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Kyoto and Kobe video game bar managers arrested for alleged copyright violations

Kyodo

Police said Wednesday they have arrested four people in Kyoto and Kobe for allegedly allowing customers at their bars play video games without the game-makers’ permission, in what is believed to be the first such arrests in the country.

Kyoto video game bar manager Ryo Koishima, 32, was taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of copyright violations, while Yuki Nishio, 32, who managed another bar in the city and his brother Haruto, 29, were arrested for similar violations Wednesday.

The three are suspected of renting video game software and allowing customers to play them in April without obtaining the permission of game-makers Nintendo Co. and Capcom Co., Kyoto police said.

The police confiscated a total of 30 game consoles and 1,100 game titles from the two bars. The bar run by the Nishio brothers was believed to have had monthly sales of ¥1.5 million ($13,600), they said.

Separately Wednesday, Kobe police arrested Hironori Kin, 31, the president of a video game bar operator in Kobe, suspecting his bars installed game hardware for home use and allowed customers to play popular titles such as Capcom’s “Monster Hunter: World” and Nintendo’s “Splatoon 2,” in April.

The arrests were made after the Association of Copyright for Computer Software issued warnings to video game bars nationwide earlier this year, and Nintendo and other game-makers lodged criminal complaints against such bars.