The Japanese government is planning to carry out a rather interesting project to deter Internet users in the country from downloading content through file-sharing sites.

While the US government is actively clamping down on such sites following the closure of Megaupload, which has seen a number of sites scramble to make changes, file sharing has been illegal in Japan since 2010, as tech blog Asiajin explains.

A government notice [Japanese] explains that, in conjunction with NTT DoCoMo and a number of government agencies, authorities will release a series of files that are made to look like a popular drama show on local sharing-sites, including Winny and Share, a Japanese peer-to-peer (P2P) freeware application.

Unsuspecting users that download the files, which will be out January 23-29, are in for a shock however. On opening the content, they will get an alert which reminds them that both uploading and downloading copyrighted content are illegal activities in Japan.

The experiment will trace those who download the files, although it remains to be seen if any downloaders will be prosecuted in a honey-trap, or sting-type operation.

The prospect of getting a note from the government after downloading what you think is a TV drama might well scare a number of people and it is certainly a unique way of raising awareness around the subject.

Would such a message stop you from downloading content, or would you carry on regardless of the government’s efforts?

[Image courtesy of Dmitriy Shironosov / Shutterstock.com]