Man found guilty of sharing copies of foreign movies before their Japan release date

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    A man who created and shared a Japanese-subtitled video file of the movie “Wanted” has been found guilty of violating copyright law:

    The court sentenced 33-year-old Kazushi Hirata to two years in prison, suspended for three years, for violating the copyright law by making the films with Japanese subtitles downloadable to users of the file- sharing software Winny.

    Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison term for Hirata, a resident of Sendai, for unauthorized distribution of copyright materials.

    Judge Katsuaki Irie said in handing down the ruling that the defendant “committed the act by editing the films himself and inserting his own signature as a so-called subtitle craftsman. It is self-centered, habitual and malicious.”

    Hirata’s actions were viewed as particularly damaging because he put his translation of the movie on the net months before the film was slated for theatrical release in Japan. “Wanted” was released in June/July in the UK, USA, Iceland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Thailand, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Italy, Indonesia, Israel, Portugal, Belgium, Egypt, France, Kuwait, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Australia, and Peru. It didn’t hit theaters in Japan until September 20th.

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