Illegal downloaders face jail in Japan

Washington: People who possess illegally downloaded music or films in Japan can face prison for up to two years and fines of nearly two million yen ($25,700) according to a new law, a news channel has reported.

The move is aimed to arrest falling music sales in the Japanese music market, where industry officials estimate only one in 10 downloads are legally purchased.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan said the download music market shrank 16 percent in 2011, the second consecutive year of decline.

The slide comes despite global sales of digital music increasing eight percent last year to $5.2 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Globally, one in four internet users "regularly access unlicensed services", CNN cited an IFPI/Nielsen survey as saying.

The Japanese music industry is hoping to replicate the success of South Korea, which has seen its global market ranking jump to 11th in the world from 23rd after the country cracked down on download piracy beginning in 2007.

The most challenging market for the industry is China, the world`s largest internet market, where an estimated 99 percent of all downloaded music is illegal, according to a report.