Japanese BitTorrent User Avoids Virus, But Not the Police

A 31-year old Japanese man has admitted to uploading 3 TV-shows and sharing 165 more on BitTorrent after he was arrested by Tokyo Police's Cyber Crime unit. In his confession the man told the investigators that he used BitTorrent because he believed it was free of viruses and police. He was proven wrong on the latter.

winnyTraditionally, Japanese file-sharers prefer the Winny network over BitTorrent, but the latter has been steadily growing over the last years up to several million users.

This download trend has not gone unnoticed by the local police either, who recently arrested an unemployed man for sharing 165 TV-shows on BitTorrent.

The 31-year old Shuichiro Tanaka was arrested by Tokyo Police’s Cyber Crime unit and was charged with recording and uploading 3 TV-shows in early June. According to reports, Tanaka also shared 165 more TV-shows between February and July this year.

The videos the man shared on BitTorrent were mainly Japanese variety shows such as “Waratte Iitomo” and “Genius! Shimura Zoo.” According to the police, this is the first time that someone was arrested for copyright infringement on BitTorrent in Japan.

Tanaka has confessed to the charges and stated that he used BitTorrent to avoid running into viruses and the police.

“I did it for people who missed the TV-shows. Because there is a potential for viruses on Winny and others, I used BitTorrent, which I heard police weren’t investigating,” Tanaka told the police while pleading guilty.

Unlike on BitTorrent, viruses are both prevalent and quite aggressive on the Winny network. One virus that surfaced three years ago was specifically targeted at file-sharers and threatened to report them to the police, or kill them if they continued sharing.

Although this is the first arrest of a BitTorrent user, it is certainly not the first file-sharing related case. Last year, a 33-year old Japanese man was arrested for uploading the movie ‘Wanted’ to the Winny network before its Japanese theatrical release. He was later sentenced to two years in prison.

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