by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 24th 2008 6:45pm
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.
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