Interesting Japanese file-sharing case

[Hat tip to Colette for alerting me to this case.]

From Japan, there are reports of a recent decision in a criminal prosecution against the creator of the file-sharing software Winny. From this article we learn that Isamu Kaneko has been ordered to pay 1.5 million yen (almost $13,000 USD) as a fine for creating the software, even though “the court acknowledged that [Kaneko] did not actively encourage copyright infringements over the Internet.”

A holding like this is likely to elicit comparisons between Japan’s framework for secondarily liability and that of the United States, where the law of the land under the Grokster holding calls for liability when one distributes “a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement.”