There are reports that publisher Shueisha filed a legal application with Google, as well as with Hurricane Electric, which is an internet service provider. Gigazine and TorrentFreak initially reported the story, then it was picked up by Anime News Network.
Apparently Shueisha is doing this to fight piracy, as they believe that sites with words like “‘buzz /’, ‘https://ssl.asiax.cloud/’, and ‘https://ssl.appsx.cloud/'” are related to Mangabank. Mangabank is a huge Japanese piracy site, where more than 81 million people have been reading manga illegally each month. While the Mangabank site itself has been taken down since Shueisha took action, that doesn’t mean the fight is over.
With these filings, Shueisha is asking Google and Hurricane Electric for more information on these sites so the publisher can go after places with illegal downloads for copyright infringement. Late last month Shueisha got together with a San Francisco law firm to file an application to the California District Court.
This comes after Shueisha allegedly got Twitter to delete images and lock accounts that had fan art and cosplay photos stemming from Shueisha properties. However, Shueisha then said whoever was telling Twitter to do this was not them, but someone pretending to be them. In that case, Shueisha said it had been “falsely misrepresented by an individual” and will be taking action, though it hasn’t decided how yet.
Piracy is a major issue in manga publishing. Mangabank, with all of its illegal downloads, has been the 44th most visited site in Japan. Earlier this year it was reported that the ten main piracy sites in Japan get about 240 million hits each month. So while on the one hand manga is increasing in popularity around the globe, it is also facing more illegal downloads, which hurts both creators and publishers, and can make it harder to get other manga published.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.