Today, August 24, 2023, the Tokyo District Court handed down a judgment ordering the payment of 500 million yen in damages for copyright infringement to a man whose whereabouts are unknown, who uploaded a “fast movie,” a movie edited down to about 10 minutes without the rights holder’s permission.
The first step in the dispute over this ruling was that 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 damages against the three defendants who had uploaded “fast movie,” without authorization. Since the whereabouts of one of them was unknown at that time, on November 17 of the same year, a judgment was handed down ordering the other two to pay 500 million yen in damages for copyright infringement.
The plaintiff then filed a petition for service of public notice to the Tokyo District Court in May of this year, after conducting the necessary investigation, etc., against the remaining male party.
As a result, a trial date was set for July of this year, leading to today’s decision.
In a series of trials, plaintiffs have argued as the basis for their damages claim that the price of a viewer’s temporary streaming viewing (rental) of a movie on YouTube is no less than ¥400, and even after deducting platform fees and considering that “fast movie” does not use the entire movie, the amount is still no less than ¥200 per play. Since the 54 works (64 URLs) from 13 companies that had been illegally uploaded had been viewed approximately 10 million times, we calculated the amount of damages to be approximately 2 billion yen, 200 yen per play multiplied by 10 million views, and sought payment of 500 million yen as a partial claim for recovery of minimum damages.
As in the November 17 judgment against the previous two plaintiffs, the court fully recognized the plaintiffs’ claims and ordered the remaining plaintiff to pay 500 million yen in compensation, as requested.
CODA hopes that this ruling will help create momentum to ensure that even those whose whereabouts are unknown who are believed to be staying overseas will not be allowed to escape. We also accept that this series of rulings is a very groundbreaking decision that will serve as a major deterrent to copyright infringement by clearly recognizing the amount of damage caused to rights holders by “fast movie”. At the same time, we believe it is important to expand the awareness of “not watching fast movies” throughout society so that advertising revenues do not encourage piracy. CODA will continue to work for the proper protection of copyrights and the promotion of sound authorized distribution.
■Reference：Ruling in an action for damages against fast movie uploaders
(translated by automatic translation system)
CODA (Content Overseas Distribution Association) was established in 2002 at the call of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Agency for Cultural Affairs to promote the overseas development of Japanese content and take anti-piracy measures. Japan’s proud content, including music, movies, anime, broadcast programs, video games, and publishing, plays an important role in enhancing the nation’s international presence and economic growth. As digital technology becomes more widespread, it is even more significant to protect Japan’s content from increasingly artful copyright infringement and promote the content industry’s development. CODA contributes to the deterrence and detection of online and other piracy, by sharing knowledge with relevant government agencies, organizations, and companies in Japan and abroad, to engage in direct and indirect anti-piracy measures, as well as public relations activities. Visit https://coda-cj.jp/en/activity/ for more information on CODA’s projects.