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Male Arrested in Japan for Uploading via Perfect Dark (Update 2)

posted on by Egan Loo
1st arrest of anime file-sharer who used software that promised better anonymity

Kyodo News and other news sources report that Kyoto's High-Tech Crime Task Force has arrested a male suspect on Wednesday for allegedly uploading anime online, without the copyright holders' permission, using the Perfect Dark file-sharing software. Other people have been arrested for uploading anime online, but not for using Perfect Dark, a "next-generation" program which was intended to maintain its users' anonymity better than its predecessors. (The Perfect Dark file-sharing program has no relation to the Nintendo 64/XBox Live Arcade game of the same name.)

According to the High-Tech Crime Task Force, the suspect uploaded the televised Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime in January. The suspect is accused of uploading over ten works in one day.

People Arrested for Using Earlier Share Program

Last November, police in Japan arrested 11 people for allegedly sharing films, music, anime, games, and other content using an earlier program called Share. The uploaded anime reportedly included Ranma 1/2, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Dragon Ball Kai, Fresh Precure!, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Lucky Star. The first three people accused of using the Share file-sharing program were arrested in May of 2008 in three different prefectures. These three suspects reportedly shared anime from the Gundam franchise.

History of Winny, Share, and Perfect Dark

An even earlier peer-to-peer file-sharing software called Winny was developed in 2002 by a then anonymous computer engineering research assistant known as "47-shi" ("Mr. 47"). 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 was also arrested. He was convicted and sentenced with a 1.5-million-yen (about US$12,000) fine, but was then acquitted last October.

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 such as Perfect Dark have been developed.

Japan's Copyright Law prohibits unauthorized uploaders but expressly allowed people to download for private use until this month. 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 went into effect on January 1, 2010.

Source: animeanime.biz

Image © Hiromu Arakawa/FA Projects, MBS

Update: In a separate case, the Cyber Crime Task Force of the Chiba Prefectural Police and the Ichikawa Municipal Police searched four Manga Land Internet cafes on Tuesday on suspicion that they displayed anime without the copyright holders' permission. According to Japan's Association of Copyright for Computer Software (ACCS), the accused infringed on copyrights by showing the first episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam, Major, and Dragon Ball to two customers between January 13 and 15. The three anime are owned by Sunrise, Shogakukan Shueisha Production, and Toei Animation, respectively.

ACCS alleged that the accused stored animation and other content on in-house servers, and allowed the content to be accessed from personal computers that were installed for customers to use without restrictions. The police confiscated three personal computers, seven servers, and 26 hard drives from the Motoyawata branch store. ACCS further alleged that the accused obtained the animation content via Share, Perfect Dark, and other file-sharing software. Source: animeanime.biz

Update 2: The Sankei Shimbun paper reports that it was Takayuki Marubashi, a 37-year resident of the town of Kamisato northwest of Tokyo, who allegedly uploaded Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood episode #38 without permission. Marubashi reportedly stated that he started using Perfect Dark two years ago.

The Japanese network security firm NetAgent announced last May that it was able to decrypt Perfect Dark's security and thus be able to compromise the anonymity of the network with regards to the levels of file-sharing, downloading, and other aspects. While it was able to compile overall statistics about Perfect Dark's usage, NetAgent did not claim that it can identify the specific files that individual users are uploading. Source: Slashdot Japan via welcome datacomp linkblog, Icarus Publishing

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