A couple of weeks ago, Isamu Kaneko, a Japanese software engineer and research associate at Tokyo University, was arrested for programming. The reason? He wrote the extremely popular (in Japan) anonymous file-sharing program Winny.

Writing software isn’t actually illegal, so he was arrested for assisting copyright infringement (two people were arrested, although not through file sharing, but because they used the bulletin board feature of the software). However, whilst he is being detained, he has yet to be charged.

There’s more political intrigue, too: a number of police and GSDF files were distributed through Winny.

The idea that writing a program that can be used for copyright infringement should be a crime is rather scary, at least from my perspective. FreeKaneko.com has been set up by some people in Japan, and gives some more detailed information.