Cases before laws regarding responsibility on the Internet were passed (2)

              The latter (crime of aiding and abetting) crime is usually defined for people in a group who did not directly get involved in the actually crime, but helped the criminals by helping the criminals, providing weapons or goods to the criminal, keeping a look out for the criminals etc. In the case that this crime takes place, the Civil Law makes it clear that he or she will be punished by the same sentence as the criminals who are directly involved in the crime (Civil Code Article 719 Section 2). Whether the crime is used in this case or not is judge by how much the act helped the crime take place.

              The problem of trying to apply this case, since the direct criminal (the person who posted the defamatory post) is not involved, the logic of punishing 2ch with the same penalty as the original poster cannot apply. Thus, in the end, the court never made clear to what extent 2ch was held responsible, because crimes defines in the Civil Code could not easily be applied to this case. This case is clear proof that, at least before the law was made, Japanese law was not sufficient to make judgment regarding speech on the Internet. It is difficult to judge whether the punishment given to 2ch was correct or not, because 2ch may not have been able to identify all of the defamatory posts without more information from the vets, but at the same time, the vets were feeling that they were taking sufficient action for the posts to get deleted. All we can say is that, at least because there were not laws that could directly be applied to this case, the court had to make its judgment by considering several factors of the incident, and thus, took sufficient effort before making the call. If a law that makes statements that is too strong in regard to how such cases should be punished, it may jeopardize free speech on the Internet, or, allow defamatory posts to exist on the internet. We can say that, because there were no clear laws, the court was forced to take time in making the judgment.­­­

Comments (1) to “Cases before laws regarding responsibility on the Internet were passed (2)”

  1. very interesting post! I often wonder how China is able to shut down websites, thank goodness for freedom of speech…