Recently in CPSR Category

People interested in copyright and P2P will have already seen the news but the developer of the P2P file-sharing software called Winny was arrested in Japan. A Japanese court recently found him guilty because his software "assists" people in committing crimes. This reminds me a bit of the FLMASK case where the developer of reversible "mosaic" was found guilty of operating a pornography business for linking to his pornography customers. (I testified as a expert witness back when I was chairman of Infoseek Japan.)

This time it is about copyright.

This trend of charging the developers of software for crimes of their users is very dangerous. While I'm not sure how important Japanese legal precedent is at a global level, if not checked, this trend will undermine the basic architecture of how we build software and the Internet.

CPSR Japan
Immediate Release

Comment on Copyright violation assistance case Shinji R. Yamane, CPSR/Japan president December 17, 2006 version 1.1

[History] Mr. Isamu Kaneko was the first file-sharing software developer arrested in Japan. He developed and posted Winny, quasi-anonymous P2P file-sharing software(*) still runnung on more than 400,000 nodes today. He was claimed to 'assisted' two users who illegally uploaded copyrighted materials using Winny. As soon as Mr. Kaneko arrested, FreeKaneko.com starts supporting activity (http://www.freekaneko.com/en/index.html). CPSR Japan chapter (CPSR/Japan) has been supported FreeKaneko.com and its successor, Lesgue for Software Engineers (LSE).

[Problem] The judgement passed down on him was guilty. As the ruling statement will be published some days later after the judgement in Japanese criminal court and no recordings allowed, nobody has the ruling statement yet. So some commentators in news/blog talks uncertain information.

According to the ruling, Mr. Kaneko has no willing to support copyright violation and Winny is "significant" technology that can be applied to various uses and characterized "value-neutral." However, it became guilty by expanding the concept of "assist" in criminal law and Mr. Kaneko fined 1.5 million yen.

[Future concerns] As the court recognized that Mr. Kaneko is NOT malicious developer, Winny ruling shocks Japanese industry including hobbist programmers. The border of guilty and innocent software developer is not clear.

CPSR/Japan will also support and co-operate Mr. Kaneko and LSE. CPSR/Japan will held a chapter's conference in Tokyo to discuss the effect of Winny ruling on January 13 Saturday 2007.

Thanks;


* Research paper on Winny network contents is available in English: Tatsuo Tanaka Does file sharing reduce music CD sales?: A case of Japan Hitotsubashi University IIR WP#05-08 (2004/12/13) http://www.iir.hit-u.ac.jp/file/WP05-08tanaka.pdf


-- Comment by Isamu Kaneko December 13, 2006 (Originally in Japanese, available at http://danblog.cocolog-nifty.com/index/2006/12/post_2bee.html )

Today, I have been found guilty as an accessory to copyright violation. Winny's usefullness is somthing that will extend into the future. Therefore, I believe that it's true value will be recognized in the future. I am dissapointed with the present ruling.

I have repeatedly warned, "do not exchange illegal files" when releasing Winny. And I have repeatedly warned against illegal file exchanges in my commnets to 2-channel and other forums. I am not sure what more would be needed to further make my case.

My biggest concern about this ruling is the chilling effect that many software developers may shy away from developing useful technologies, fearing prosecution based on this vague possiblity of becoming an accessory. This saddens me the most. Times are changing, and we need to cope with that.

I am going to appeal this ruling, in order to raise awareness on the role of technology in these times.

Sincerely;

I'm in Palo Alto now for the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) board meeting. We are having a membership meeting as well as a award reception for Doug Engelbart this weekend. If you're in the area and are CPSR member please join us. If you're not a member, join now!

CSPR
2005 CPSR Annual Meeting & Norbert Wiener Award Reception

Saturday, October 29

All Saints Episcopal Church
555 Waverley Street (between University and Hamilton)
Palo Alto, CA, USA

Membership Meeting

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.

The Meeting is an opportunity for members to meet with the Board and a newly formed Advisory Council, face-to-face, for an extended discussion focusing intensively on the state of CPSR and a Strategic Plan. The Board wants members to be involved in planning our future direction and prospects. By the way, at a Members' Meeting, The CPSR ByLaws state that, "Ten percent (10%) of the members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a meeting of the members." We will announce special steps to facilitate that conversation. For now, please save the date.

To join CPSR, renew your lapsed membership in CPSR, or register to attend as a current member in good standing, use http:cpsr.org/membershipForm

Norbert Wiener Award Reception for Douglas Engelbart

5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Cafe Fino, 544 Emerson, Palo Alto, CA

CPSR is awarding its 2005 award for professional and social responsibility in computing to Douglas Engelbart for being a pioneer of human-computer interface technology, inventor of the mouse, and social-impact visionary. Find out more.

The public is invited to register to attend, using http:cpsr.org/membershipForm.

Read about the Wiener Award, Past Winners, Douglas Engelbart, and Norbert Wiener.

I'm at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland. Perfect weather, nice town, good conference, good folks. This is my first time in Portland (I think), and my first OSCON. Having recently joined the OSI and Mozilla Foundation board, I'm getting to know the open source community and I am enjoying it very much. I have always had a respectful, but slightly distant relationship with the community having found it a bit intimidating. I'd always been a supporter, promoter and friend, but now I am becoming a participant. I saw Steve Gillmor and Doc Searls wandering the halls of OSCON together and they were totally in their medium.

For now, I think my contribution to this community will be help with the international perspective and help with some of the non-profit organization issues. It is amazing how many of the same issues many of these non-profits face, particularly on international issues. Desiree, Veni and I have been talking about making a "starter kit" for new countries. It would have instructions on how to set up local presences for CPSR, ISOC, Mozilla, OSI, CC, Wikipedia and a variety of other Open Source/Internet/Free Culture movements. More so than in the US, the people involved in these movements in the smaller countries are often the same people.

I was recently elected to the board of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). I had been a member for quite awhile and have been the Treasurer of the Japan chapter since we started it in 2002. CPSR has thousands of members and has incubated a number of important projects including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). I hope that I can help CPSR mobilize more members for what I believe is a very important mandate that CPSR has. I'll keep you all posted on the activities, but take a look at the web page if you are interested in getting involved.

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