the Tokyo District Court against three defendants who had uploaded fast movies without permission.
In the lawsuit, the 13 plaintiff companies (※1) calculated the amount of damages to be equivalent to 2 billion yen, and sought partial payment of 500 million yen as a minimum recovery of damages.
On November 17, the Tokyo District Court (Presiding Judge Masaki Sugiura) handed down a judgment ordering the payment of 500 million yen in damages for copyright infringement to two people who uploaded “fast movies,” which are movies edited down to about 10 minutes in length, without the right holders’ permission.
CODA/JVA’s comments on the ruling are as follows.
We believe that this decision fully acknowledges our claims and will be a great deterrent against copyright infringement. The amount of money allowed was larger than in other copyright infringement cases in recent years. We feel that it is significant that the 13 plaintiff companies acted in unison to obtain such a judgment without allowing receiving benefits from copyright infringement.
※1：13 participating companies (order of the Japanese syllabary)
ASMIK ACE, INC./KADOKAWA CORPORATION/GAGA CORPORATION/
Shochiku Co., Ltd./TOKYO BROADCASTING SYSTEM TELEVISION, INC./
TOEI COMPANY, LTD./TOEI VIDEO COMPANY, LTD./Toho Co., LTD./
NIKKATSU CORPORATION/Nippon Television Network Corporation/
Happinet Phantom Studios Corporation/Fuji Television Network, Inc./