The Yomiuri Shimbun
Jan. 25, 2008
A 24-year-old graduate school student was arrested Thursday on suspicion
of spreading a computer virus on the Internet using copyrighted
animation footage, police said.
The Kyoto prefectural police searched the home of Masato Nakatsuji, of
Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, and other locations on suspicion of
violating the Copyright Law.
It is the first time in Japan an inventor of a computer virus has been
According to the police, Nakatsuji, who attends Osaka
Electro-Communication University's graduate school in Osaka Prefecture,
allegedly modified copyrighted animation footage with a computer virus
and distributed the footage to an indefinite number of computers through
the Winny file-sharing software in October and November.
Nakatsuji admitted creating the virus, the police said.
The police suspect him of having produced and spread many other computer
viruses. The police plan to question him regarding the details of his
motives, and other circumstances.
The most recent virus is believed to be a derivative of the Harada
virus, which shows footage of a man named Harada when a computer is
infected. Nakatsuji's virus attacks computers when the Harada animation
footage is opened and destroys data in the computers or leaks personal
information, the police said.
The police suspect the Harada virus was also created by Nakatsuji
because the man known as Harada in the animation footage is an
acquaintance of his.
Nakatsuji reportedly made it look like the animation footage came from
two men--Shoji Sakai, a 39-year-old company employee in Osaka
Prefecture, and Katsuhisa Ikema, 35, of Hyogo Prefecture--known within
Winny circles for distributing quality animation footage.
Nakatsuji was quoted by the police as saying, "I thought the virus would
circulate more if it was in a well-known file name."
The police also arrested Sakai and Ikema on Thursday on suspicion of
violating the Copyright Law by leaking animation footage on the Internet
without the permission of the copyright holders.
The Kyoto prefectural police arrested Winny inventor Isamu Kaneko, a
former research associate of Tokyo University, on suspicion of violating
the Copyright Law in May 2004. Kaneko, 37, appealed to a high court
after he was ordered to pay a fine of 1.5 million yen by the Kyoto
There is no legislation in the country that regulates the creation of
In 2001, Japan signed the Convention on Cybercrime in which signatory
countries cooperate to tackle Internet-related crimes.
A revised bill of the Penal Code was submitted to the Diet in 2004 to
regulate the creation of computer viruses. Such a regulation is
mandatory to conclude the convention. However, a stipulation regarding
conspiracy in the bill sparked an argument at the Diet, and the bill has
not been enacted.
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