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Japan has made reselling digital game keys illegal without creator's permission

Japan has made reselling digital game keys illegal without creator's permission

January 3, 2019 | By Emma Kidwell

As of December, a new Japanese legal amendment has made it illegal to resell digital game keys without explicit consent from software makers.  

The new set of rules are part of a revision to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, which now recognizes "data (information recorded in electromagnetic record)" as a target for protection by law.

While key reselling has been somewhat of a grey area in the industry, it looks as though this revision will have more of an impact on modders, since it specifically targets distribution of mod tools and services.

For example, Cyber Gadget’s PlayStation 4 save editor is now discontinued on the official site, although it still seems to be available through other retailers.

However, it's likely that sites that resell keys for discounts or facilitate reselling between individuals will now be affected too.

While the official information on the new amendments is currently only available in Japanese, different translations sum up that three acts have now been banned, including: 

  1. Reselling software product keys online without the creator's permission
  2. Distributing tools and programs for altering save data
  3. Offering services that modify save data on the customer's behalf

According to the translated information, punishments range from civil measures, such as claims for damages, to criminal penalties, including fines of up to ¥5 million (~$46,000 USD), up to at least five years in prison, or both.

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