The Yomiuri Shimbun
March 19, 2008
KYOTO -- A 24-year-old man on trial in the Kyoto District Court charged
with violating the Copyright Law admitted Tuesday he created a computer
virus and used copyrighted animation footage to spread it on the
Masato Nakatsuji, a graduate school student of Osaka
Electro-Communication University, made the admission during the first
hearing of his trial, where he is answering charges of infringing
copyright and defaming an acquaintance by attaching his photo to the
It is the first time in the nation that a creator of a computer virus
has been tried for criminal responsibility.
Creating computer viruses is not regarded as a crime under the existing
law, but police were able to arrest Nakatsuji because in spreading the
virus he used copyrighted animation footage without permission.
The prosecution described in detail the process by which Nakatsuji
allegedly created the computer virus, attached it to copyright animated
footage, and then promoted it on Internet bulletin boards to accelerate
The defense counsel argued the virus was not seriously malignant, and
that it would be unjust to severely punish Nakatsuji for spreading the
virus as there is no law against it.
The defense objected to certain evidence submitted by the prosecution,
arguing it applied only to the acts of creating and spreading the virus.
The prosecution successfully countered that such evidence was necessary
to establish the full facts of the case.
As the trial continues, observers are focusing on whether it will prompt
legislation to be developed more quickly in relation to computer virus
crime, a field in which the nation has lagged.
A draft revision of the Penal Code, which includes a provision to
criminalize the creation of computer viruses, was submitted to the Diet
in October 2005.
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