Japanese court overturns Winny ruling, says file-sharing software is legal even if used for infringement
Rob sez, ‘Winny is a file sharing program in Japan. It’s developer was found guilty in district court of copyright violations, but now it’s been overturned. Some nice common sense quotes from the decision – “…The crime of assisting violations by a large indefinite number of people whom he has never met does not stand… Anonymity is not something to be looked on as illegal, and it is not something that applies specifically to copyright violations. The technical value of the software is neutral.”‘
The focus of the appeal was whether Kaneko had intended to violate the Copyright Law through the distribution of illegally copied software. Public prosecutors had argued that it was a premeditated crime in which he aided violations of the law. Lawyers argued that Kaneko was innocent, saying, “The purpose (of supplying the software) was purely to verify the technology. The crime of assisting violations by a large indefinite number of people whom he has never met does not stand.”
Ogura ruled that Kaneko did not promote the software among users to be used for copyright violations, and said that the charge of assisting violations of the law couldn’t be applied. The judge added that if the district court’s decision stood, then Kaneko’s culpability could stand as long as the software existed, and that caution should be exercised.