Reselling of the digital game keys are now illegal in Japan. The Unfair Competition Prevention Act has been revised by the nation and has introduced a series of amendments that has affected the game industry and in particular the modding scene. At present the official information on the amendments is not available in Japanese. However, various translations have indicated that three of the acts have now been banned. They are:
1. Distributing tools and programs for altering save data
2. Reselling software product keys online without the creator’s permission
3. Offering services that modify save data on the customer’s behalf
All of the above information has indicated that the Unfair Competition prevention Act now recognizes data information recorded in the electromagnetic record as a target for protection by law. The translated information has mentioned that the punishments range from civil measures like claims for damages to criminal penalties which includes fine of up to ¥5 million, up to five years in prison or both. Due to the recent amendment, the products like the Cyber Save Editor for PS4 have been discontinued.
Even otherwise, the reselling of key has always been a grey side in the games industry. So far there was little or almost no legislation that had directly prevented it. Meanwhile, the Court of Justice of the European Union took an opposite approach and ruled that the uses are allowed to resell the downloaded games back in 2012.
But restrictions on the reselling of game keys is potentially even more notable for the end users. The specific examples have been limited to the console games and there does not appear to be any language limiting the scope of such restrictions. In the past year, there have been some harsh arrests in Japan including a guy who sold some modded SNES Mini consoles and also a crackdown on the country’s game bars. With such laws in place there is a much riskier proposition for the players in Japan.
Photo Credits: malware bytelabs