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5 Anime Studios Sue 4 'Heavy Downloaders' in Singapore

posted on by Egan Loo
Writs of summons filed this month for alleged infringement of studios' copyrights

The Strait Times newspaper reported last Wednesday that five Japanese anime studios are suing four allegedly unauthorized "heavy downloaders" of the studios' copyrighted material in Singapore. The local law firm Rajah & Tann filed the writs of summons on behalf of Japan's Showgate, Geneon Entertainment, TV Tokyo, GDH, and Sunrise at the beginning of this month. According to the newspaper, the four indviduals had rejected a previous offer to settle out of court.

Earlier this year, Rajah & Tann sent warning letters to alleged anime file-sharers on behalf of Showgate. Those earlier letters said that these individuals had been using the BitTorrent file-sharing system to download anime and infringe on Showgate's copyrights. Last year, the local anime distributor Odex had sent legal warnings to several Singaporeans for allegedly unauthorized downloading.

However, District Judge Ernest Lau had also ruled last year that the original copyright holders themselves — and not Odex by itself — must take direct legal action, and Singapore's High Court upheld that ruling in January. Showgate, TV Tokyo Medianet, GDH, Sunrise, Kadokawa Pictures, and Yomiuri TV had announced their support for Odex after Judge Lau's ruling last year, but Odex director Stephen Sing told The Electric New Paper in August that Odex was not involved with Raja & Tann's more recent warning letters.

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