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Japan Makes Linking Illegal Material Illegal 200

Once&FutureRocketman writes "According to this article, a Japanese court has handed down a decision that make it a crime to link to a page that contains illegal material. I don't think this crowd needs me to elaborate on the potential ramifications of this decision. " Update: 04/21 12:10 by CT : Ooops, this is a duplicate of an earlier article. I'm leaving it up 'cuz there's already a ton of comments.
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Japan Makes Linking Illegal Material Illegal

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Judge Masayuki Kawai of the Osaka District Court reached the conclusion that Kiuchi had increased the number of ways to access obscene sites and had made it easier for many people to view pornographic pictures, and that he therefore was guilty of aggravating crime. For that reason, he handed down a guilty verdict carrying a one-year prison sentence, suspended for three years. (The prosecution had requested that he receive a one-year sentence.) So, to follow this reasoning, if I publish a list of addresses of banks, I'm aiding and abetting the crime of bank robbery?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If merely linking to a site is illegal, then all the Japanese government has to do is sit back and define what is legal and not legal, thereby greatly restricting the flow of information of the web. Also, this will of course give the Japanese government an excuse to censor international traffic - declaring that certian sites like infoseek or google are unfit for consumption simply because they might link to content that is "illegal". What a bunch of bullshit - I even heard that it is illegal in Japan to use encryption (I don't know if that is entirely true, but I did here that somewhere.) On top of all this, the Brittish government is making it easier than ever to shut down a web site. There was a story about it on BBC news - you can basically have a website taken down with relative ease if it merely offends you. Can you imagine what a boring fucking place this would be if all web sites had to be un-offensive to EVERYONE and not link to anything that could potentially be *gasp* illegal? At least the US government has not gone to these extremes, but who knows, perhaps in time even they will. I really hope that this will not happen. We cannot let them silence us.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Silly citizen, that's because Leno doesn't make fun of the people who really run the country.

    Try making a wisecrack about Alan Greenspan and see what ha-&@993549@23..!@335


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Once the major powers decide what they dont want thier citizens to see they won't be able to see it, without breaking the law.

    Sure millions will still break the laws, but "selective" application of the law will be used to imprison dissidents. New study out today shows 1 in 47 of us American adults are, or have been imprisoned.

    As for some little country getting rich off it, not likely. If it becomes a haven for ideas Amercians dont like (or other powers) the little country will be blacklisted. The US did it to Cuba because they dont like one particular guy.

    If Sony and now/AOL Time Warner decide that XYZ is bad, they have the lawyers and lobbyists to make sure you don't see XYZ. You can't even host yur own DNS in the future to route around it. You'll need an upstream provider, i.e. ATT/AOL/TimeWarner/SONY/MS Inc. And they'll have no qualms in cutting off independant DNS outfits in order to "protect the children" or "protect the artists creative works.". Yeah right.

    Cheap, fast broadband you say? Sure everybody buys an Airport card and has their own bandwidth. Not. Radio broadcasts are regulated, despite the recent ruling (still costs $25,000 to set it up legally (less than $1,000 for the tech, the rest is regulatory/legal bs). Yes you can, but it'll be illegal. They'll ignore you unless they want to jail you, then they have a pretext... In 2007 Mr Lee Harvey was detected to have collaborated with other terrorists seeking to destroy Free AMercia (hah). Using an unregistered, out of date, and therefore illegal copy of Half Life 3.0, he and the other defendants simulated amushes of federal agents and the assination of the President of the United Corporations of America. For these crimes of treason, there shall be no bail, no parole and no stay of execution."

    Far fetched? Think about it. A dozen $100,000,000,000 companies say they want it so. How much is your senator's, parliment's, sheik's vote worth? Especially since freedom equals the freedom to say or see things some people don't like? Strippers and pasties. KKK marchers and their hoods. i-Opener and linux. Ebay and EverQuest items.

    One other rant for this diatribe: I can buy writable(and therefore more expensive) CDs at Staples for 30 cents each. Why do CDs cost MORE than tapes? Multiple plactic housing, pulleys and their assembly vs. a 3 layer print job? Blank tapes cost more tha blank CDs. So why do tapes cost LESS than CDs? Because the corporatation can make more that way. It's recorded "better" than the tapes. Did the artist make the tape's version on a bad day? blah blah blah I'm done.

    --- Any and all typos are ust that. I can spell, just can't type.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This .sig here until i think of something funny.

    Just so you know, you need to capitalize the i in your sig. I've been thinking about your sig for some time, but have decided to let it all slide and just tell you this. Please go to User Preferences [], capitalize the i in your sig and then click the Save button. Then everything will be hunky-dory. As for the actual content of your sig, please think of something funny by next week, or you will hear from me again.

    That said, it's time you got yourself a new sig. Thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's a pretty theory you have. But do you mean 'illegal' or 'immoral'? I mean, lets look at everyone's favorite example: DeCSS.

    Is it illegal? Yes. Should it be illegal? Probably not. Fair use after all. Digital copy protection laws are bar-none useless. After all, even things in the digital realm are protected by basic copyright laws. Now they want to steal our right to fair use. So is DeCSS immoral? More then likely.

    Sort of like libel/slander. Being blatantly libelous or slandering an individual is both illegal and immoral. Like you said, maybe the laws are the problem. But don't forget who makes your laws, who's to say how moral they are.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you can reach anywhere on the web with 9 hops, consider yourself very very lucky.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So now all search engines are illegal in Japan if they return a page with links to "illegal" stuff. Also if the page was fine when the link was established but then the person put illegal stuff on it what happens? I guess the anarchy of the web is cool until it's your butt being screwed over by the "ruling class" that just doesn't get it.
  • Instead, could you provide for me an example of legal gun use in which there is truly no alternative to using a gun?

    Protecting my goats from coyotes and mountain lions. You think I'm going to use a machete?

    New XFMail home page []

    /bin/tcsh: Try it; you'll like it.

  • Your analogy is quite flawed. A more fitting one might be: Mr. Jones lives in the house two doors down from me. I have known Mr. Jones since I moved in to my house a few years ago. One day a stranger comes to my door--he's on his way to visit his friend Mr. Jones, and he's lost, so he stopped by my house to ask directions. "No problem," I say, "Mr. Jones lives just two houses away, he's my neighbor," and I point him towards Mr. Jones. The visitor says "thank you" and goes over to Mr. Jones's house to buy smack.

    I didn't know Mr. Jones sold drugs, my redirection ("link") was simply to Mr. Jones. Am I a criminal?

  • DeCSS is not illegal. Only certain specific sites have been prohibited from distributing it due to the MPAA having obtained a preliminary injunction against them. Any site that has not been hit with such an injunction is legally allowed to distribute DeCSS.

  • On the other hand, these guns wouldn't be there without the manufacturers and they are therefore indirectly responsible.

    The gunmakers are selling a legitimate product. It, like many other products, can be used for illegal purposes. That does not mean that the company is even indirectly responsible for those actions. People never go after knife makers when someone is stabbed to death. Why go after gun makers? If you go after gun makers, why not automobile makers? All you end up doing is trying to shift the responsibility to someone else, even though they were selling a perfectly legitimate product.

    The lawsuits against gunmakers on deaths should be thrown out of court.

    Couldn't agree more with this, although I don't think I agree with your overall stance on guns.

    (Likewise with smoking. Can't smokers read warning labels that first said smoking is harmful, later that smoking kills?)

    For anyone who started in the last 20 years, and barring any unusual circumstances, I think I agree with you. However, I also think that the cigarette companies did conspire to hide the facts from consumers about the harm that smoking causes, as well as the fact that it is highly addictive. It's not just a matter of saying "oh, I'd better quit" after you realize that smoking will quite probably kill you. For these reasons, I think that many of the people who are filing suits against the cigarette companies have a legitimate grievance.

  • I don't believe that such a list would really work, but it is certainly an example of the measures which were open to them.

    I don't know of any measures that could effectively prevent the transfer of copyrighted works. What it comes down to is a bunch of unidentifiable bits. Don't know of any way to filter those.

    The interesting thing is that apparently the RIAA has said that they aren't going to go after users. C'est la vie.

    Yep. They have no interest in pursuing those who are actually infringing on their copyright. They are looking for a quick fix that will end up setting a bad precedent that they will use to remove even more of our rights in the future. This is almost exactly the same thing the MPAA is doing with DeCSS.

  • Are the manufacturers responsible when the product's primary use is illegal and they make no bones about it? Yes.

    The primary use of guns is not illegal. The primary use is for law enforcement, self-defense, and sport. There are illegal uses as well, such as armed robbery, assault, and murder. These are all illegal and anyone committing such a crime should certainly be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It does not mean that the rest of us should lose the right to effectively defend ourselves, our families, and our homes.

  • Actually, it hasn't been ruled illegal yet. If it were already illegal, the court wouldn't even have to decide that point, it would just have to determine whether or not the defendants posessed or distributed it. They already admit to that, but they deny that DeCSS is illegal. There are provisions in the DMCA for reverse engineering for compatibility reasons, which is what DeCSS was for. That will be a large part of their defense. Until this case is decided, we won't know whether DeCSS is illegal or not.

  • Harmless fun nearly by definition. Quite unobjectionable on its own merits, although other methods to both hunt and fire projectiles at targets exist.

    Other methods of transportation exist, yet we do not ban automobiles, despite the fact that they kill tens of thousands of people every year. The point is that while other methods are available, they are not equivalent. We use the method that works best for us.

    In both England and Japan, effective policing takes place without arms, but then, the people are not armed either.

    Wrong. England is currently having a seriou s gun problem []. Guns are still coming into the country despite the ban. Why? Because people still want them, and other people can make money off of them. Criminals still get all the guns they want. They are having problems with gangs toting around automatics. The police still use guns as well (note the picture in that article). Not all of them carry a gun all the time, but they definitely still keep them handy. I haven't read anything about Japan's situation, so I can't comment on that.

    Multiple armed home invaders aren't going to be very amused by resistance.

    Actually, resistance is usually enough to send them packing. They are there for the quick, easy score. They don't want to die over it.

    At least with knifes, the chances are that they'll only wound one another.

    Sorry, but as you pointed out, some people are bigger and stronger than others. I have no intention of engaging in a knife fight with someone. A gun is much more effective. Even a warning shot will often make an intruder run rather than take his chances against someone with a gun. The odds are way too even, and possibly even against him. If I am competent in the use of my gun, then I am unlikely to be disarmed or have it used against me. I think the real thing that gives guns a bad name is that people don't learn how to handle them. They think it's just like on tv, you point and shoot and bad guys start dropping. I personally think you should have to pass a test to own a gun, just like you do in order to drive a car. There are just too many incompetent gun owners. But, until there are non-lethal weapons available to the public that are at least as effective in any given situation as a gun, I believe we all have the right to defend ourselves and our families to the best of our ability and with the most effective weapon available to us.

    I think it highly unlikely that either one of us can convert the other to the opposite way of thinking, but if you'd like to continue the discussion, I am quite happy to.

    You're probably right, but naturally I couldn't let your post go unanswered. You understand, of course. :)

  • Even in cases where the driver was drunk, it is called an accident the whole while as the driver is on trial.

    Actually drunk drivers are routinely convicted of vehicular manslaughter. The term "accident" is just a very deeply ingrained term when it comes to vehicles. If I was a legitmate gun owner and accidently shot someone while cleaning a gun, they don't call that an accident. Neither should it be called an accident when someone kills somebody after getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. It should be called vehicular manslaughter at the very least, and murder 2 at the most.

    People commit murder regardless of what weapon they have available. How many murders committed last year were not committed using a gun? I bet a large portion of the people who used a gun would have used another weapon had a gun not been available (although its hard to imagine someone not being able to get a gun if they want one, same as drugs). Even assuming you could get rid of guns (completely impossible IMO), I don't see the other problems in this country being fixed, so we'll still have the environment in which people will commit murder, simply because they either feel it's right in their situation, or they don't care at all. The way things are going, it's probably just going to get worse too.

    The rest of your points are quite reasonable, though you'll usually have more luck outrunning a knife than a bullet.

    If I'm defending my home or family, I'm not likely to be running. In other circumstances, running might be a wise idea. As the article I mentioned shows though (and you seem to agree), you're going to have a real tough time trying to get guns away from criminals. So, I'd just as soon not bring a knife to a gunfight.

  • Japan replaces immediate Japanese atmosphere with crack smoke, doped up officials can't see their nose from their ass.

    / k.d / earth trickle / Monkeys vs. Robots Films [] /

  • First, Japan didn't start World War II as we know it. You know that it wouldn't have happened without Europe.

    Of course not. Though Japan gave the US a convenient reason to get into the war, it was not responsible for starting the war itself.

    Second, what is a Samurai-like technique? Do the companies go around wearing masks throwing throwing-stars at eachother?

    Nope. But the techniques you described weren't used by samurai anyway. Shuriken (throwing stars, you called them) were more typically the tools of the shinobi (who had another name that I dare not mention simply because it would get a certain Slashdot troll very excited).

    How does "the country" use techniques to root out competition.

    Actually, it's possible by using protectionist tariffs, something the US has also done in the past (Hawley-Smoot, anyone?) And Japan is known to do this. However, the trend has been reversing in recent years, albeit slowly.

    Your post is way too full of B.S. to make any sense whatsoever.

    That's why it's called a troll.
  • You do know that Imperial Japan had conquered a large portion of East Asia long before the US became involved, right? You do know of the Rape of Nanking, and the serial war crimes perpetrated by the Japanese army throughout Korea and the Philipines?

    You're correct. However, that was a separate war. Japan later joined up with the Axis, and in a sense joined the two wars together in doing so. I suppose you could say that the combinations of the two wars (the one in Asia and the one in Europe) did make it a true World War, and then in one sense Japan could have started it (it then depends on who approached whom about Japan's alliance with the Axis).

    However, Hitler and Nazi Germany are generally credited with starting what would later become World War II in any case. Japan had its own wars, and did not join the Axis until later.
  • ::scratches head::
    My cat's breath smells like cat food.
  • This is effectively how it has been in Japan all along.

    Whether or not Japan's ISP's had been operating under some sort of consent decree or something I couldn't say, but I have never found anything containing copyrighted material or pictures of human genetalia on any server with a .jp extention.

    .hk servers on the other hand are another matter entirely :)
  • Napster in trouble from Japan?

    Japan doesn't even represent 5% of the worlds internet users. Napster will be fine.
  • So God is responsible for my raping spree!

    Whee! Everything I do is someone elses fault!
    Ain't America grand?
  • Gun makers arent indirectly responsible at all, unless they are agressively marketing their product using violence to attract buyers or something.

    This false connection between guns and crime is silly. In the US the relationship is purely incidental.
    In Switzerland citizens are allowed to own guns, but in England they are not. Yet England has a far higher crime and murder rate than Switzerland.
    In Egypt, you are not even allowed to carry knives. So what to criminals do? Stab people with screwdrivers!

    One must accept the logic that it is not the availability of any particular sort of weapon that makes people want to kill other people.

    Unfortunately most Americans don't give a damn about what the reasons are, and aren't willing to share whatever part of the blame might be theirs. They just want someone (the government) to *fix* the problem for them, but leave them out of it.

    That has been a popular way to go, but it's not a democratic or a constitutional way to go. Benito Moussolini swore that, if in power, he would "make the trains run on time", and he did. And the people rejoiced.

    Then the people stopped rejoicing because they realised that, though the trains did in fact now "run on time", the governmental system that had the power to bring about such a marvelous change didn't feel like moving on to another project now that their contract was finished.

    Soon every political and social problem began to resemble a messy train schedule, and the rest is history.
  • by Squeeze Truck ( 2971 ) <> on Thursday April 20, 2000 @12:15PM (#1120244) Homepage
    The WTO will strike Japan's law down as an unecessary hindrance to porn-producing economies like California and Hong Kong.

    Thank God for the WTO, eh?
  • Does Russia have copyright laws at all? If it does, do the laws permit this type of redistribution?

    if the answer is no to the first, or yes to the second, then it's plenty fair. copyrights were not handed down by god to some prophet on the mountain - they're totally artificial and have to be implemented by law. furthermore, they can be repealed, and they don't have to be particularly consistant.

    as i recall, taiwan has no copyright laws (or if it does, they're really lax)

    at any rate, if it is an infringement of copyright law, that's a civil matter. go sue them (if possible)
  • Self defense - if your life is in immediate mortal danger (it can be from a rabid bear, if you're uncomfortable with the idea that some humans are likely to kill you) then this strikes me as a useful time to have and use a gun.

    War is another one. It's very nice to make war illegal, but there are relatively few nations that are willing to submit without some kind of fight.

    Suicide (legality varies wildly depending on your local jurisdiction)

    Fishing - no really. When you catch large fish, they're usually alive and dangerous to get near, given as how they outweigh you, are strong, and are flopping around like mad. If you're gonna kill it anyway, you might as well not endanger yourself in the process. You'll note that we didn't have matches for a long time either, but there are few people willing to carry flint and tinder.

    My favorite - overthrowing an unjust, illegitimate and immoral government (probably the underlying reason behind the US 2nd Amendment; a method to ensure that if it failed, it could be removed)

    I'm sure there are others.

    My point is, I would rather have the ACT or at most direct incitement to perform the act (e.g. telling Mr. B to murder Mr. C as opposed to talking out loud about how Mr. C is a pain in the ass and you wish he were dead) be illegal, not the tools.

    There are good, constructive uses for virtually any *thing* that I can think of. Make it illegal to commit (or be about to commit) the negative acts with those things - don't make it illegal to possess them no matter what your intentions.

    And yes, I think that Napster should remain online. If some company x has a problem with them, they should sue the people who are actually pirating stuff. Napster at worst (assuming that they haven't dl'd stuff illegally) has been negligent. this can be very serious, but their intent needs to be determined. did they create napster with the intent that it would be used illegally? did they take action when it was brought to their attention that it was used illegally?

    Sure napster has it's faults, but what would be wrong with a system where files were transferred legally, with good faith on the part of napster that people weren't lying through their teeth? So like I said - find out what they were trying to do and what they knew, first.
  • This is getting offtopic even for /., but the culture of the army would pretty likely fragment it at worst - put it against the government at best.

    and effectiveness aside, at present, guerilla armies are pretty damn effective if their enemies are planning to hold territory and not kill absolutely everyone to do it. We found that out in Viet Nam (although when they stopped hiding we kicked the shit out of them) and the Russians found out in Afghanistan. It's tough to nuke yourself from orbit, even if it's the only way to be sure.
  • Your argument makes no sense.

    First you say that gun manufacturers ought to be liable for crimes committed with their products. Despite there being legal uses for their products.

    But then you don't answer the question of whether film and camera manufacturers are liable for crimes committed with their products, and you disagree that DeCSS's creators should be liable at all.

    In *EACH CASE* the product has both legal and illegal uses. You can't have your cake and eat it too - are the manufacturers of ANY product which is used illegally liable for that use? Yes or no? Ratios don't enter into it. The purpose the tool is created/used for (aside from legality - e.g. guns kill people, but this can be legal or illegal depending on circumstances) is irrelevant.

    Liable or not? Just answer.
  • But if I say in some public forum, 'Rodney, two doors down from me sells cocaine - we ought to run him out of town on a rail,' am I still liable, even if someone uses that information (and that information alone) to commit an illegal act?

    The trick is *intent*, imho. If you knowingly tried to aid in the commission of a crime, you're in trouble. Making negligence a crime in any but the most extreme cases would have a terrible effect on the freedom of speech.

    OTOH, censorware lists (when decrypted) provide a treasure trove of links. Someone should really prosecute them for providing, in a roundabout way, links to all of these horrible horrible things. Let's do it for the children ;)
  • "The conviction rate here is around 96%, so if the police take the trouble of arresting you, it generally means the court is gonna find you guilty..."

    According to my criminal law class in high school (late 1980s), the conviction rate here in the States is about 90%.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • by tilly ( 7530 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @01:42PM (#1120251)
    For instance, what do you do in the US if someone in Russia decides to ignore copyright []?

    Is it fair?


    Can you stop it?


  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @11:51AM (#1120252)
    This is stupid as the linking site has no control over the content of the linked site. It might be ok when the link is created but not later.

    Ok so if I find a japanese site linking to some legitimate stuff I have. All I have to do is move some stuff around stick in a how to make a bomb page and blamo the japanese site is now illegal.

  • How about it you just strip off the ""? It's not a link, it's just text. []

    Not that it really matters, given what's been said about the Japanese legal system. Speaking of which, does anyone know where I can read in English about modern law in Japan?
  • by cherub ( 9120 )
    "Plain Old Text" doesn't seem to be, exactly :)
    Wanna fix that, Rob? You should convert > and < into &-lt; and &-gt; (without the -'s -- I can't figure out how to represent these in this bastarized sub-HTML), and so on.

    I meant to suggest that Japanese sites strip the "<a href=" and ">".
  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @02:12PM (#1120255) Homepage Journal
    Article 38 of the penal code does state that criminal acts for which there is no criminal intent should not be punished, but Clause 3 of the same Article says that criminal intent cannot be ruled out just because a defendant is ignorant of the law.
    The problem is that in this case one isn't ignorant of the law, one may be ignorant of whether or not someone else is breaking the law. Example time.

    Lets say I know a guy named Bob. I've only known Bob as a nice guy, though I don't know him well. I believe that Bob is a capable handy-person. A friend needs a TV antenna installed, so I send them to Bob. Unbeknownst to me, Bob offers to hook up my friend to illegal cable at the same time. My friend accepts, but only tells me that Bob was really helpful. I now send all my reception-challenged friends to Bob. One day, the FCC (or whoever) come down hard on Bob and he's jailed - then I'm similarly charged with aiding and abetting (or whatever), simply because I helped people find Bob. Am I ignorant of Bob's activities? You bet. Am I ignorant of the Law? Hell, no.

    So Japan is now holdling people responsible for other's actions based on whether a third party believes that the first knows everything the second is doing. Even describing it is hard! Search engines are the obvious losers, because they now have to prove that the system is totally automated, or whole companies risk going directly to jail. What about the "Submit your link" sites like that FFA crap?

    Sure, this instance looks pretty cut and dried, even the journalist is willing to openly agree, but a de-pixelating tool is basically just a very intelligent sharpening tool. Thus Adobe with their Photoshop program are half way to being convicted in Japan - lets hope they don't have a search engine box on their web site...

  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @11:50AM (#1120256) Homepage Journal
    If what's being linked to isn't illegal in the country it's in, is it still illegal to link to it from Japan where it is illegal? I don't know how they're going to enforce this one...
  • Clearly, all search engines need to immediately block all .jp addresses from accessing them.

    I'm not kidding; the most effective protest that could happen here is if Google, Yahoo, et. al. immediately block off all .jp addresses.

    Let the Japanese search engines get arrested. Insist on it, in fact.

  • Have you read some of the other comments? If linking to an illegal site is illegal, then by transitivity you've pretty much got the entire Internet as illegal. Not to mention if, say, you link to a site that's perfectly normal, but the maintainers of that site then put illegal material on their page, then *wham* you're screwed.
  • by BJH ( 11355 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @12:34PM (#1120259)

    Just to explain a few things here:

    1) The guy was busted not only for linking to pornographic sites, but also for providing software that he had written that allows people to remove the "mosaic" used on the pr0n.

    2) Japanese courts are a little different to American courts - for a start, they're not quite so concerned about "setting precendents" for future judgements.

    3) In Japan, if you're busted for something, you're convicted. The conviction rate here is around 96%, so if the police take the trouble of arresting you, it generally means the court is gonna find you guilty, no matter what arguments your lawyer makes.

    4) It's pretty clear that the guy was aiding and abetting; it just happens that the form of the abetting was links to other HPs. In the States, that would probably get you off; in Japan, it's nothing more than a detail. The judge has not made a judgement regarding linking to other sites; he's made a judgement about this guy's culpability.

    BTW: I don't actually support this judgement (for one thing, I've used the guy's software (FL-Mask) and it's pretty cool), but once you get into a Japanese courtroom, not even God can save your ass if the judge thinks you're guilty.

  • No... It's just the final link, making 99.9999% of the pages out there that don't themselves contain illegal information still legal.
  • How can you be serious??? If a japanese citizen links to something, no matter where it is, that's illegal in japan, of course that would be illegal by their ruling. If a japanese citizen, on the otherhand, hand material that was illegal for viewing in china and a chinese resident linked to his/her page, they'ed be in no trouble unless China and Japan signed into a treaty of sorts...

    Use common sense... Even if the law doesn't appear to (though, unfortuatly, I kind of think it does)... The law says "don't link to illegal material from Japan." Very simple sentence. I don't think it would cause much confusion.
  • by Silver A ( 13776 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @12:17PM (#1120262)
    Therefore linking to a site that links to a site containing illegal material is also illegal. And since we all know you can reach anywhere on the web with 9 hops, the whole WWW is now illegal in Japan.

    Hmm. The way the decision was worded makes that unclear - strictly speaking the links site _owner_ was committing a crime, but the website itself isn't necessarily illegal. However, the reason the judge gave for convicting makes it likely that any site with external links will be illegal.

    The worst part is that the person putting up the link doesn't have to be aware of the illegal nature of the material to be committing a crime. This creates two problems

    • material that is not inherently illegal: Porn meeting certain standards is always illegal in Japan. However, a piece of music, a non-pornographic image, a text article, or a piece of software may be legal or illegal depending on the circumstances (copyright and license status). If I link to an on-line art gallery, and the owner is later busted for violating copyright, I'm in trouble, even though I did not know that the gallery was illegal.
    • Changes at the linked site: If I have a link to a risque, but not illegal-in-Japan site, and the owner changes his content so the site becomes illegal-in-Japan, I'm again in trouble, even though the site was legal when I created the link.

    Expect some changes to this ruling, to address these issues, if the Japanese legal system has any concept of justice or fairness.

  • Yeah, and I suppoe Smith & Wesson is aiding and abetting your local armed robber?

    And hey, Kodak is aiding and abetting your local kiddie pornographer?

    And Jon Johansen is aiding and abetting all those evil DVD pirates?

    Sure...let's not actually blame the criminal, it is not their fault they commited those crimes...
  • This ruling is not a legal precedent. It is a reductio ad absurdum of the concept of limiting information flow. Forget it. It's like the War on Drugs (This is your War. This is your War on Drugs) The cost of locking down the system will always be higher than the benefit obtained by eliminating the "harm".

    Maybe 500 years ago it made sense to try and protect citizens from information, but the Church eventually lost that battle. Now we're dredging the whole damn thing up again.

  • -- by selling FL Mask and creating links to sites where users could then employ it to view explicit pornographic images --
    This infers, that, in the past, one of the sites hosted illegal material, but surely the onus in on the user. If you choose to exploit software like this to remove imagemasks or download MP3s, the responsibility is yours. I think this is pretty much the crux of the napster case. Perhaps it is time for an epiphany, you are responsible for your own actions. Time to own up to that fact.
  • I think you might overvalue a trial's value in non-anglosaxon countries.
    Under English-derived law (is it called common law?) a court precedent has an high value in defining what a lawsuit's setting will be. A court ruling can also overthrow a law, I understand (I am no lawyer, so I might be completely wrong).

    Under Roman-law derived judicial systems, a precedent's value is a lot lower than that.
    I'll take Italy's judicial system as an example: there are three levels of ordinary justice: ordinary, appeal and supreme court, plus a constitutional court which only deals with law-related rulings. Justice courts (including the supreme court) can not overhrow a law, but only interpret it. At most, they can raise an incostitutionality objection ask for a judgment from the constitional court - unconstitutional and contradictory laws are canceled by the constitutional court. Precedents are only set at the supreme court level: while earlier judgements at the ordinary and appeal levels might be taken into account in rare cases (mostly dealing with new laws or new developments of science or technology which are not covered by the law), their value is almost none any at all.

    I'm not saying that in Japan the situation is like under Roman Right, just that you might be assuming that their judicial model is the same as in the US.
    It might be, or it might be something completely different, and thus a ruling in the case you cite might have no value in setting a precedent.
  • by Bald Wookie ( 18771 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @12:57PM (#1120267)
    Shouldnt they just be going after the publisher? After all, they are the ones that possess and serve up the offending materials in the first place. Cracking down on everyone else is like stomping on ants coming out of the anthill. Sure you wind up with some dead ants, but you never address the real problem. So what if the links make it easier for people to find the offending material? It also makes it easier for the authorities to find the original publisher. Cut off the head and the body dies. Don't waste your time arresting people who have not actually published illegal materials.

    The era of governments controlling access to information is over. Look at the US. We have some really nasty drug laws. Enforcement of these laws has been pretty swift and severe, and an increasingly large number of people have been incarcerated. Has this really stopped the drug cartels from muling tons of the stuff northward every day? Hell no! I still have to walk by people selling dope just to get to the 7-11 that gets robbed weekly so people can buy their next fix.

    You know what? Information is a lot more slippery than drugs. It has no mass, no odor, and can travel at the speed of light. It can be hidden or disguised to a mathematical near certainty. You only need one server to get the message out, not 300 mules with condoms full of coke in their stomachs. Once it is distributed, it can be replicated endlessly by the end user.

    You want to stop this? You think you can? The technical solutions will rise up and cut away at your authority permanently. Your best shot is being as permissive as possible, and then crucifying the publishers when appropriate. Getting all draconian will only drive it to the underground. You know, the underground of MILLIONS ala Napster. The tighter you grip at the information the more it will slip through your fingers. Wake up and start realizing what is going on here. We have the playbook for the 21st century and we can put your ass on the bench.

  • Take a site on geocities. If I am in Japan and link to something there, I really need to go visit that page every day. The site I originally linked to may have gone away and been replaced by a site that is illegal. Now, I would be breaking the law.

    For that matter this could happen anywhere (I use geocities as an example because of the high turnover). I had an account a long time ago on a server and had some stuff there I still find people linking to. The site has been gone for 4 years now. But it is very possible someone is going to come along and request that same account name, put something illegal up, and now those sites will be pointing to it.

    It's lunacy.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @11:47AM (#1120269)
    Therefore linking to a site that links to a site containing illegal material is also illegal.

    And since we all know you can reach anywhere on the web with 9 hops, the whole WWW is now illegal in Japan.

  • If banks were illegal, yes.

  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @12:09PM (#1120271)
    Buying/posessing cocaine is illegal. If you come to me looking for some nose garbage, and I say 'yeah. Go two doors down and ask for Rodney, he'll hook you up.' then technically, I *AM* committing a crime. I am aiding in the commission of a crime.

    If trafficking in a certain type of material is illegal, and you provide people with information as to how to obtain that material, then you are committing a crime. The proper response, in the eyes of the law, is to say 'Sir, that material is illegal. I cannot help you to obtain it.'.

  • what about I found a page linking to a site hosting illegal CSS info and DVD linux drivers from Yahoo. ( ecss) Does this mean that search engines are all illegal in Japan?

    It means that some court just opened up a legal can of worms that it will take lawyers a decade to straighten out --- and until it's straightened out, nobody knows the answer.

    There was a similar *effect* a few years ago in the US when the first cases involving suing ISPs for content came out --- there was a year or two where everyone was nervous about what the courts would decide, because you didn't know if, say, a company could be held liable for statements in posts to their corporate newsgroups.

    Eventually the law settled down, and a set of rules were established and disseminated, and most companies stopped worrying.

    In this case, the time to *start* worrying is now --- but there's no excuse for panic; no judge is going to rule search engines illegal, they're going to draw up some elaborately technical distinction between search engine links and normal links, and create a whole class of bizarrely detailed law about what sorts of sites fall on one side, and what sorts of sites fall on the other.
  • Probably to save the people searching for it from having to see a result for /. turn up.

  • A while ago, they tried to pass laws here making it illigal to post, or link to information about drug production. The catch, the information itself wasn't even illegal. It seems that the US government uses its 'war on drugs' to excuse just about every invasion of our rights that they can think of.
  • &amp; should work (&amp;lt;=&lt;, &amp;gt;=&gt;)It's a bitch, but oh well...Rob? Fix it? Please? :)
    Scott Jones
    Newscast Director / ABC19 WKPT
    Commodore 64 Democoder
  • The article says: The court's ruling means that if somebody creates a Web page that includes a link to another page, and if that other page is in violation of the law, then the person who creates the link can be charged with aiding and abetting the crime. This is regardless of whether or not they are aware of the illegality of the page they linked to.

    What does this mean for search engines/portals that operate in Japan, like Yahoo Japan? Do they have to check each site to make sure that it is not illegal under Japanese law? If someone changes their site so that it includes illegal material, after the link has already been up for a while, will Yahoo Japan be liable?

    I hope this precedent isn't adopted elsewere.


    Life is exciting, isn't it?
  • Um is DeCSS and such illegal in Japan? If not then it's not an issue. You guys have to get a clue here, remember: jurisdiction. A japanese court can decide just about anything it wants and unless I'm in Japan it doesn't matter.
  • This doesn't quite reach as far as the above title. 1. This isn't Japan, it is merely one district court in Japan. 2. This isn't just any link, there was a fairly close relationship, going both ways, between the web sites in question. 3. It wasn't the link alone, but the combination with the sale of software which allegedly aided and abetted criminal conduct. Even so, this, along with an apparent claim that this ruling was "constitutionally" required really makes one wonder what the actual ruling will do. I wonder if MacArthur had any idea?!
  • Japan supposedly has a legal system derived from the common law tradition, but this makes me doubt their adherance. A link to illegal content is illegal?!

    What if the link is established BEFORE the illegal content is posted. Common enough to link to the page of another, for some general purpose. Then there would be no criminal intent.

    Similarly, what if the content was made illegal after the link was made. This basically requires active editing on the part of a web page owner, and establishes "STRICT LIABILITY" for alleged unlawful content.

    I used to be a trial observer in Japan. Can't say I would want to be up against their criminal justice system! Certainly on something so sweeping as this law! If I were hosting, I sure wouldn't do it in Japan!

  • by Gen-GNU ( 36980 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @12:02PM (#1120280)

    The personal opinion of this journalist is that the judge has made an extremely appropriate decision.

    You gotta love objective journalism.

    Anyway, I believe that this is not as bad as it seemed when I read the blurb on /. The person here was making software that allowed people to view pornographic material. This was done by removing the masking done on web-sites to censor out the explicit part of images.

    This is clearly software designed against the 'spirit' of the anti-pornography laws Japan seems to have. This person is a citizen of Japan, and is therefore subject to their laws. He is also making money (it was shareware, which means you have to register, at a cost). IANAL, but if I were a judge in this case, I would find him guilty of SOMETHING for so doing things which so clearly violate the spirit of the laws Japan has made. (whether those laws are good or not is a seperate debate...)

    I am not saying that this decision, or indeed these laws are not something to get concerned about. This also does set legal precident that most of us would shudder over. However, this was a direct link, to an illegal site, by a person who was doing pseudo-legal activity himself. The various posts of 'now the whole net is illegal!' are extremely over-reactionary in this case.
  • Anywhere.

    Napster is definitely aiding and quite possibly abetting people commit copyright violations.

    While the penalty for a single count may be a small, there is no doubt that a million $100 fines add up. Let's not forget that $100 is far from the maximum possible fine. Under the Canadian Criminal Code (it's what I know, though IANAL), one who either aids or abets in a criminal act is just as liable as the one who commits it.

    The Osaka ruling changes nothing related to Napster, it simply brought the thought to my mind.


  • Your very educated opinion is taken into consideration, and rejected.

    Smith & Wesson was an example of a gun manufacturer, not the target of any particular animosity. Try retaking Reading Comp 101.


  • That's what I mean when I say it wouldn't work. Such a list wouldn't block the trading of illegal mp3's, but it would certainly make it harder, and show that the company is trying to prevent same.


  • The thing that defines the difference is that, simplified, with a gun you aim and pull the trigger. With a knife, you can certainly stab or slash just as easily, but unless you hit a particularly vulnerable spot, more than one attempt is necessary to kill a target.

    True, gunshots aren't always fatal either, but they are more likely to be so. Especially when using larger calibres.


  • The neck is one of those particularly vulnerable spots. The torso is protected somewhat by ribs, but the the heart and lungs would be another.

  • I didn't ever think about this angle, but suddenly Napster seems to be in a little more danger than they were.

  • No sense? I shall try to amend that.

    I'm not trying to create a debate on gun control, because people on either side have as much chance as an atheist trying to convert the Pope. (Face value on that, please.) Instead, could you provide for me an example of legal gun use in which there is truly no alternative to using a gun? Hunting is invalid, as we got by for millennia without firearms.

    Conversely... cameras, film and video both, serve a very useful purpose. (Guns - to kill, Cameras - momentos/distribution of facts, as in freedom of the press). Cameras are not a good analagy. The role of a camera has nothing to do with the role of a gun. Everything, with no exceptions whatsoever, can be used to cause harm in some manner or another. Does this mean that we should ban *everything*, sit in grassy fields all day with crossed legs, never moving, never speaking? Of course not.

    Are the manufacturers responsible for whenever a product can be used illegally? No. Are the manufacturers responsible when the product's primary use is illegal and they make no bones about it? Yes.

    Napster has apparently removed a couple user accounts associated with illegal usage. That's .006% down, all but .01% to go.

    Do you think Napster should remain online, knowing that 99% of their traffic is illegal, and that "legal use" is effectively unenforcable? If I've not responded to your question in the last few paragraphs satisfactorily, let me know.


  • Re: War

    I liked what someone said would be a good deterent to people making DoS attacks on the internet. Make it simple to take out the entire internet. For the first few months, it'll be out almost non-stop. People will realise that this is stupid and stop knocking it out. Later, it'll go every now and then, but with less and less frequency as time goes by. Eventually, it never happens. Analagy: Nukes (the fact that there are enough to kill us all 100 times over not withstanding) Give everyone a nuke. Sure, NYC and Washington DC will be toast in seconds, but after the initial half million years of nuclear winter, people will know better.

    If nukes were outlawed, only outlaws would have nukes.

    You're sugesting that guns are necessary for suicide? Rather messier than say, too many sleeping pills, no? The government thing - I think it's paranoia, others beg to differ. I'll accept it as valid given current world affairs, although certain Cuban-Americans are being quite undemocratic without the aid of any firearms.

    If lawyers were outlawed, only outlaws would have lawyers?

    Noting that almost all of this is unrelated to Napster... I strongly agree with the statement that there is a constructive use for virtually everything, adding to it that like its opposite, you can likely get away with an absolute.

    Ideally, we would need no laws about anything, let alone keeping items restricted. However, given the realities, it is sometimes necessary. On the other hand, I feel that anti-drug laws hurt society much more than they help. (This idea has gotten a fair bit of press in Canada lately for some reason or another).

    The problem with going after individuals using Napster is that the software is designed to make it somewhat complicated to track one down. Was Napster created with the intent that it be used illegally. Probably not outright, but the fact that right from the start they had a disclaimer about this meant they knew it would be. Have they taken action? They've made a token effort, but if they *really* meant for their service to be used legally only, they would have implemented a filter that blocked out any mp3 containing an artist name that belongs to one of the big record companies. That would be considered due dilligence, and not subject to the "filter usenet, you take responsibility for what you let by" story.


  • The thing about a revolution is that whichever side the US Army fights for, it will win. Technology, as well as the fact that they are very well equipped with it, means that a single regular is the equivalent of at the very least several irregulars.

    A blacklist, and smaller artists who are not on this list. Presumably, any artist who so desired could submit to Napster that they do in fact produce music, and do not want it traded. Add their name to the list. I don't believe that such a list would really work, but it is certainly an example of the measures which were open to them.

    The interesting thing is that apparently the RIAA has said that they aren't going to go after users. C'est la vie.


  • To this, I must respond, as I see there may be some abiguity about my post.

    People are responsible for their own damned actions. Don't try to blame it on society, the media, your parents, peer pressure, or anything else. This does not mean, however, that I should be able to walk away after supplying a friend with a gun, knowing he intends to shoot someone. Mens Rea is present.

    Gun manufacturers aren't directly responsible for deaths caused by guns. On the other hand, these guns wouldn't be there without the manufacturers and they are therefore indirectly responsible. The lawsuits against gunmakers on deaths should be thrown out of court. (Likewise with smoking. Can't smokers read warning labels that first said smoking is harmful, later that smoking kills?)

    That is the point.


  • I did not intend for that line to be taken as saying the primary use of guns was illegal, but to suggest that Napster, known to be primarily used for illegal purposes could be argued to be such a product. However, I will respond to your points. Sport is, well, sport. Harmless fun nearly by definition. Quite unobjectionable on its own merits, although other methods to both hunt and fire projectiles at targets exist. A not-really-valid hyperbolic analagy would be the choice to juggle either balls, beanbags, or little baggies filled with cocaine.

    In both England and Japan, effective policing takes place without arms, but then, the people are not armed either. Another hyperbolic example: Have we heard of a black man named Amadou who was bonked by a billy club 41 times because he reached for a wallet? (I think that too big a deal was made of this, btw, even as I contribute to it)

    And finally, self defense. Does one need a gun to defend oneself when the intruder doesn't have a gun? In some cases, sure. Some people are both bigger and faster than others. Yet it takes a much more conscious effort to kill or maim with bare hands than with a gun; I suppose the end result is the same, though. Rape defense/prevention? Random "in a dark alley" rape is not very common. Orders of magnitude less so than rape by a known individual. I certainly wouldn't want to be shot if I were a big, scruffy guy, tapping a frightened woman on the shoulder to hand her something that fell out of her purse in lower class neighborhood. A simple scream for help can be forgiven much more easily. In other cases, having a gun isn't going to be enough defense. Multiple armed home invaders aren't going to be very amused by resistance. Guns tend to make the stakes escalate. In a confrontation between two armed parties, how often will someone back down in the heat of the moment? At least with knifes, the chances are that they'll only wound one another.

    I think it highly unlikely that either one of us can convert the other to the opposite way of thinking, but if you'd like to continue the discussion, I am quite happy to. Now that this article is several hours old and not controversial in any real way, it seems fairly unlikely to blow up into some great flamewar. Excuse the bad hyperbole in place of arguments up above, but I saw your comment just on my way to bed and don't want to put that off for much longer.


  • With regards to automobiles... They are brought up when talking about gun control quite regularly, but I don't know that it is really so pandemic a problem.

    Deaths related to automobiles are generally referred to as 'accidents'. Even in cases where the driver was drunk, it is called an accident the whole while as the driver is on trial. With guns, the similar incidents are called manslaughter. Allowing those, we still have many cases of murder in both the 1st and 2nd degrees.

    That picture is certainly a good one to support that argument, no? The police in England do have access to firearms, but they don't carry them with them while patrolling. It would be silly to not be armed when in a standoff with armed suspects, though. Therefore, they are armed in that picture. Necessity begs it. I did notice that the article said guns could be had for as little as £200. That's a fair price, compared to North America. Of course, the fact that they're illegal helps drive it up somewhat.

    The rest of your points are quite reasonable, though you'll usually have more luck outrunning a knife than a bullet. That's just a quibble, though.

    The other inevitable problem with restricting guns in any way is that there are more guns per capita squirrelled away in the US than in Ireland. (And may the ceasefire continue, in the very least)


  • by legoboy ( 39651 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @01:38PM (#1120293)

    With regards to Smith & Wesson, I personally believe yes, but enough people feel otherwise to prevent it from going through. Not too many people who commit armed robberies (with guns) are capable of manufacturing their own weapons. An armed individual with a knife or baseball bat can be disarmed without casualties many times more often than a gunman.

    Kiddie porn. For all the millions of time this gets mentioned, it isn't a major problem. Besides - you seem to like guns by your tone. If one in ten thousand guns is used for a crime (I'm sure it's much higher), one in ten million cameras is used for child porn.

    Finally, DeCSS. You seem to be making many incorrect asumptions about me, but I will give you the benefit of doubt and assume you understand that DeCSS allows the playing of DVDs, and that before it was released, bit-for-bit copies of DVDs could be made. That it is truly so hard for someone to find a lawyer who will go in and provide this fact and end the controversy related to it, shocks me. That DeCSS may or may not be illegal because it goes around the DVD consortium's player lisencing is another matter, and is the core of the matter.

    Back to the numbers game, though. With Napster, it is more likely a ten thousand to one ratio of illegal to legal mp3s. To argue otherwise is silly.


  • Say you link to a page that doesn't contain illegal material, but is part of a whole system that contains other pages that are illegal? Or have I just defined the internet?

    This ruling is silly.
  • Let me throw this out for an example then.

    Assume I'm Japanaese and say I'm an Anime fan and I have a web page that has links to other fan sites. Say one of those sites begins to add illegal things on it. Like pirated videos, hentai (XXX stuff), etc. But those things weren't there when I originally linked to it. But, hey, we get busy and can't keep our pages up to date. Am I now responsible?

    I realize the true intent here may be to prevent direct linking like many MP3 sites do. ie.) "I only have links to these files. None of them reside on my server/site."

    So, what is to keep Japanese from obtaining sites elsewhere in the world anonymously. The only enforceability of this would be for servers hosting data (or I guess hosting the links to the data) that physically reside on Japanese soil. Or, I suppose that if a foreign site could be linked to ownership by a Japanese citizen that may be enforceable.

    I am glad I'm a U.S. citizen. As messed up as things may seem over here, we are still pretty damn hard-core when it comes to freedom of speech. (Let's keep that up BTW.)

    This all seems to me like corporate marshall law. Bring on the one world government, right? That way they'll make us all abide by the same rules. Screw that. Who's money is it anyway? I don't understand why companies just want to keep growing and growing. It's got to be those rich fsckers at the top doing all this crap. Enough of my ranting. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for Australia too.
  • Sigh...

    I knew this would happen, and I'll try to find the article on it, but it was published on more than one Website fairly recently. Unfortunately, these were video game Websites, and searching their archives is a chore, but I'll try...

    Ok, here's one, Japanese Game Makers File Suit [], it's from 1998. It may after you lived there that they made it illegal, or just after that they decided to crackdown on it. I suppose it is also possible that this article is a hoax, but I'm guessing it's legit because I remember seeing it more than one place when it came out.

  • by ronfar ( 52216 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @11:54AM (#1120301) Journal
    ...a creative and intellegent citizenry... controlled by a nasty, repressive, corrupt and unethically pro-corporate government.

    It's also illegal to sell used video tapes and video games in Japan, so, basically, I think it is more or less the kind of corporate Hell the Multinationals want to turn the US into. We're still ahead of Japan in this area, our corrupt, unethically pro-corporate government still takes baby steps toward destroying our freedom... (See Article) [] where it seems the Japanese government already thinks freedom is for corporations and the government, not people.

    I feel sorry for the citizens of Japan, who produce some of my favorite creative works, that they have to live under such an evil government.

  • If you come to me looking for some nose garbage, and I say 'yeah. Go two doors down and ask for Rodney, he'll hook you up.' then technically, I *AM* committing a crime. I am aiding in the commission of a crime. Is it a crime because you are knowingly aiding someone in breaking the law or because you are potentially aiding someone in breaking the law? A friend of mine once lived next to a crack house and he told me that his neighbor ran a crack house, was it illegal for him to tell me the location of a crack house, or would it only be illegal if I had asked him where I could get crack? If the later, then a web page wouldn't violate the law since the web page has no knowledge of whether or not you want to break the law.
  • Here [] is another problem. The PM wants to ban all Internet gambling sites based in Australia.

    Here is a pertinent quote from an executive of an ominously named Australian online gambling firm:
    "What it might do is encourage Australian players to move offshore because the Internet obviously does not have any geographical boundaries," Bill Forburn, chief executive of Goldens Caskets Interactive Gold, told reporters.

  • It's also illegal to sell used video tapes and video games in Japan

    That's odd. When I lived in Japan 4 years ago, I got all my games in used game stores.

    Not only that, but at the university I attended, Proffessors photocopied the texts and handed them out to the students so we wouldn't have to buy the books. There were shops where you could rent CD's, with copious supplies of blank tapes and MD's for taping the rentals. I don't know if it's because I was living in a rural area or what, but protection of IP and copyright material didn't seem oppressive at all.
  • Anybody who thinks that the US Code is the most draconian must be seriously stoned. In many countries, you really wouldn't, say, want to publicly make the same kind of cracks about the Government that Leno and others can make freely every weeknight in front of the nation...
  • This comment is misleading at best. The government of Japan may be extremely pro-corporate but they are no more repressive and corrupt thatn any other government (IMO). Japan is an extremely free country, the impression of repression comes most from social restraints which are not as restrictive as most outsiders seem to think. And if selling used items is illegal it certainly doesn't stop millions of people from doing it. These thoughts come from my 1 year of living in Tokyo, YMMV.
  • Mr. Kiuchi was not convicted of linking to an illegal web site, he was convicted of aiding and abetting The Japanese legal system is not as concerned with precedents as the US system. This does not make all links to illegal sites illegal in Japan Even if it did, there is no reason a link to a link should be illegal. The main concern here is that links for your web site could aid in you getting convicted for a crime, but this is proabably true in most countries. The moral of the story is, if you're going to flaut a grey area of the law be more discreet. Since when do people need help finding porn of the internet anyway?
  • Hmm.... they can't stop a US company (or other non-Japanese companies) from linking to illegal material -- so what are they trying to accomplish? Seems pretty useless because it's so simple to get a account offshore and host elsewhere.

    I suppose the only effect that will have is they won't be able to register .JP sites that link to illegal material, and will be forced to use .COM/.NET/.ORG like the rest of us. And of course more business for US hosting firms.

    OOOH... they could still keep their normal sites, link to an offshore site that contains links to illegal material. =) It's a battle the governement can't win!

  • When you distribute, you actively spend effort to give out the goods. Linking is just telling someone where the goods are; they have to go get the goods themselves. While it is very very easy for the user to click on the link, it is still the end user that takes action to obtain the goods; you have not touched or in any way moved the goods yourself. For instance: you witness robbers take bags of stolen money from a bank and hide it in a nearby park. You then tell someone where you saw the money being dumped, and that it is stolen. No matter who you told, you have not done anything illegal, even though it is trivial for the people you tell to help themselves to stolen property. ("Aiding" theft is another matter - but if you do not spend every possible effort to track down the robbers and arrest them, then relative to what you could be doing, you are technically "aiding" the robbers' escape.)
  • Yup, but linking is a totally different thingy. By your analogy, if I put an arrow-sign with the text "Go there" on the street, and if a drug dealer happens to move into the house the arrow is pointing at, I become a criminal. I sure hope not.
  • That's a pretty theory you have. But do you mean 'illegal' or 'immoral'? I mean, lets look at everyone's favorite example: DeCSS.

    I mean illegal. Whether or not it is immoral, if it is illegal, it should not be there. I take issue with the laws that exist, but I am not going to get myself heavily fined or thrown in jail breaking bad laws. I will continue to keep my mp3 collection, harbor a copy of DeCSS [], and do many other things that are probably illegal, but if push comes to shove, I would probably back down if faced with the alternatives of hefty fines that I can't pay or jail time. There are more important things. Call me sellout if you like, but I have my priorities.

    To get back on topic, the issue is not one of morals. I don't really care what people do on their own time, but if there is a law against it, I see there as being three options:
    1. Go somewhere where it is not illegal.
    2. Try to change the law.
    3. Break the law.
      1. Living in the US, we have effectivly taken the first option. The protesters in DC are taking both the second and third. This Japaneese case seems to be mostly the third.

      2. We may not like the laws that exist, but if we break them, it seems that we must be prepared to take the consequences.

    Vikhozhu odin ya na darogu;
    Skvoz' tuman kremnisti put' blectit;
    Noch' tikha. Pystinya vnemlet bogu,
  • by the phantom ( 107624 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @11:55AM (#1120352) Homepage
    It seems to me that, in theory, "illegal" material should not be on the internet (again, in theory, that does not mean in the real world). In a sense, linking to another's site is a form of distributing that material, thus illegal. It seems to me that this descision is not the problem, but rather the underlying laws. Perhaps we should instead aim our hostilities at the Japaneese laws that outlaw pornography.

    note: this is honestly not meant as a troll or flamebait; if you think I am wrong (which I very well could be), please try to explain why in a rational and polite fashion -- I don't swear at you, I would like the same curtiousy (pardon my poor spelling)
    Vikhozhu odin ya na darogu;
    Skvoz' tuman kremnisti put' blectit;
    Noch' tikha. Pystinya vnemlet bogu,
  • forced to use .COM/.NET/.ORG like the rest of us

    Just a point, but the .com/.net/.org TLD's are non-geographic. The only important thing is the place where your server is hosted. Someone could register a .com site and host it on a Japanese based server, and still get clobered by this ruling.
  • by Vanders ( 110092 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @11:50AM (#1120356) Homepage
    Does this rulling apply to deep linking, or only the first tier of links? If it's deep linking, then i can see a large number of .jp sites disapearing overnight.

    First the Dr Godfrey / Demon thing in the UK, now this. I just seriously hope this doesn't become a world-wide trend.
  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Thursday April 20, 2000 @12:11PM (#1120357) Homepage Journal
    what about []? I found a page linking to a site hosting illegal CSS info and DVD linux drivers from Yahoo. ( ecss) Does this mean that search engines are all illegal in Japan?
  • What about linking to a site that links to a site that hosts illegal material? Is that going to be illegal? If thats the case, and I link to google, and google links to illegal material, then can I be prosecuted? What about 3 or 4 links down the chain? If that is the case, then almost anyone could be prosecuted if you follow the link tree far enough, if it isn't, then all you have to do is link to a dummy page to that links to the site that links to the illegal stuff. Either way, this law is flawed. (I won't even go into the merit of the law, or in this case, the lack thereof).
  • You...are wrong.
    I could run into six volumes of expletive laced're not worth my time.

    You are an ignorant slave-in-waiting.
    Or simply an uncreative jokester.

    Quick...go buy a notebook so that you can write down the transgressions of your neighbors so that you can report them to the authorities.

    You are an ape that wears clothes and begs for food.
    I am a thinking being. We have nothing in common.
  • Well, if some judge in America's Dairyland can rule that cracking tools are theives tools [], then I suppose Japanese sysadmins can kiss Full Disclosure good-bye.

    Think about it, one minute you're emailing one of your buds to tell them they better patch the server, here's a link to SecurityFocus. Next minute, they're cutting a hole in your ceiling and SWAT enters your pad via a portable fire pole.

    I suppose the end result will be that .jp will become the cyberspace eqivalent of Mc Donalds Playland for the script kiddiez.

  • Cool, Slashdot now eats markup in preview as opposed to just messing up entites. Here's my comment with markup so that's it's more readable.

    If what you say is correct, that what the judge MEANT to do was saying that providing links to material that you are aware is illegal (creating a database of links to illegal sites) then that is illegal.

    In other words, if I had a database of all the places where you could learn to make bombs on the Web, then that page would be illegal - it's links which are SUPPOSED to be to illegal sites. However, if on my link page, I have a link to a site which just happens to decide to post, oh, I don't know, DeCSS, than that would not be illegal, as I was not actively promoting the link as illegal.

    I could be wrong though. Also, IANAJL (J = Japanese, figure the rest out :)), so I might be understanding this wrong. I can say that based on what you said, if such a ruling was passed in the US (and IANAL here either), then linking to sites which happened to have illegal content would not be criminal. But compiling a large list of illegal sites would be.

  • Certainly looking for illegal material using a search engine will create links to illegal material. Would this ruling make Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek and such responsible for the links that they provide as a result of a query?
  • I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion given the other posts, but here I go:

    * The person hosting the site that was linked to was convicted of a criminal act in japan by hosting the site, before the person linking to it was taken to court. Reading the article, it is clear that the linker would not have been taken to court if the first lawsuit did not go through.

    * The link was only part of the legal argument against the linker. The linker provided a tool to allow the porn site to commit a crime, and advertising in the form of a link so that the site's crime could reach a wider audience. It was clear that the intent of the tool was to facilitate a crime.

    This does not seem to set a drastic precedent - it was clear that it was the intent of the site to aid criminal acts, and the site provided a tool that made criminal acts possible that would have otherwise been impossible. This could be compared to a site that provides the address of and blueprints of a house and security alarm codes to break in. If someone used the information and tools (the codes) to break in, then the site would have aided and abetted a criminal act.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.