Winny developer arrested

As has been reported on Mainichi Interactive and Slashdot, the developer of Winny has been arrested.

As a. Winny allows for a number of non-infringing filesharing activities and b. unlike Napster, there’s no central server, I don’t see how the developer – (probably) Isamu Kaneko, an assistant professor at Tokyo University – can be charged for breaking copyright laws.

However, the fact (?) that he has argued for new business models through copyright law violations on 2ちゃんねる, might give the case an interesting twist. To be continued.

Thanks for the pointer, Bram.

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  1. Winny is a Japanese peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing program which was made as a poor imitation of Freenet network and which claimed to keep user identities untraceable not for freedom of speech but for hiding crime. The developer of Winny had never said about freedom of speech.

    The software takes its name from WinMX, where the M and the X are raised one letter in the Latin alphabet, to N and Y. As of September 2003, there were 250,000 users of the program according to the Tokyo-based Association of Copyright for Computer Software. According to P2Pnet, it is the most popular file-sharing program in Japan, with eDonkey and WinMX in second and third place respectively.

    The software was developed by Isamu Kaneko, who is a research assistant in graduate course of computer engineering at the University of Tokyo in Japan. Kaneko originally anonymously announced his intent of developing the software on the popular 2ch Japanese bulletin board site, but this board named ‘Download Software BBS’ was filled with many copyright violation criminal users. As one of 2ch’s cultures include referring to anonymous posters by their post number, Kaneko became to be known as “Mr. 47” (“47-Shi”, or 47氏 in Japanese), or just “47”.

    On November 28, 2003, two Japanese users of Winny, Katsuhiko Kimoto, a 41 year-old self-employed businessman from Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, and an unemployed 19-year-old from Matsuyama, were arrested. They were accused of sharing copyrighted material via Winny and admitted to their crimes. The police tracked the users via Winny’s transfer,since the cipher for anonymity was decoded.

    The police searched home of Kaneko and his university, because he had also developed and experimented about Winny at university. On May 10, 2004, Kaneko was arrested for aiding and abetting copyright law violation for arrested two Japanese users of Winny of many copyright violation criminal users in ‘Download Software BBS’ by the High-tech Crime taskforce of the Kyoto Prefectural Police.

    His developing of Winny at the criminal board is main reason for having be regarded as aiding and abetting copyright law violation. This police act doesn’t mean general developer’s crisis. The developers of other P2P of Japan aren’t accused by any crime. They released their P2P software on general website, but Kaneko released Winny at the criminal board of copyright law violation.

    » punisher on May 26th, 2004 at 01:16