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Judge Compares Anime File-Sharing to Stealing Bread

posted on by Egan Loo
Defense says analogy is inappropriate for Japanese man facing 1.5-year sentence

Judge Hiroyuki Satō of the Kyoto District Court compared anime file-sharing to "distributing bread that was shoplifted from a supermarket" on Monday in the trial of one of three men accused of uploading anime with the Share program without authorization. The prosecution is requesting a one-year, six-month sentence for the 34-year-old company employee Kasuhiro Maki from Kawasaki City, and claimed that Maki was motivated by the desire to raise his reputation among online users. After the court adjourned, the defense counsel said, "The defendant was not stealing anything. Because of the malicious denotation [of the term 'stealing'], it is not an appropriate comparison."

While Maki admitted to the facts of the indictment during the trial, his counsel sought a suspended sentence. Under questioning, Maki said he began competing with others on how fast he can spread anime via the Share file-sharing program to gain recognition on bulletin-board sites. Judge Satō then said that Maki's actions "were very similar to shoplifting large amounts of bread, and instead of eating it yourself, distributing it for free. You were only doing it for attention, instead of out of maliciousness."

Moriyoshi Inoha, another person arrested on the same day in May for distributing Gundam (pictured at right) and other anime without permission with Share, is also facing a one-year, six-month sentence in a separate trial at the Tokyo District Court. Although others have been indicted and sentenced for using other programs to share files without permission, Maki, Inoha, and Takahiro Ōtomo from Hiroshima Prefecture were the first in Japan to be arrested for allegedly using Share, a program that had promised high anonymity for its users. (Ever since security researchers found flaws in Share in 2006, other successor applications have been developed.)

Source: Kyoto Shimbun

Image © Sotsu Agency, Sunrise

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