Japanese Teen Arrested Over Wii-Modding Software

Japanese Teen Arrested Over Wii-Modding Software

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A 19-year-old student has been arrested for hosting Wii-modding software on his blog.

The Saitama prefectural police force announced the arrest of the unnamed Kyoto college student on Tuesday. He's being charged with violating the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, which was recently amended to attach criminal penalties to "the act of providing devices to circumvent technology restriction measures." The Japanese police force's Cyber Crime Unit claims that the suspect uploaded the software - which allows users to bypass the Wii's copy protection without having to crack open the case and risk accidentally soldering their fingers together - hence "softmodding" - to his blog on the 28th of February, and that the software had been downloaded some 6,500 times in the following three months.

The police believe the suspect, who's apparently claimed to have made a less-than-stellar 200,000 yen ($2,500) from the ads on his site over the past 18 months, isn't tech savvy enough to have created the software himself. His blog did however, contain information and instructions on how to physically modify a Wii console to play unauthorized software.

Earlier this year, two Japanese men were arrested under the same law. One for physically modding Wiis and the other for selling flash cards for the Nintendo DS. Both of those cases involved money changing hands, whereas the suspect in this current case provided no services or goods, and made his money from advertising, making his arrest a first in Japan according to police.

Source: Asahi Via Wired

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Looking forward to more bullshit like this in the future.

Isn't posting information and instructions on how to physically modify a Wii console to play unauthorized software a service?

So...yeah...

I mean, I 'get it', but minus the ad revenue I don't see the big deal.

It's like arresting someone who posts a blog on where the best pot dealers are at.

Sure, not the smartest thing, but handing out the information and actually DOING the act is kind of...well...different.
Right?

Then again, this IS Japan, where 'Rapeman' is okay but you'd better censor those vaginas...OR ELSE!

Wait...

How does modding a Wii go under "unfair competition", exactly?

(Of course, it's not out of the ordinary that these acts have terribly inaccurate names.)

The question is whether or not what the kid was doing is illegal.
Bypassing copy protection is definitely illegal, but is telling people how illegal?
If it is illegal, then the PoPos were just doing their job, and there's no problem with that, but why would it be illegal?
It is legal to teach someone killing theory, but actually killing people is another matter. I would think this follows the same principle.

Of course, Japan is not America, as most countries aren't. We Americans are aloud to carry dangerous weapons with permits, while most people aren't even aloud to own dangerous weapons. So I guess it would follow that most countries have harsher laws than we do.

TIMESWORDSMAN:
Of course, Japan is not America, as most countries aren't. We Americans are aloud to carry dangerous weapons with permits, while most people aren't even aloud to own dangerous weapons. So I guess it would follow that most countries have harsher laws than we do.

Not at all, the american legal system is way worse than many other places, it's just that you've got a couple of odd exceptions (like gun laws).

He wasn't arrested for saying how to do it, but hosting the software needed to do that and for earning money on it.
And I'm fine with that. He was earning on something that is illegal and hosting software that is illegal.
But I think that the tutorial is ok. It shouldn't be illegal.

You can find tutorials of how to make a dirty bomb and it's legal, so why would a tutorial of something like this be illegal.

Well, if the kid got busted for selling a software intended to crack the Wii in order to play pirated games, I can get behind this, sort of. One thing is to play a pirate game, another is to make a profit out of it.

"It's not so bad," a guy I know said to me. "I know the law seems a bit much, but you got to understand the Japanese. They like the status quo, and this is too big a change. They'll just look the other way."

Yeah, how's that working out for you?

This is a very dangerous precedent that has now been set for our Japanese cousins. They no longer own their own consoles and can be arrested for modifying their own property. What else could this law mean for them? Can't modify their cars? Can't change the hard drive in their PVR? I have no respect for laws like this.

nikomas1:

TIMESWORDSMAN:
Of course, Japan is not America, as most countries aren't. We Americans are aloud to carry dangerous weapons with permits, while most people aren't even aloud to own dangerous weapons. So I guess it would follow that most countries have harsher laws than we do.

Not at all, the american legal system is way worse than many other places, it's just that you've got a couple of odd exceptions (like gun laws).

Interesting, would you elaborate?

And this is what we get if we allow stuff like SOPA to happen. People getting arrested for changing a product they allready bought.

What comes next? Oldtimer fans being arrested because they replace an old motor of a car with a newer better one? Or getting arrested because they put in a new stereo?

well shit.. half of my blog post are like this, should I be worried.. oh wait I live in the states.

Karadalis:
And this is what we get if we allow stuff like SOPA to happen. People getting arrested for changing a product they allready bought.

What comes next? Oldtimer fans being arrested because they replace an old motor of a car with a newer better one? Or getting arrested because they put in a new stereo?

Yes because those people are horrible monsters and should take what's sold to them/sarcasm.

Sounds like a japanese Geohot, now for the Wii network to go offline for a while and lawsuits to happen. We've been through this before, now we get to watch history repeat.

Well, as far as I know, Wii modding isn't new, it's been there for almost as long as the console iteself.

I say this is bullshit, I refuse to belive that modding a Wii is ilegal by itself, but also, people interested in modding the console aren't precisely interested in using innofensive homebrew applications.

But also, I absolutely don't understand japanese politics and laws, so yeah.

People got arrested for Xbox and PS modding, it was only a matter of time till we hear the news about Wii in the same manner. Noting new, companies being asses but not allowing people to modify products they own.

Karadalis:
And this is what we get if we allow stuff like SOPA to happen. People getting arrested for changing a product they allready bought.

What comes next? Oldtimer fans being arrested because they replace an old motor of a car with a newer better one? Or getting arrested because they put in a new stereo?

It isn't so much the modding itself that is the issue its the fact that the modding is used to play pirated games and that he was making money from advertising on a site telling people how to get pirated games to work.

TIMESWORDSMAN:

nikomas1:

TIMESWORDSMAN:
Of course, Japan is not America, as most countries aren't. We Americans are aloud to carry dangerous weapons with permits, while most people aren't even aloud to own dangerous weapons. So I guess it would follow that most countries have harsher laws than we do.

Not at all, the american legal system is way worse than many other places, it's just that you've got a couple of odd exceptions (like gun laws).

Interesting, would you elaborate?

America has the largest prison population in the world (with nowhere near the largest population) and the highest percentage of its population in prison, in the world (0.8% of Americans are incarcerated compared with, for example, 0.06% of Japanese!).

KingsGambit:
This is a very dangerous precedent that has now been set for our Japanese cousins. They no longer own their own consoles and can be arrested for modifying their own property. What else could this law mean for them? Can't modify their cars? Can't change the hard drive in their PVR? I have no respect for laws like this.

If I recall correctly, modifying a car's internals has been illegal in Japan for quite some time. People do it regardless, but a car won't pass it JCI(Japanese Compulsory Insurance) inspection that you have to get every 2 years. I think most people that mod cars in Japan either return it to stock for that inspection, or find some shady garage that "passes" the inspection without really looking at it.

TIMESWORDSMAN:
-snip-

That's not the point, this would be like if Walmart sold you a book, and you weren't allowed to read it unless you sat on a Walmart chair, using a Walmart lamp, that had a Walmart light bulb and you had to store your book on a Walmart shelf. While you can see why companies like Walmart want that sort of thing, its terribly anti consumerist. The modding, hacking and homebrew communities are the people who make sure that the consumer side of the tech industry has any relevance and pull. I'd rather have a future where anyone is able to add whatever features they want to any device they own, rather than a future where someone isn't allowed to understand or even touch the processes their devices use. The later would result in poorer security (white hat hackers are really the ones who make security that much better) and, given that robotic limbs are in the very near future, if the manufacturer or retailer thinks you've missed a payment, they can force your robot legs to walk you to the dealer ship, or your arm to just fill out the transaction for you.

Cartographer:

America has the largest prison population in the world (with nowhere near the largest population) and the highest percentage of its population in prison, in the world (0.8% of Americans are incarcerated compared with, for example, 0.06% of Japanese!).

you can blame the war on drugs for that.

drthmik:

Cartographer:

America has the largest prison population in the world (with nowhere near the largest population) and the highest percentage of its population in prison, in the world (0.8% of Americans are incarcerated compared with, for example, 0.06% of Japanese!).

you can blame the war on drugs for that.

True, with all it's racist anti-black, anti-hispanic undertones, it's to blame for a large percentage of the prison population. Still doesn't change or justify the facts.

Cartographer:

TIMESWORDSMAN:

nikomas1:
Not at all, the american legal system is way worse than many other places, it's just that you've got a couple of odd exceptions (like gun laws).

Interesting, would you elaborate?

America has the largest prison population in the world (with nowhere near the largest population) and the highest percentage of its population in prison, in the world (0.8% of Americans are incarcerated compared with, for example, 0.06% of Japanese!).

True, but Japan has a 95% conviction rate. Talk about brutal.

ivc392:
Well, if the kid got busted for selling a software intended to crack the Wii in order to play pirated games, I can get behind this, sort of. One thing is to play a pirate game, another is to make a profit out of it.

Is it really that hard to read the article?

I just want to know why someone would bother modifying a Wii in the first place.

But even so, this is pretty outrageous. First they ban the custom anime figurines, now system modding.

Glad I don't live there.

Rainboq:

TIMESWORDSMAN:
-snip-

That's not the point, this would be like if Walmart sold you a book, and you weren't allowed to read it unless you sat on a Walmart chair, using a Walmart lamp, that had a Walmart light bulb and you had to store your book on a Walmart shelf. While you can see why companies like Walmart want that sort of thing, its terribly anti consumerist. The modding, hacking and homebrew communities are the people who make sure that the consumer side of the tech industry has any relevance and pull. I'd rather have a future where anyone is able to add whatever features they want to any device they own, rather than a future where someone isn't allowed to understand or even touch the processes their devices use. The later would result in poorer security (white hat hackers are really the ones who make security that much better) and, given that robotic limbs are in the very near future, if the manufacturer or retailer thinks you've missed a payment, they can force your robot legs to walk you to the dealer ship, or your arm to just fill out the transaction for you.

Modding and circumventing copy protection are two different things. I'm behind every thing you say, but I feel it has little to do with my intended meaning.

Cartographer:

TIMESWORDSMAN:

nikomas1:
Not at all, the american legal system is way worse than many other places, it's just that you've got a couple of odd exceptions (like gun laws).

Interesting, would you elaborate?

America has the largest prison population in the world (with nowhere near the largest population) and the highest percentage of its population in prison, in the world (0.8% of Americans are incarcerated compared with, for example, 0.06% of Japanese!).

Be fair, Japan's court system is famously awful, but I get your point.

TIMESWORDSMAN:

Rainboq:

TIMESWORDSMAN:
-snip-

That's not the point, this would be like if Walmart sold you a book, and you weren't allowed to read it unless you sat on a Walmart chair, using a Walmart lamp, that had a Walmart light bulb and you had to store your book on a Walmart shelf. While you can see why companies like Walmart want that sort of thing, its terribly anti consumerist. The modding, hacking and homebrew communities are the people who make sure that the consumer side of the tech industry has any relevance and pull. I'd rather have a future where anyone is able to add whatever features they want to any device they own, rather than a future where someone isn't allowed to understand or even touch the processes their devices use. The later would result in poorer security (white hat hackers are really the ones who make security that much better) and, given that robotic limbs are in the very near future, if the manufacturer or retailer thinks you've missed a payment, they can force your robot legs to walk you to the dealer ship, or your arm to just fill out the transaction for you.

Modding and circumventing copy protection are two different things. I'm behind every thing you say, but I feel it has little to do with my intended meaning.

Actually, modding is the practice of adding features to an existing product, so in a way it can break copy right (things like cracks are considered mods).

 

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