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A bill aimed at penalizing Internet users for downloading pirated music and video files passed the Diet on Wednesday, despite criticism from some Internet personalities and legal experts that the move is hasty and too harsh.

The revision to the Copyright Law cleared the Education, Culture and Science Committee of the House of Councilors on Wednesday morning and was then approved by a 221-12 vote in an Upper House plenary session that afternoon. The bill makes downloading of such pirated content punishable by a maximum of two years in prison and/or a fine of up to ¥2 million. A 2010 revision to the same law made the downloading of such contents illegal, but avoided assigning penalties.

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