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Winny developer busted

A Tokyo University assistant researcher who developed the controversial Winny shareware program has been arrested for breaking copyright laws, police said.

The 33-year-old academic, Isamu Kaneko, was arrested Monday for abetting the violation of the Copyright Law by the creation of the software.

Kaneko, one of the world's first developers of file-sharing software to be arrested, admits to the allegations.

"Basically, what I did clashes with the law, so it was almost inevitable that I was going to be arrested," Kaneko told the police.

Police said that Kaneko succeeded in developing Winny, a software program promising greater anonymity for users than the WinMX shareware that had generally been used to swap files until then.

Kaneko used Ni Chaneru, Japan's biggest online bulletin board, to announce in April 2002 that he had developed shareware that gave users a thicker veil of secrecy, then set up a website the following month where people could download Winny for free.

Police said Kaneko was arrested because Winny allowed a 41-year-old man from Takasaki and 19-year-old youth from Matsuyama to download games and movies from the Internet in violation of the Copyright Law. The youth has since been convicted.

Kaneko has used Ni Chaneru to argue for trading of digital information on the Internet."I want to come up with new business models through copyright law violations," he said on an Internet site.

Winny has already stirred up considerable controversy within Japan this year. In March, a virus swept through the program, picking up investigation records from a Kyoto Prefectural Police officer's computer and whisking them around cyberspace. Other police documents and Self-Defense Force materials have also been spread across the Internet through Winny.
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