AJapanese man has received a one year prison sentence for making Hollywoodfilms available over the internet.

However, the sentence was suspended for three years, meaning that if he behaves himself during that time, he will not have to serve the one-year sentence.

Ina case expected to influence the prosecution of film piracy via the Internet inJapan, The Kyoto District Court handed down the sentence to Yoshihiro Inoue, a42-year-old sex shop employee, for violating Japan's copyright law.

Using the Winny file swapping software developed by computerengineer Isamu Kaneko, Inoue made Hollywood films available on the internet toan unlimited number of downloaders, starting in September 2003.

He and a 19-year-old accomplice, whose name was not givenbecause he is under-age, were arrested last November in Takasaki, GummaPrefecture.

In handing down the sentence, the judge described Inoue'soffense as "an evil act that nullifies the efforts of copyright holders,who have invested a tremendous amount of money and labour in makingfilms."

Kaneko, a former research assistant at the elite Universityof Tokyo, was also arrested, though his case is still being tried.
If convicted, he may be sentenced to as much as three years in prison and fined$29,126 (Y3m).

Kaneko released the Winny file sharing programme over theInternet in May 2002 and, at the time of his arrest, it was used by more thanone million downloaders, according to Kyoto police estimates.

In addition to films, the software has been used to sendpirated games and music, as well as confidential information.