Published on July 31st, 2022
Japanese manga publishers Shueisha, Kodakawa, and Shogakukan, have filed a lawsuit against the former manga pirate site, Mangamura for 1.9 billion yen ($14.2 million US). The estimated damages are only from 14 mangas including, One Piece, Kingdom, Overlord, Mushoku Tensei, and Kengan Ashura.
The manga piracy site, Mangamura launched in 2016. According to Japan’s Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), the website received 620 million visitors between September 2017 and February 2018, causing about US$2.92 billion worth of damage to copyright holders. Mangamura website was shut down in April 2018 after the Japanese Government asked the internet service providers to block access to the pirate site.
The creator of the Mangamura website, Hoshino, was residing in the Philippines. The Philippine Bureau of Immigration arrested him in July 2019 and handed him over to Japanese authorities.
The District Court of Fukuoka (Japan) declared the 29-year-old website owner guilty of copyright infringement charges in June 2021. Hoshino was fined 10 million yen (about US$91,100) and sentenced to 3 years in prison. He was also ordered to give back all the revenue he earned from running the website, which was about US$565,000.
Police also arrested 2 associates of Hoshina, a 26-year-old male named Kōta Fujisaki and a 24-year-old female named Shiho Itō.
MM Lab and Global Net, two companies advertised on the piracy website, were also fined US$96,303 by the Tokyo district court. Love Hina manga creator Ken Akamatsu filed a lawsuit against both companies, claiming that his work was illegally posted on Mangamura. This is the first time an advertising agency has been held liable for advertising on a piracy website. The court found that the manga sales of Ken Akamatsu’s work had decreased because of piracy and ordered the companies to pay compensation.
Despite shutting down Mangamura, manga piracy continues to increase. A Japanese blog interviewed Shuiehsa’s representative, Atsushi, who is responsible for taking down piracy sites. He revealed that “things are even worse.” “There are more than 700 manga piracy sites, and the ten most visited receive 240 million views per month. Mangamura was getting as much as 100 million views a month”. He further said that there is no silver bullet, and all we can do is continue doing what we can to stop them.
What are your thoughts on manga publishers’ strict action against Mangamura, considering that the website is already taken down, and all the profit that was generated from the website has been taken back from the owner? Let us know your opinion in the comment section.