Recent changes made to the Japanese Unfair Competition Prevention Act last month will significantly affect the modding community. The distribution and production of programs that alter save data is now illegal in the country. Reselling of game keys without permission from the owner is now against the law in Japan.
Unfair Competition Prevention Act
The new laws were introduced following a recent revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in Japan. Official details about the amendments are currently only available in Japanese. Japan now views “data (information recorded in electromagnetic record)” as something that needs to be protected under the law, GamesIndustry.biz reports.
The change will affect game key reselling sites and companies offering save data modification services. This includes sites like G2A, one of the largest digital key marketplaces, and Cyber Save Editor, a save modification tool for the PlayStation 4. As a result of the revision, Cyber Save Editor has been discontinued in Japan.
Punishments for violators include civil measures such as injunctions or claims for damages, or in extreme cases, criminal charges. According to the official information, offenders could face fines of up to ¥5 million, up to five years in prison, or both.
Most of today’s online digital key retailers obtain some of their keys via illegal means, such as stolen credit cards. In the same way, console modding allows users to pirate games, which negatively affects the developer. The revision of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act means good things for the future of gaming in Japan.