Machine-learning A.I. used to try to skirt Japanese censorship laws.

Last October, officers from the Kyoto Prefectural Police arrested Masayuki Nakamoto, a resident of the city of Takasago, in Hyogo Prefecture. Nakamoto stepped into the sights of law enforcement when he began selling copies of adult videos online, and on Wednesday a verdict was reached in his trial.

The videos the 44-year-old Nakamoto had been selling weren’t just simple pirated copies, though, but videos that he had altered to appear uncensored. Japanese adult videos are required by law to obscure the performers’ genitals, with placing a mosaic over them the most common form of compliance. Nakamoto, though, was selling adult videos that looked like they had their mosaics removed.

“Looked like” is because since the mosaic is hard-coded into the image of the commercially released video, it can’t really be removed. Instead, Nakamoto used an A.I. program, which via machine learning gained an understanding of what uncensored genitals look like, then used that knowledge to create a photorealistic simulated visual representation. Nakamoto then placed the simulated image over the mosaic, making the on-screen performers appear completely uncensored, despite this actually being the second round of digital additions to the original footage, and offered his doctored videos for sale online.

All of that brought charges of copyright violation and “display of obscene electromagnetically recorded media” down on Nakamoto once the authorities caught wind of what he’d been doing. Though he was released on his own recognizance, Nakamoto was back in the courtroom of Kyoto district court on June 29, where presiding judge Shinsuke Danjo sentenced him to two years in prison, with the sentence suspended for three years. The harsh two-year sentence, Danjo explained, was because Nakamoto had regularly and repeatedly engaged in selling the videos over the course of roughly 10 months, while the three-year suspension, which gives him the opportunity of avoiding doing any actual jail time, was in recognition of the remorse he has shown since his arrest. Nakamoto was also fined two million yen (roughly US$15,000), which isn’t chump change, but is still quite a bit less than the approximately 11 million yen he reportedly earned selling the videos.

Twitter reactions to the verdict have included:

“So close!”
“[He] made the dream that men have had for so long come true, but has now been suppressed by the power of the state.”
“Thank you for making our impossible dream come true.”
“Our modern-day Jesus has been crucified. How could they treat a man of such holiness like this…”
“Nowadays, you can find uncensored foreign adult videos online pretty easily, but he wanted to see uncensored Japanese ones so much that he went to all that trouble to try to get around the mosaic? I don’t know if that makes him amazing or an idiot.”

Regardless of how clever Nakamoto’s technique may have been, let his case serve as a cautionary tale and a reminder that other uses for A.I., like using it to design a cool-looking katana or turn a hugely popular anime character into an office building receptionist, is less likely to have you ending up in court.

Source: Sankei News via Otakomu, Twitter (1, 2)
Top image: Pakutaso
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