Photo/IllutrationThe operator of the “Mangamura” comic piracy site shut it down after the government announced a policy of pursuing site-blocking to combat piracy websites. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A system that displays warnings when people access piracy websites for manga and other copyrighted content would be difficult to introduce widely, a government panel concluded.

In a report compiled on Aug. 5, an expert panel with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications cited possible infringement of the right to secrecy of communication and technological limits as obstacles to implementing the system.

The envisaged system calls for warnings to pop up when users access piracy sites.

To make it work, Internet service providers would need to obtain legal consent from users that allows them to monitor their access to certain sites.

But after soliciting opinions on the warnings from the public, the panel said it was bombarded by e-mails to drop the plan from people who said it would violate the secrecy of communication.

The panel also said many service providers mentioned technological and financial hurdles to be cleared to introduce the warning system when experts interviewed them.

Providers that are technologically ready to start running the warning system will introduce it in autumn on a trial basis to gauge its effectiveness.

Only users who agree to have their online behavior monitored will be targeted in the test. As only a handful of providers currently have the technology to run the system, the trial is not expected to yield a comprehensive assessment of how it could work.

The report also said the panel will push the spread of a filter for smartphones, a special program provided by security companies and other entities to limit websites that can be viewed.

Installing a filter would not infringe on the right to secrecy of communication, the panel said.

The panel will draw up a framework to advance the filtering plan by autumn in which security companies will share a list of piracy websites with publishers.

A communications ministry official noted that there is currently no silver bullet for tackling piracy websites.

“It's important to proceed with a number of combined measures,” the official said.

The panel has been weighing the feasibility of the automatic warning system as an alternative to a proposal that urged service providers to forcibly block users’ access to pirated websites.

The government set out to legalize blocking of such websites last year.

But the proposal has been frozen due to intense opposition from experts, who referred to the strong possibility that the blocking would be illegal.

While the automatic warning system is to start as a pilot program, some critics say calls to block sites will return and intensify if the trial fails to fully protect the rights of copyright holders.