Japanese Officials Use Copyright Law To Arrest Computer Virus Writer

from the misuses-of-copyright dept

Over in Japan, a 24-year-old grad student was arrested this week for writing a computer virus. There's just one problem. There's apparently no law in Japan against writing viruses. So, instead, officials had to twist copyright law to use it to arrest the guy. That was possible because the virus itself used popular animation clips as a means of getting people to click on it. Those animation clips violated copyrights. Now, it's nice to see officials cracking down on virus writers, but it's a shame for them to twist copyright law for that purpose. If the problem is that the law doesn't make virus writing illegal, then change the law. Using copyright law for other purposes starts you down a pretty slippery slope. Yes, it's true that the guy was also violating copyrights, but it seems pretty clear from the report that the reason officials went after him was because of the virus. Update: It turns out this story is even more bizarre. TorrentFreak reports that three people were arrested, and the virus itself threatened to kill people for using file sharing systems.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Sal, Jan 24th, 2008 @ 8:08pm

    It's Japanese, I expected it to be more bizzare than that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Dr.A, Jan 24th, 2008 @ 8:12pm

    If vriting a virus is illegal...

    then someone at Sony Japan would go to jail for "The rootkit job".

    Making "virus" writing illegal would likely endanger the authors of most of the crappy coded software we use today.
    Still remember that old joke comparing the behavior of M$ Windows versus Joe virus ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Hoeppner, Jan 24th, 2008 @ 9:15pm

    expost factos

    even if the laws did get passed he wouldn't get in trouble for what he did before those laws were passed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    MAFIAA, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 5:25am

    We wrote that

    And btw, the Sony Rootkit is not a virus.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 6:22am

    And I am sure that there are some who thought it was weak to put Al Capone in prison for tax evasion too.

    Crooks belong in jail using whatever it takes to get them there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Kilroy, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 6:25am

    that is a good point ...

    You cannot get in trouble for doing something that is not against the law. The law is not always up to date with the newest technologies so it is possible that they need a law making it illegal to write a computer virus. But I have to commend them for finding an innovative way to get the guy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    MeatyMbBeef, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 6:39am

    check his paystub

    Check the guys paystub. A hundred Liden dollars says it's got an "RIAA" watermark...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:44am

    A charge that can stick

    Prosecutors do this all the time. If you are a trouble maker (although not against the law) they can find some other law you may have broken and charge you. They still found him breaking some law. Charge his trouble making butt!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Unanimous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    Easy to hide your strong beliefs behind anonymity, isn't it? How about a face and website to show the world?

    Are you gutless?

    Are you really a coward?

    I believe you are--

    you: "Let's arrest those crooks no matter what! They might endanger my weak white pathetic ass, and hot in-shape crooks get all the chicks that pass me right by 'cause of my pathetic anonymous body."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Daily Tech Impressions, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 4:13pm

    Japan censorship

    once again we here japanese authorities twisting stories.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Daily Tech Impressions, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 4:13pm

    Japan censorship

    once again we here japanese authorities twisting stories.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Jerome, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 2:47pm

    Mastering own playground

    The japanese policemen really understand their law very well, but still he is arrested because of the clickable animated pictures and not because he is writing a computer virus. The world should start thinking about creating some kind of cyber law developed for these troublesome programmers as soon as possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    j solis, May 25th, 2008 @ 5:00am

    copyright virus

    Why not copyright the VIRUS itself and prosecute anyone who uses it? I could get copyrights on a whole list of viruses and other malware and then file charges on anyone who sends them out.

    Lawyers would have lots of fun with those cases!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Rizal Agung Pribadie, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 11:59pm

    cyber crime and virus research

    The all of many kind virus and variant when i have found in this time so still have just only disturbed of OS never have i found the virus can be damage the OS work. But some many people is still be think that's can be so deadly for them all computer

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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