In a first, the Sendai District Court presided over by Judge Koichi Nakamura, handed down a guilty verdict for a copyright infringement case on Sep 7, 2023.
The defendant, 53-year-old Shinobu Yoshida, was found guilty on charges of copyright infringement for unauthorized distribution of gameplay and anime content. He will be serving a 2-year-imprisonment, (suspended for 5 years) and a fine of 1 million yen.
The prosecution was gunning for 2 years of imprisonment and a fine of 1 million yen.
Yoshida, a YouTuber, had illegally uploaded edited videos, also known as “fast content”, from the anime Spy x Family and Steins;Gate, which had subtitles and narration without the permission of the copyright holders Toho and Kadokawa.
Additionally, the defendant also uploaded spoiler videos (approximately 1 hour long) of Steins;Gate: Hiyoku Renri no Darling‘s gameplay on to the streaming platform from September 2019 to May 2022.
The individual’s arrest on May 17 this year was a result of this unauthorized posting of videos, which garnered a substantial number of views and ad revenue, constituting deliberate infringement of copyright laws.
The prosecution argued that the defendant’s actions had the potential to reduce people’s desire to purchase legitimate products. The defense countered saying that Yoshida’s acts were not particularly malicious and requested for sentence with probation.
The defendant admitted to the crime during the trial and stated that he wanted someone to see what he had created as a part of his hobby.
“The creation of ‘fast content’ from anime, where creators exploit copyrighted material without permission to gain ad revenue, is an unacceptable practice. Moreover, posting content containing spoilers exposes the crucial core of narrative works, causing substantial harm and impact on copyright holders,” CODA said in their statement.