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City assemblyman resigns over illicit online sales of adult videos

Hamamatsu city assemblyman Kazuhiro Shinmura apologizes for selling adult videos online for which he did not have the copyrights, during a press conference at Hamamatsu City Hall in Shizuoka Prefecture, on Aug. 16, 2018. (Mainichi)

HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka -- A city assembly member here has resigned after admitting he had illicitly sold adult videos online.

Kazuhiro Shinmura, 47, a lawmaker of the Hamamatsu Municipal Assembly in central Japan prefecture of Shizuoka, told a news conference on Aug. 16 that he had downloaded over 100 free online videos and then posted them to a video sale website. Shinmura added that he had sold about 40 percent of the videos, for a profit equivalent to about 100,000 yen.

According to the assemblyman, he engaged in this practice for roughly five months beginning in February of this year, posting the videos online from his home, his office in Hamamatsu City Hall, and other locations. On Aug. 7, the city assembly's internet provider reported to the assembly office that someone was uploading web videos to a video-selling site, and that the videos' owners had made copyright infringement complaints.

Shinmura had apparently heard from an acquaintance that the practice was profitable, and began uploading the videos to make a little extra money. He earned points worth some 100,000 yen through the sales, but said he has not exchanged the points for money.

"I mistakenly thought that videos that anyone could view online didn't have copyrights," he explained. Some of the videos were even posted from city hall while the assembly was in session. All of the videos have been taken down.

"I would like to offer my deepest apologies," Shinmura said.

(Japanese original by Tomoki Okuyama, Hamamatsu Bureau)

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