Suspect allegedly recorded film to watch at home during COVID-19 state of emergency
The Osaka Prefectural Police Department’s Suita Office filed charges on Wednesday against a 50-year-old man from Minoo, Osaka for illegally recording the Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet (Meitantei Conan: Hiiro no Dangan) film with his smartphone, thus violating Japan’s Copyright Law and the Act on Prevention of Unauthorized Recording of Films. According to the authorities, another theatergoer noticed the man with a smartphone on his lap in a Suita theater on April 24 and called the police.
The man, who works as a supervisor at a tax office in Ashiya city, claimed that he intended to record the film before the current COVID-19 state of emergency started on next day, because he wanted to watch the movie at home during the state of emergency. 109, TOHO, Aeon, and other major theater chains had announced on April 24 that they would start closing their theaters on the next day in Osaka and other prefectures due to the state of emergency. 109 Cinemas operates a theater in Suita.
Unauthorized recording of films in theaters is a crime in Japan, under the Act on Prevention of Unauthorized Recording of Films. Uploading such footage to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other services are also copyright violations. People who violate the unauthorized recording law and Japan’s general Copyright Law face up to 10 years in prison, up to 10 million yen (about US$90,000) in fines, or both.
Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet is the 24th film in the franchise. The film was slated to open on April 17 in 2020, but was delayed from its original date due to concerns about the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The film opened in Japan on April 16. The film also had a simultaneous release in 22 countries and territories outside of Japan: Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and France.
The film sold 1,533,054 tickets and earned 2,218,130,800 yen (about US$20.5 million) in its first three days to rank #1 in the Japanese box office in its opening weekend. The film has earned a cumulative total of 6,777,862,250 yen (about US$61.98 million). The film has sold over 4.83 million tickets.
Suspects were arrested or charged under the law for recording in theaters from Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection in 2010, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer in 2011, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha the Movie 2nd A’s in 2012, The Wind Rises in 2014, and more recently, Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train this past March.
The anime Studio Khara posted a notice earlier this month about the unauthorized recording and uploading of footage from Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time (Shin Evangelion Gekijō-ban :||), the “final” Evangelion film which opened in Japan on March 8. The studio added that charges have already being filed in a similar case that occurred in July 2018.