Update Four major manga publishers are set to sue internet grooming company Cloudflare, on the grounds that its content delivery network facilitates piracy of their wares.
The four companies – Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa – together dominate the Japanese comics market and own many iconic properties.
Publishers also believe they are victims of widespread piracy.
Japanese media report the companies will therefore file a complaint against Cloudflare which, according to them, facilitates piracy by providing its services to sites sharing unlicensed Manga.
Cloudflare has seen this film before: in 2017, Japanese publishers asked it to help take down a pirate manga site called Mangamura. Cloudflare helped and Mangamura collapsed. Cloudflare then promised to stop mirroring Japanese sites if it was convinced that the content they hosted was pirated.
The four publishers and Cloudflare have settled a lawsuit after this incident.
Now the publishers are back, again claiming that any form of facilitating unlicensed distribution harms the entire manga community – from artists and writers to distributors and booksellers.
The four plan to sue in the Supreme Court of Japan.
Japanese media reports that Cloudflare has denied that its services help hackers. The register asked Cloudflare for additional comments. ®
UPDATE, 04:45 UTC, February 2. Cloudflare sent the following statement:
By making security and performance services easily accessible to tens of millions of websites worldwide, Cloudflare helps make the Internet safer, more efficient, and more reliable. Cloudflare’s CDN and gateway security services do not contribute to infringement, which a US federal court recently found.
However, Cloudflare takes these issues very seriously and has gone above and beyond in its obligations to support rightsholders in Japan. In addition to adopting a abuse process which connects rightsholders with web hosts and operators effectively able to remove infringing content from the Internet, Cloudflare has also agreed to a framework with certain publishers that allows them to seek expedited resolution of their complaints to the courts. So we are taking a number of steps to make it easier to take action against the parties that are actually responsible for this issue.
We have not seen the referenced lawsuit, however, Cloudflare is not the solution to this persistent problem. We will continue to actively participate in discussions with rights holders and the Japanese government: we have incorporated their input into our processes and provided support to assess how other governments are handling these issues.