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September 2018

Research Report
Should Pirate Sites Be Blocked?

Discussing Problems Concerning Measures against Piratical Content

Shinji Ochi

With more and more broadcast content expanding to the internet, tackling pirate websites and other illegal content infringing copyrights has become a crucial challenge for broadcasters. NHK is no exception in struggling to deal with a barrage of piratical content. In February 2018, manga artists issued an emergency statement asking readers not to visit pirate sites, which were rapidly increasing the number of users, especially among the youth. In April 2018, in response to these issues, the government compiled an emergency plan against pirate sites, and “blocking” for notably malicious pirate sites providing animation or manga works, which was included in the plan, sparked up debate. Blocking allows providers to ban users from visiting certain websites, but some argue that monitoring users’ access violates the privacy of communications that is guaranteed by the Constitution. In Japan, some private organizations have already implemented blocking for child porn, and their debate prior to the decision shows that how to balance abuse of human rights and abuse of privacy of communications was carefully discussed. The author interviewed with those who actually use blocking, which revealed several problems including operational cost burden. Will blocking become an effective solution to eradicate piratical content that is threatening broadcasters? This paper looks into aspects that need future discussion and challenges in implementing blocking, by examining prior examples.

The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research


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