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Video game bar managers arrested for alleged copyright violations

Video game consoles and games seized from local game bars are pictured at the Nakagyo Police Station in Kyoto's Nakagyo Ward, on June 13, 2018. (Mainichi)

KYOTO (Kyodo) -- Police said Wednesday they have arrested four people in Kyoto and Kobe for allegedly allowing customers at their bars to play video games without the permission of the game makers in what they believe is the first such arrest in Japan.

    Kyoto video game bar manager Ryo Koishima, 32, was arrested Tuesday, and Yuki Nishio, 32, who managed a separate bar in the city and his brother Haruto, 29, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of copyright violations.

    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 is believed to have had monthly sales of 1.5 million yen ($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 games 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.

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