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11 Arrested in Japan for Uploading via Share Program (Update 3)

posted on by Egan Loo

On Monday, police in Japan arrested 10 individuals on suspicion of using the Share file-sharing software to upload films, music, anime, games, and other content on the Internet without the copyright holders' permission. According to the Anti Counterfeiting Association, the following people were arrested:

1. 40-year-old male company employee from Sapporo (Ranma 1/2 television series)
2. 23-year-old unemployed male from Toride (Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito)
3. 47-year-old male company employee from Nagano (8 musical tracks from Victor Entertainment, SME Records, Sony Music Records, Avex Entertainment)
4. 23-year-old male company contract employee from Sayama (music from Ai Otsuka and Kobukuro, Back to the Future Part III, Death Note, Death Note: The Last Name, others)
5. 37-year-old male local government employee from Tsu (Mobile Suit Gundam 00)
6. 44-year-old male company employee from Jōyō (Lorelei)
7. 37-year-old self-employed male from Yokohama (Wii Music, Wii Sports Resort)
8. 57-year-old unemployed male from Komatsushima (unspecified television anime)
9. 40-year-old unemployed male from Okayama (Dragon Ball Kai, Fresh Precure!, Fullmetal Alchemist)
10. 30-year-old male game center employee from Chikugo (unspecified anime)

In addition, an unspecified home was searched in Akita Prefecture, but no arrest was reported there. The first three people to be arrested for allegedly using the Share file-sharing program were arrested in May of last year in three different prefectures. These three previous suspects reportedly shared anime from the Gundam franchise.

An earlier peer-to-peer file-sharing software called Winny was developed in 2002 by a then anonymous computer engineering student. The software promised anonymity for its users, but the High-Tech Crime Task Force found flaws in its integrated forum feature. After two users were arrested for sharing copyrighted material using Winny in 2003, the developer was identified as Isamu Kaneko of the University of Tokyo and also arrested. He was convicted and sentenced with a 1.5-million-yen (about US$12,000) fine. During Kaneko's arrest and trial, another anonymous developer created the Share program which promised better protection of users' anonymity on Winny's file-sharing network. Since security researchers also found flaws in Share in 2006, other successor applications are being developed.

Japan's Copyright Law prohibits unauthorized uploaders but expressly allows people to download for private use. The Japanese government is pushing for a ban on unauthorized downloads as well, despite receiving thousands of messages from citizens opposing the ban.

Source: Internet Watch

Update: According to the Sankei Shimbun paper, the suspect from Sayama also allegedly uploaded the Lucky Star anime.

Update 2: In June, the Japanese parliament passed an amendment that will make it illegal to knowingly download copyrighted material without authorization for the first time. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2010.

Update 3: An unemployed female from Yurihonjō in Akita Prefecture has since been arrested for allegedly sharing Korean television drama works.

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