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My original abstract

April 1, 2010

This is how my original thesis abstract went. We’ll find out how closely I keep to this original idea soon enough! I’ll be done with everything on May 7!

The rapid growth of Internet use in developed nations has led to increasing concern by copyright holders over the unauthorized transfer of their works online. With a focus on popular entertainments, I wish to investigate government and industry reactions to the steadily growing popularity of peer-to-peer file sharing on the Japanese Internet. This project will examine the rise of peer to peer file sharing in Japan and the resulting legal concerns and international and domestic pressures that arrived with it. Of particular interest will be music, television, and video game Internet piracy. Additionally, I will examine government (laws) and industry (digital rights management) strategies to curb piracy.

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P2P/IP Cases of Interest (Thesis Notes)

April 1, 2010

Pre-2000

1999 – “Pokemon dojinshi incident” – Kyoto prefectural police arrest a dojinshi artist. She serves 22 days in detention and pays a fine of less than $1000. She also lost her job and her home (Mehra, 12 in his 2004 article, “Software as Crime”).

2001

Early 2001 – WinMX released by Frontcode Technologies (American company). Program could handle double byte languages (like Japanese).

Sometime around here: Limewire released. Capable of handling Japanese characters from fairly early on. (More here, must find other sources for this.)

November 1, 2001 – MMO Japan Company makes File Rogue available to the public (Leitner, 15). File Rogue was a for-profit, file sharing program with a centralized server used to share music files.

November 28, 2001 – WinMX – 2 Students arrested by Kyoto High Tech Police for sharing business software. More here and here.

2002

Isamu Kaneko (Mr. 47) develops Winny (Honjo, 7), exact date unknown att.

February 28, 2002 – MMO Japan sued by JASRAC and RIAJ.

2003

January 2003 – Temporary injunction against MMO Japan

June 6, 2003 – Nintendo wins Hong Kong flash card case. Info here.

August 2003 – Antininny discovered on Winny

November 27, 2003 – Yoshihiro Inoue (41) and 19-year-old arrested for copyright infringement via Winny. Info here and here and here. Accused of uploading games and a movie.
Isamu Kaneko’s home is searched and the Winny source code is confiscated by Kyoto Police.

December 17, 2003 – Court ruling against MMO Japan, permanent injunction issued by Tokyo District Court.

2004

March 2004 – First news of data leakage incident due to Antininny – file belonging to a member of the Kyoto Prefectural Police Agency on his personal computer (Orita and Murata, 165).

May 2004 – Isamu Kaneko arrested by High-tech Crime Taskforce of the Kyoto Prefectural Police

Sometime after his arrest, Share is released anonymously. No date for that att.

June 2004 – Kaneko released on bail.

September 2004 – Kaneko’s court hearings start at Kyoto district court

March 31, 2005 – Tokyo High Court upholds ruling against MMO Japan.

2006

Numbers of media-reported data leakage through P2P malware incidents rises to 200 this year (Honjo, 7 – look at table on page 8 for list of examples, Orita & Murata, 165). Leaked files include sex crime victims, yakuza member names, traffic violators, power plant data, etc, etc.

July 2006 – RIAJ reports that the user rate for file-sharing software rises to 3.5% More statistics here.

September 2006 – File-sharing rates reported to rise to 9.6% of Internet users

December 2006 – Kaneko convicted and sentenced to pay 1.5 million yen. Appeal filed.

2007

May 18, 2007 – 3 males arrested for sharing manga on Winny. Info here and here

June 2007 – More than 10,000 police investigation reports leaked from a computer personally owned by a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (Orita & Murata, 165)

November 29, 2007 – 14th meeting of the Private Music and Video Subcommittee reveals that 80% of public comments are against the revision of the copyright law. More info.

December 18, 2007 – The Private Music and Video Recording Subcommittee of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs pushes for a ban on downloading copyright content and a revision on Japan’s Copyright Law in their 15th meeting. (More info here and here)

2008

January 24, 2008 – Kyoto Prefectural Police’s High-Tech Crime Task Force arrest 3 for uploading anime to Winny. One is the creator of a virus that uses cute anime pics. Info here and here

March 28, 2008 – Akihabara stores reported to stop selling R4. Info here.

May 9, 2008 – Three arrests for uploading anime files on Share. First arrests for Share. Info here and here.

July 29, 2008 – Nintendo+ announces lawsuit against R4 producers. Info here and here.

September 19, 2008 – Kazushi Hirata (33, Sendai) arrested for fansubbing and uploading Wanted to Winny. More info here

November 2008 – Nintendo releases DSi – R4 does not work in it. Info here.

November 11, 2008 – Kazushi Hirata pleads guilty.

November 27, 2008 – Share user arrested for uploading drama.

December 16, 2008 – Kyoto District Court on Tuesday sentenced an Kazushi Hirata to two years in prison, suspended for three years, for violating Japan’s copyright law when he fansubbed and uploaded Wanted. First fansubber convicted. Info here

2009

February 12, 2009 – Two Share users arrested for child pornography.

February 26, 2009 – Tokyo District Court rules that R4 cannot be sold in Japan. Info here.

May 2009 – Supercard releases flash card especially for the DSi. Info here.

May 30, 2009 – Two arrested for webcast service (for profit). More info here and here.

Early June, 2009 – 5 teens, site admins for One Touch BBS, taken in for questioning by police. One put on juvenile probation. Info here.

Late July 2009 – Nintendo DSi update prevents flash card use. Info here and here and here and here and here.

August 5, 2009 – Yoshiaki Asagiri sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and a hefty fine for distributing DS games. Info here and here and here and here.

August 17, 2009 – First arrest of someone accused of uploading a cammed film (Crows Zero II). Kyoto prefectural police arrested Yoshitaka Miyatake, a 37-year-old transport company employee from Sakai, Osaka Prefecture. Meanwhile, Saitama police arrest Takayuki Hamaura, 28, from Kawaguchi for sharing a Harry Potter film. Both used Share. Info here and here and here and here.

September 26, 2009 – Nintendo’s efforts to block flash card use thwarted. Info here.

September 30, 2009 – Two share-related arrests. First users arrested for DS games.

October 2009 – Kaneko’s guilty verdict overturned by the Osaka High Court. Info here and here

November 30, 2009 – 10 Share users arrested in one swoop, coordinated by Tokyo Police. 1 more (woman, Korean dramas) reported arrested later. Info here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Early December 2009 – Japan loses case in France’s high courts against flash card developer. Info here.

December 6, 2009 – RIAJ event in Shinjuku to promote Copyright amendments. Big pop artists attend, but do not speak about Copyright amendments. RIAJ and IFPI reps speak out against downloading. Info here.

2010

January 1, 2010 – Copyright Act amendments go into effect. Info here.

January 6, 2010 – 48 men charged with sharing child pornography on Cabos. Info here and here and here.

January 27, 2010 – Kyoto police arrest 37-year-old for uploading anime on Perfect Dark. First Perfect Dark-related arrest. More info here and here and here

February 25, 2010 – Kagawa Prefecture police arrest man (33) for uploading music on Cabos. Info here and here and here and here.

March 1, 2010 – First arrest for uploading to a foreign site. More info.

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Remembering Japan: A Day at the Lake Biwa Canal Museum (Kyoto, February 2008)

May 29, 2009

When I set off that day, my only intention was to get out of my tiny room and see the sun or nature or anything but the screen of my computer. I decided to head to northwest Kyoto, just to explore a new place and maybe check out the International Community Center. As I biked through unfamiliar streets, I came upon the Lake Biwa Canal Museum.

There was a gorgeous geyser spraying water high into the air at its front. There was a Stanley Dynamo proudly placed in a position of honor next to the entrance. And, most importantly, there was a sign with the English words “Free Admission” next to the stairs. I took this all in and thought to myself, “What self-respecting student/tourist would pass up a place like this?”

Armed with my camera and Nintendo DS with its oversized Mario stylus, I entered the building, looking up important-looking kanji and taking far too many pictures of the building and the geyser on my way in.

The museum is made up of three stories dedicated to the long history and inner workings of the Lake Biwa Canal. There were very few English words to help a lazy foreigner so I made ample use of my DS, learning many new, canal-related words that I naturally forgot within minutes. There were, however, plenty of old “Iron Pipe Junction Tools of That Era,” commemoration cups for the various tunnels, old maps, and fire hydrants that needed no translation to understand.

In the first room, I was dedicated to deciphering all the signs, furiously scribbling into my DS each and every kanji I couldn’t understand. I quickly learned that canal history is not quite as invigorating as one might expect. Perhaps that explained the few people I encountered there on a Saturday afternoon, ten at the most.

The ones that seemed to be having the most fun were a young, fashionably dressed young man and woman who held hands and whispered and giggled at each other as they slowly perused the exhibits. I wondered whose idea it was to go on a date at a canal museum. I can only hope to meet someone original enough to decide that a place like the 琵琶湖疏水記念館 would be a romantic outing.

Sadly, when I played the children’s computer game that sent them into peals of delighted laughter, I didn’t receive nearly the same thrill. Despite all the helpful furigana and my DS-assisted briefing on canal history, Chotsu-kun, the not-so-friendly boy lightning bug, kept appearing to tell me I was wrong. But I decided to be proud of my score of 50% for questions related to Lake Biwa Canal history anyway.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Yawns

May 29, 2009

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Thus starts Seth Grahame-Smith’s new, quirky version of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice.

To tell the shameful truth, I was wickedly excited when I first heard about this novel on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. I like the occasional silly book as much as the next reader (well, more actually), so I went and found myself a copy as soon as the book became available.

I think it comes as no surprise to anybody that this book was a massive disappointment. There was simply no way for Grahame-Smith to keep up the humor that came at the beginning. I suppose the opening pages are funny merely for their shock value – after that is over, the whole book becomes dull and inane.

However, I do not wish to to take away from the sheer awesome-ness of the first few chapters. As a fan of both Jane Austen and ZOMBIES, these first few chapters had me giggling hysterically at my kitchen table, utterly incapable of swallowing my dinner.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies follows almost exactly the same path as the original, with most of the wording precisely the same. The only difference is that the a mysterious plague has hit Britain and Elizabeth and her sisters have been trained to be deadly zombie slayers since childhood. When Mr. Darcy snubs Elizabeth at the party, the only thing stopping her from killing him and recovering her honor was a sudden attack of zombies.

However, it’s impossible to enjoy the book by that point because the whole thing is so deadly dull and monotonous. Seth Grahame-Green simply doesn’t do enough to change the novel into something fresh and new. So my recommendation? Go read the first few pages on the Amazon.com preview and then move on. It’s not even worth going to the library for.

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Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West

May 29, 2009

Daniel P. Aldrich’s Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West is an extraordinarily comprehensive overview of the factors surrounding the placement of unwanted facilities in Japan and France, with some brief mention of conflicts that occurred in the United States. He focuses on three types of facilities in particular: dams, airports, and nuclear power plants. These facilities are both “public goods” and “public bads” in that they provide diffuse benefits to the majority of society in the form of clean drinking water, power, and transportation, but the create high costs that must be paid by a small, geographically isolated chunk of the population. His argument is a simple yet powerful one: civil society affects the placement of controversial facilities. He divides this argument into two main points. States handle initial conflict by avoiding areas with high levels of civil society and thus the most potential for resistance and, when encountering resistance, states use coercion and hard social control first.

As with any book mentioning civil society, Aldrich handpicks his own definition, describing it as “sustained, organized social activity that occurs in groups that are formed outside the state, the market, and the family”(15). This definition is sufficiently vague enough to allow its application to Japan without requiring any messy argument over the existence of a Japanese civil society. He spells out clearly how he measures civil society – through “quality,” the depths of connections between individuals and through “relative capacity,” the number of individuals in a particular civil society. Throughout his examination of controversial sitings in France, Japan, and the US, he shows how these qualities of civil society are the most important in facilitating effective resistance.

Most refreshing is his examination of all stages of the selection process. Rather than merely looking at cases and times when civil society reacts to a public bad, Aldrich looks at what occurs before that, examining the reasoning behind a state’s choice of a certain site. He argues that, while technical feasibility is an obvious major factor behind siting decisions, it is not the only one. Rather, states behave in a Machiavellian manner by purposely seeking out sites with the least potential for resistance.

As clear-cut and articulate as his argument is, it is difficult to imagine a negative critique of this book. Aldrich carefully covers all his bases with clear explanations of all his data and painstakingly illustrates every step he took to get to his conclusion. This book will be an excellent read for all those interested in state strategies against resistance, no matter their country of focus.

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Dental Amalgams and Mercury

May 29, 2009

Did you know that the “silver” dental fillings are made out of mercury? I was about to do a bit more reading on Minamata disease at the library the other day, but I stumbled upon a book called Mercury Free by Dr. James Hardy and managed to get about halfway through it before the lights abruptly went out and I ran out of there before they locked me in.

I’m doing more research. I’ve become particularly interested in mercury poisoning after reading about the many environmental disasters in Japan during the 60s. There’s a lot of people who say that one can get mercury poisoning from dental amalgams (the silver fillings in one’s mouth) or from vaccinations (the vaccinations supposedly cause autism). The thing is, though, there’s no incontrovertible proof. Mercury Free is full of patients’ stories about the good health they experienced after removing their dental fillings, but it’s not terribly scientific. Still, there were some amazing cases of MS patients who claim to have really begun to heal after the mercury was removed from their bodies.

The American Dental Association definitely lied and twisted the truth when they released pamplets about mercury in amalgams in the 80s. Some said that the amalgams had no mercury (they are at generally 50%-70%). Some said that human bodies required small amounts of trace minerals to function and that mercury was a trace mineral (mercury is definitely not a required trace mineral, but they didn’t mention that).  Right now, the ADA website says, “the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.” Dr. Hardy says this is a lie. I want to do more research on this. How can combining mercury with a few other metals make it safe and stable? It still releases mercury vapor. It can definitely still be broken. The leftover amalgam is not to be touched by dentists or dental assistants and improper disposal can cause significant environmental damage. But it’s ok to have in one’s mouth?

The proof problem plagues the vaccine controversy as well. I read about this in the book, Evidence of Harm. The overall point of that book is simply that there’s not enough of it. But is anybody really looking hard for it?

Anyway, I definitely don’t trust the ADA very much right now and am glad I’ve never had any “silver” fillings. The history of the ADA is  certainly interesting. The first professional dental association, the American Society of Dental Surgeons, was begun in the nineteenth century as a society of dentists with actual training. Supposedly the main reason they didn’t last more than a decade was because of their opposition to poisonous, but cheap, mercury fillings. The ADA started as a group of laymen who discovered they could quit blacksmithing and carpenting and make a good buck off of dentistry, especially through mercury fillings. Is it true? Wikipedia sort of says it is, but, again, that’s Wikipedia and Dr. Hardy has a definite agenda, so I’d like to do more reading.

Now I’m reading about the European Union’s Zero Mercury Global Campaign. Dental amalgams are one of the top ways humans use mercury. The presentations at that conference recommend that all mercury use in dentistry be phased out for the good of the environment. They never come out and answer this question though: what happens to one’s silver fillings after one dies? Is there some sort of procedure for removal or are they just disposed of with the rest of the body?

In any event, the lies continue, as I saw during my last dental appointment. In every room of the tiny East San Antonio dentist’s office I go to, there hangs “Crest’s Guide to the History of Dentistry” stamped the American Dental Association seal of approval. It’s a timeline replete with pictures and explanations of the most important events in dental history. Most interesting to me is the year 1895: “G.V. Black perfects the formulation for amalgam for dental fillings: 68% silver with small amounts of copper, tin, and zinc. Expansion and contraction of fillings can now be controlled.” Next to this surprising statement is a little picture of three gray tubs labeled “Copper,” “Tin,” and “Zinc.”

I was blown away! I had read about the out and out lies published by the American Dental Association in the nineties, but this was my first time coming into contact with such a thing. This poster was printed in 1991, a year after 60 Minutes did a widely viewed story on mercury in dental amalgams.

So what’s the truth? There was a dentist named Greene Vardiman Black who did concoct a recipe for the dental amalgam in 1895 that would prove popular until the 1950s or so. However, his formulation would call for about 61% mercury with the remaining percent a mix of other metals, including a small amount of silver.

How many people out there have “silver” fillings in their mouths right now? Compare that to the number of people who know what these “silver” fillings are actually made of. It’s crazy, especially considering the number of alternatives to dental amalgams that currently exist. Dentists need to abandon the use of dental amalgams. At the very least, they need to tell their patients what these toxic metal these “silver” fillings actually are made of.

Here’s an interesting article on informed consent.

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Pollution disease transfer?

May 28, 2009

H mentioned something interesting in class that I’ve been unable to verify, though I could definitely believe it. We were discussing environmental damages and the fate of the companies that commit the worst violations. She said that the company that caused the infamous cadmium poisoning in Japan was forced to shut down after the country became economically secure enough to no longer need it (and people became more educated and able to fight back against this gross violation of their right to live).

However, she says the factory was bought up by a Korean group and shipped over to begin operations there, where the country was not so economically secure and its citizens still lacked the ability to effectively protest against the grievous wrongs committed against them by polluting corporations. So cadmium poisonings occurred there as well, and continued to occur until the country’s economy developed to the point where the government was willing to stop overlooking the pollution/poisoning/murder and those particular operations were shut down. But the factory was still very useful and so it was then shipped off to China where the whole cycle of cadmium poisonings occurred once more.

She claims to have remembered this from an article she read in Korea in the 1980s. I’ve only done a few searches on the Internet, but I still can’t find any similar story.

Perhaps she didn’t mean cadmium poisoning?  The 1960s was a period of high profile environmental destruction in Japan with many human casualties. The other high profile pollution diseases included mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. But you think it would be easier to find some sort of documentation about this kind of pollution cycle. I’ll just have to continue searching. It’s perfectly possible that H merely misremembered or that the article she read in the 80s was mistaken.

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