Japan's Showgate Warns Alleged Singaporean File-Sharers

posted on by Egan Loo
Letters sent on behalf of anime production company by local law firm

The Electric New Paper of Singapore reports that the local law firm Rajah & Tann has been sending warning letters to alleged anime file-sharers on behalf of the Japanese production company Showgate. According to a copy of a letter that the newspaper-affiliated website obtained, the letters say that the users have been using the BitTorrent file-sharing system to download anime and infringe on Showgate's copyrights. The letters add that the users have seven days to respond or face legal action. Showgate's numerous anime titles include Blue Drop, Devil May Cry, Genshiken, Ghost Hound, Hokuto no Ken Raoh Gaiden: Ten no Haoh, Ikkitousen Great Guardians, Indian Summer, Karas, Mnemosyne - Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi, S.A (Special A), and Shakugan no Shana. Some of these titles have not yet been officially distributed in Singapore.

Singaporean users had received legal warnings from a local distributor named Odex last year, but Odex director Stephen Sing told The Electric New Paper that Odex is not involved with Raja & Tann's current efforts. Showgate is an associate member of the Anti Video Piracy Association of Singapore that Odex founded, and it consulted with Odex on Odex's efforts last year.

BitTorrent is one of the first "swarming" peer-to-peer files-sharing systems; one of its main advantages over previous systems is how it lessens the burden on the first person who puts the file on the network. All the other users of a particular file are simultaneously sharing parts of the file as they receive them, which effectively blurs the distinction between uploaders and downloaders.

To allow for this decentralized sharing of a file, each user's BitTorrent client program normally has a list of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of the file's other sharers. A company can obtain the IP addressees of these sharers on BitTorrent simply by joining the "swarm" for that file. Successor systems are being developed that offer the anonymity that the regular BitTorrent system does not offer.

In related news, online users in North America are reporting this month that they have received notices from their Internet service providers for allegedly sharing the anime Sekirei on BitTorrent. The notices are reportedly being spurred by letters sent by the copyright tracking firm BayTSP on behalf of a different Japanese production company, Aniplex. While an Aniplex representative has confirmed with ANN that that the company uses BayTSP, Aniplex is verifying if Sekirei is included in that arrangement. In a separate matter, BayTSP had acknowledged last November that it accidentally sent notices on behalf of Odex to users outside Singapore.

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