Japan Today

Japanese manga publishers file lawsuit in New York against 4 pirate sites

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In July, Romi Hoshino, also known as Zakay Romi, was arrested in the Philippines in connection with his role as administrator of Manga Mura, the now-defunct website which was the highest-profile provider of pirated Japanese-language comics. With Manga Mura now shut down, though, manga publishers are now turning their attention to other pirate sites.

Japanese publishers Shueisha (publisher of Weekly Shonen Jump), Kodansha (Shonen Magazine), Shogakkan (Shonen Sunday), and Kadokawa (Shonen Ace) have jointly filed a lawsuit against four websites that the publishers are calling “successor sites” to Manga Mura. One of the sites, Hoshinoromi.org, even shares Romi’s name (in Japanese, family name-first order), though it’s unclear if Hoshino himself was personally involved with the site or not.

Japanese publishers protecting their intellectual property online is nothing new, but what is unusual is that all four sites designated in the lawsuit are U.S.-hosted, despite the sites’ interfaces and manga content all being in untranslated Japanese. As a result, the lawsuit has been filed in New York district court, not in Japan. The lawsuit seeks damages for what the publishers are calling “willful and massive [copyright] infringement” (one site hosted over 93,000 volumes of pirated manga) and the shut-down of the sites, none of which remain accessible since the filing of the suit.

Those with a more lenient stance towards manga and anime piracy may disagree with devoting time and energy to going after Manga Mura “successor sites,” under the logic that such actions will only lead to a need to go after the successor sites’ inevitable own successor sites. The New York Lawsuit, though, as well as Hoshino’s arrest, show that even if fighting online piracy is a game of whack-a-mole, Japanese publishers are willing to swing their mallets all the way across the ocean.

Sources: Nihon Keizai Shimbun via Anime News Network/Rafael Antonio Pineda, The Japan Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Five Chinese nationals arrested in Japan for translating manga, games for distribution

© SoraNews24

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Here's an idea, instead paying for litigation fee, how about create a subscription legal content platform that easily accessed by people from outside Japan.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I agree. I am always amazed that many companies provide no legal way to access their product, and then sue when someone accesses it from a pirate site.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

One thing Korea has done right about their modern pop culture is allow everyone from the outside relatively easy access to all the media, like YouTube music videos, etc. Japan should do the same. With, more or less, the exception of anime, other Japanese media are relatively hard to access from the outside world, such as music, manga, and TV series.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I am always amazed that many companies provide no legal way to access their product, and then sue when someone accesses it from a pirate site.

Sounds like typical human trolling and drama fishing to me. Always creating their own problems then whining incessantly about them. Its even less surprising when you think who this is coming from....people who publish outlandish hyper-drama material.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is rich, they've been denying people outside of Japan the material and now will sue rather than just open themselves up to sales. Weird

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Or simply make a subscription website.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My initial question would be are they really being used for a real illegal purpose, or so scanlators (look it up) who do not pay for their physical work or charge for the results, and even clearly state the origonal owner also owns the resultant work. Also there is a problem with already translated work that it is not always still available from the origonal publisher or not available in the readers country, so scanlators take the origonal work and retranslate it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Im confused by the folks suggestions they need to make a subscription site for manga. Here in the US I can think of 4 off the top of my head that are supported by copywrite holders.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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