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Japanese Man Behind P2P Virus Receives Suspended Sentence

Japanese Man Behind P2P Virus Receives Suspended Sentence

Gets no jail time despite the fact that the virus deleted movie and music files on PCs using the Winny P2P file-sharing network.

Early last year I reported how a P2P trojan was making the rounds on Winny, the Japanese P2P file-sharing network. The trojan deleted a wide variety of file types and replaced them with popular comic book character images warning them not to use P2P.

3243242Here’s one of the Trojan images below. It reads:

"Ah, I see you are using P2P again…if you don’t stop in 0.5 seconds, I’m going to kill you."

Here’s a few more (clockwise from left):

2342"This is a visit from the prevealant Piro virus! Stop P2P! If you don’t I’ll tell the police!"
"Even though Kaneko-San was found guilty, you’re still using Winny aren’t you. I really hate such people!"
"Ugu! It’s me, Ayu Tsukimaya! I think I might start destroying downloaded files and P2P software now…"
"Taiyaki, taiyaki, oh I’d liek to eat some…If you don’t bring me some, I’ll destroy your files…If you don’t stop using Winny, I’ll expose you to the police….My phone number is XXXXXXXX…."

In any event, the virus was traced back to 24yo Masato Nakatsuji, who was apprehended back in January, making him the first ever virus writer to be arrested in Japan.

Nakatsuji, a graduate student at Osaka Electro-Communication University, was found guilty in Kyoto District Court and sentenced to two years in jail. However, as the sentence is suspended for three years he will not have to serve any time in prison.

Some are questioning the rationale for such a lenient sentence.

"Masato Nakatsuji has been found guilty of copyright infringement rather than for the damage his movie and music-munching malware caused," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "One has to wonder whether if he had been apprehended in another country then he would have been charged with a more conventional cybercrime and might have got a more serious sentence."

Nakatsuji has claimed that he wrote his malware to try and punish people who downloaded copyrighted material from P2P or file-sharing networks.

"If movies and animated films are illegally downloaded, TV networks will stop showing these programmes in the future," Nakatsuji said during the trial, trying to explain his behaviour. "My hobby is to watch recorded TV programmes, so I was trying to stop that."

Perhaps that explains his lenient sentence.

Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus


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