Manga piracy sites remain rampant in Japan

Websites that publish manga comics without the artist’s permission remain commonplace in Japan, posing a serious problem for cartoonists, especially beginners.

It is estimated that manga sales in the country reached a record high of 612.6 billion yen in 2020 thanks to successful works such as “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”.

The stellar result was apparently due in part to high demand from people staying at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, however, the damage caused by hacking websites has also increased.

ABJ, an organization created primarily by publishers including Shueisha Inc. to fight manga piracy, has compiled a list of some 400 pirate sites. The combined monthly number of accesses to the three main sites of this type reached 326 million in October 2021, up from 12.5 million in January 2020, according to the group.

The estimated amount of damage calculated on the basis of the number of hits to the top 10 hacking websites exceeded € 780 billion between January and October 2021, far more than some € 210 billion for the whole of 2020.

The damage caused by Manga Bank, one of the main hacker sites alone, is believed to have totaled more than 200 billion yen. The cumulative number of accesses to the site, implemented in December 2019, amounts to nearly 1 billion.

Shueisha and three other editors began discussions about tackling the site immediately after its launch.

They have filed a petition with a US court for an order for the disclosure of information about the operator of the site.

In November, the court ordered entities, including Google, to release the information. Although Manga Bank was abruptly closed the same month, the four companies remain determined to identify its operator and pursue legal liability.

“The image quality of recently seen pirated versions is very high and almost comparable to that of e-books, and unauthorized works of some manga comics are found on the Internet on the same dates that their official versions go on sale.” , manga artist. Ken Akamatsu, known for successful works such as “Love Hina” and “Negima! Magister Negi Magi, ”said angrily.

Noting that the damage is particularly severe for new and unknown cartoonists who are active only online with their still unpublished works in magazines, Akamatsu said: being read. Moving away from pirated works will lead to protecting talented artists, so I want people to enjoy manga in their official versions.

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