October 21, 2009
On the Judgement by Osaka High Court for the Developer of Winny and on Social and Moral Obligations of Engineers
On October 8, 2009, the Osaka High Court decided that a former Tokyo University research assistant, who was accused of assisting copyright infringement by developing and distributing the software Winny, is not guilty, overturning the decision from the first trial.
The WIDE Project supports this judgement by the high court.
Meanwhile, aside from the decision by the court, this case has raised an issue of social and moral obligations that engineers should fulfill.
The WIDE Project, from the standpoint of having researched and developed information communication technologies for years that support the modern society, expresses our view on the issue as follows:
Engineers need environments to improve their inventions for fulfilling their social responsibilities. More fundamentally, they should be allowed to propose new technological solutions based on understanding of existing technologies and current social systems that are limited by such technologies.
In our view, a society is not truly safe where an engineer is arrested, and his or her new contributions to the society are prohibited just because he or she has developed some neutral technology; such arrests threaten the freedom of thought and inquiry that are fundamental to a safe society.
The WIDE Project hopes to realize such a world where an engineer can continue to contribute to human beings and society by improving technologies in a healthy fashion, so that the engineer can fulfill his or her social responsibilities.