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Japanese publisher, staff arrested over backup software offer

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Those software-laden DVDs that adorn the covers of newsstand computer magazines can get you into serious trouble in Japan, where four staff at a book publisher have been arrested because of naught software included in the popular 'onserts'.

Those arrested include an executive (Yoshiaki Kaizuka) of Sensai Books, which had offered backup tools – including copy-protection breakers and rippers – on the cover DVD.

Japanese police have said the arrests are the first in the country under a law to prevent the removal or circumvention of copy-protection mechanisms, according to Daily Yomuri.

The book, described only as a “DVD guidebook” in the Daily Yomuri report, fell foul of a law that makes it illegal to sell anything that circumvents copy-protection mechanisms. The law glories in the nearly-Orwellian name of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.

The law was enacted in June, and the arrests have taken place even though penalties under the law don't come into effect until October.

As Wired Italy’s Otaku News blog points out, this would make it illegal to offer any Linux disto offering libdvdcss (that is, a great many of them).

The roughly $AU12 guidebook had a print run of more than 18,000 of which more than 4,000 were sold, and industry organisations including the Japan Video Software Association had issued two warnings to Sensai Books. ®

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