Manga pirate websites are one of the biggest headaches of publishers and mangakas. Despite the fact that Japan has tightened the copyright laws to fight against the piracy, the number has not gone down but increased exponentially.
Yahoo News Japan published an article on Dec 30, pointing out the fact that manga piracy has increased 26 times compared to the previous year, due to pandemic. Top 3 manga pirate sites accumulated more than 326 millions visit per month.
Domestic manga sales in Japan reached a record high of 612 billion yen ($5.32 billion US), thanks to hit manga series like Demon Slayer, however, the damages because of piracy have also increased.
The Authorized books of Japan (ABJ), a countermeasure group created by manga publishers, gathered a list of 400 pirate manga sites. Due to pandemic, the number of monthly visits to the top 3 pirate manga sites increased 26 times, reaching 326 million per month visits, compared to the previous year’s 12.5 million per month visits.
The profit lost estimated from the visits of the Top 10 pirate sites, exceeded 780 billion yen ($6.77 billion US) which is much higher compared to last year. Last year profit loss was estimated to be 210 billion yen ($1.80 billion US).
One of these pirate websites was Manga Bank, which opened in Dec 2019, accumulated around 1 billion visitors before getting shut down. Four manga publishers, including Shueisha are trying to locate the website operators with the help of google to pursue legal action against them.
Ken Akamatsu, a mangaka known for his hit works such as “Love Hina” and “Magical Teacher Negima! was asked to comment on the increase in manga piracy. This is how he responded:
The damage of the pirated version is especially great for new writers who are not published in magazines and are active only in the electronic version. Today, pirate copies are as high quality as the official version, and can be found as the same of the official release. If we lose the will to create, we lose the quality work that should have been out there. We hope people enjoy the legal version of the manga, because not getting involved in piracy is a way to protect talent.
According to Japan’s revised copyright laws, downloading copyright material from illegal websites is a criminal act, which can be punished by imprisonment up to 2 years or 2 million yen fine or both.
Source: Yahoo News Japan
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