Publishers suing former Mangamura operator for 1.9 billion yen

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On July 28, three major Japanese publishers sued the former operator of the now-shutdown manga piracy website Mangamura, claiming it infringed their rights by publishing popular manga online without their permission.

Kadokawa Corp., Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan Inc. filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court, seeking 1.9 billion yen ($14 million) in damages. The amount is the largest ever sought in a lawsuit against piracy sites, according to the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs held a press conference in Tokyo the same day and said their lawsuit was aimed at holding operators accountable and putting a damper on manga piracy.

“We hope the lawsuit will be passed on to operators around the world and deter them (from pirating),” said Atsushi Ito, who works at Shueisha and heads the public relations department of anti-piracy organization Authorized Books of Japan. .

The lawsuit focuses on 17 works that have numerous volumes, including “One Piece” and “Kingdom.”

The publishers said that if they added up every time their manga was viewed illegally through the site, their losses totaled around 1.9 billion yen, based on selling prices from the time the piracy site operated. .

Mangamura has been around since at least February 2016, according to complaints and plaintiffs’ attorney.

But the former operator was found guilty of violating copyright law and other charges, and the website was shut down in 2018.

About 73,000 volumes of 8,200 popular manga and magazine titles were illegally posted on the website before it was shut down.

The site was viewed up to 100 million times a month at that time. The total damage is estimated at around 320 billion yen.

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