A COMPUTER programming undergraduate sparked a copyright scare for worldwide gaming giant Sony after uploading confidential software development details onto the internet.

Second year Teesside University student Jonathan Waring then advertised the posting with links on a computer hackers’ website.

Following the release of the licence-restricted and copyright-protected software Sony launched an investigation into how it got there, and discovered the source was someone using the pseudonym El Nomeo.

It was traced to Waring, who was arrested and admitted involvement, but said he was unaware it would cause Sony any damage, claiming he simply felt it was “a research tool”, and that he was giving something back to the computer intelligent “community”.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court today (Tuesday May 14), 23-year-old Waring, of High Street, Redcar, admitted a charge in breach of copyright law, relating to the distribution of an article which could prejudice the copyright owner, Sony.

Rod Hunt, mitigating, told the court the guilty plea was made on the basis it breached the licence agreement between Sony and Teesside University.

This permitted use of the company’s software within university computer labs only, allowing students to create games compatible with the Sony PlayStation 3.

Mr Hunt said: “Had he limited his sharing with fellow students and academics it would not have been in breach of the act.

“The defendant had no commercial interest in publishing the programmes and sought no financial gain.

“He’s a young man who has now lost his good character by his plea, and his studies have been curtailed as a result.

“Normally these type of cases deal with people making bootleg films and uploading the latest blockbuster release.

“But, that is not the case here."

Paul Cleasby, prosecuting, said it was uncertain how much potential damage was caused by Waring’s actions.

Recorder Andrew Campbell adjourned sentence to allow preparation of a background report on Waring by the Probation Service.

But he said: “Potentially, there could have been a great loss of revenue here.

“However, I’m well aware Jonathan Waring is a young man of otherwise exemplary character and I believe the court would be assisted by a pre-sentence report.”

Bailing him to return for sentence on Friday June 7, Recorder Campbell told Waring: “You have pleaded guilty to a serious offence and the fact I’m enlarging your bail shouldn’t be taken as any indication to the likely sentence.”

The prosecution is to offer ‘no evidence’ at the sentencing hearing to a second charge, in breach of the Computer Misuse Act, denied by Waring.