YouTube is enjoyed by millions of people all around the world every day, but that may not be the case for long! A few months ago in Germany, the courts ruled against the video site and set stricter requirements into place when using the site in their country. Now, it looks like Japan's new copyright laws might eventually lead to Google's video site being outlawed completely.
Japan's latest copyright law revision makes it illegal to download copyrighted video and audio files. It comes with a stiff punishment of up to two years in prison or fines as high as 2,000,000 Yen (about $25,000 US dollars). So how can this small revision lead to Google's video site being outlawed? Well, every time someone watches any video on YouTube, the site downloads and stores a temporary file on your computer's hard drive. These files could be considered a violation under the new Japanese law.
The new revisions don't take effect until October first, so people in Japan have time to figure out if the beloved video sharing site will stay or go. If the site is officially outlawed in Japan it may prompt other countries to look more closely at their copyright laws as well. The United States government attempted to update copyright laws with a pair of bills called SOPA and PIPA, but were quickly petitioned and eventually forgotten about. However, many people believe that once the presidential election is over and things settle down a bit, copyright laws will once again be looked at and things could get ugly.
Many countries are updating copyright laws to protect the people who make music. However, it seems like many governments are trying to make money off the copyright laws and not give that money to the people who the laws are meant to protect, the musicians themselves. Although many people in the United States feel the copyright laws do need to be updated, it has been difficult to find common ground on protecting musicians and protecting everyone's right to free expression. Hopefully, a common ground can be found in the United States so fun social networking sites are not outlawed in the land of the free.
What do you think? Should governments get to keep all the money from copyright fines? How important do you think it is to pass stricter copyright laws in the U.S.?