Otaku USA Magazine
Tokyo Court Says Manga-Mura Piracy Site Operator Must Pay Publishers 1.7 Billion Yen

Yesterday the Tokyo District Court said the operator of the infamous Manga-Mura manga piracy site has to give publishers Kadokawa, Shueisha and Shogakukan 1.7 billion yen. That’s a little under 11 million dollars. The publishers had started out by asking for 1.9 billion yen in damages, so the final number decided by the court isn’t too far off from their request. Manga-Mura is no longer operating, because it was forced to shutter in 2018.

Masaki Sugiura, the presiding judge, noted that the people involved with Manga-Mura did not get permission to upload titles from Kadokawa, Shueisha and Shogakukan, making it a pretty open-and-shut case of piracy. The former operator did try to argue over semantics with the court, but this didn’t change the outcome.

Atsushi Ito, an executive at Shueisha, stated, “We will continue to take every possible measure to protect (authors’) works by enforcing their rights not only in Japan but also in other countries where serious damage is still occurring.”

That said, he noted that piracy is a grueling beast to fight. Domain-hopping can keep pirates one step ahead by switching domains every so often, and pirating sites in other countries means having to get the other nation’s authorities involved. “It’s quite challenging for foreign authorities to act in the interest of Japanese companies,” Ito said about this struggle.

Between June 2017 and April 2018, people accessed Manga-Mura approximately 538 million times. Once on the piracy site, they could find as many as 73,000 pirated books. Kadokawa, Shueisha and Shogakukan said this caused them to lose about 320 billion yen. That’s more than two billion dollars.

The publishers think the 1.7 billion yen compensation is a history-making number in terms of similar lawsuits. They want this case to discourage other people from getting involved with manga piracy.

Source: The Japan Times


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.