A 45-year-old man in the Southwestern Japanese city of Nagasaki was sentenced yesterday (Feb. 22) by the Nagasaki District Court to two years in prison, suspended for three years. He was found guilty of violating the Copyright Law by illegally offering free ringtones on his mobile Web site without permission from rights holders.

Last Nov. 27, the man became the first person in Japan ever arrested for illegally uploading ringtones, after local authors society JASRAC filed a criminal complaint with police.

JASRAC first became aware of the man's illegal uploading of ringtones in June 2002, and asked him to stop doing so. However, as soon as he shut down the Web site, he started a new one where he continued to offer free ringtones without rights-holders' permission, according to JASRAC. This pattern was repeated several times until JASRAC decided to seek his arrest.

The defendant pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing on Feb. 7.