Revisions in Japanese Law Make Save Data Editing, Console Modding Illegal
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The Japanese government's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced its revisions to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act on December 6 that included expanded definitions of what constitutes "unfair competition." The new definition includes the offering and/or distribution of tools or programs that can modify save data, as well as modifying game consoles.
The expanded definitions are part of the addition of "data" as protected content in the act, in addition to previous content such as music, video, programs, and software, etc. The revisions define "data" as "information recorded in an electromagnetic medium." The revisions also described the expansion of the definition of "acts that disrupt the effect of 'technological restrictive measures'" (the latter term defined as "technological means to prevent the illegal duplication and viewing of content.").
The examples given in the revisions of acts that constitute a disruption of the "effect of technological restrictive measures" include the distribution of tools or programs that can modify save data, the act of editing save data, modifying game consoles or offering services to modify game consoles, selling software authentication codes via net auction, or the publication of unauthorized serial codes via the Internet.
The measures provided in the revisions include civil measures such as damage claims, as well as criminal penalties including five to 10 years in prison, as well as fines ranging up to 5 million to 20 million yen.