Japanese Court Decides That Making Software That's Used For Some Illegal Things Is Illegal
from the take-that dept
Japan is going through its own sort of Napster/Grokster legal fight these days, with the creator of the popular Winny file sharing program being found guilty of helping violate copyright laws. The court decided on a relatively small fine and no jail time for the developer. However, as with the big cases in the US, the developer and his lawyers are pointing out that all this guy developed was a tool -- and making the creator of the tool liable, rather than those who do illegal things with the tool, is incredibly risky. Many seem quite worried that this will slow down innovation in Japan, as developers now have a new liability they need to be worried about in developing new technologies. If their technology can be used illegally, they may potentially be found liable as well -- and that can be a huge problem. There is one aspect of this case that's a little different however, in that much of the attention around Winny hasn't always been due to copyright infringement of music files, but of people who use it accidentally exposing confidential information that was stored elsewhere on their computers -- including Japan's nuclear secrets and medical records. Some say that the police only became concerned about the issue of Winny when private police information was leaked using the program as well.