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[ISN] Computer virus inventor arrested


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 
District Court.

There is no legislation in the country that regulates the creation of 
computer viruses.

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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