TOKYO -- The Japanese government is set to look into forcibly blocking foreign websites that show copyrighted Japanese content.
This summer, the government will set up an expert committee under the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters of the Cabinet Secretariat. The committee will cooperate with telecommunications carriers and academic experts before drawing its conclusions in March 2016.
The government will consider forcing Internet service providers, such as NTT Communications and Jupiter Telecommunications, to block subscribers' access to foreign websites upon request from Japanese copyright holders.
In Japan, an association of Internet service providers already uses a similar system to prevent child pornography from spreading. The system makes use of a list of problematic websites based on information from police.
Websites that stream Japanese TV programs, movies, anime and music videos as well as allow for free downloads of games are rampant overseas. If they were Japanese websites, service providers could legally block them.
But overseas websites are difficult to crack down on. What is more, major operators of video-sharing websites in China and South Korea are said to be slow to respond to requests to remove copyrighted content.
Europe is also moving toward blocking access to websites that play loose with intellectual property rights. Copyright holders in the U.K. in 2010 and 2011 won a string court rulings telling Internet service providers to block websites that carry infringing content.