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Japanese Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site, Seek $14.2 Million in Damages

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Whatever is most wanted is also what is most likely to be hacked. The same goes for the manga industry where publishers say piracy has reached alarming proportions, enough for publishers to take legal action against the authors. As revealed by the ComicBook site, publishers Shueisha, Kadokawa and Shogakukan have filed a complaint against the Mangamura site. In total, the publishers are seeking damages worth US$14.2 million.

According to the lawsuit filed in the Tokyo District Court, the publishers are seeking damages for the following manga titles: A play, Kingdom, Yawara, Dorohedoro, Suzerain, sergeant. Frog, Wise Man’s Grandson, The Rise of the Shield Hero, trinity seven, Hinamatsuri, Deleted, Mushoku Tensei, Raw Gold, Kanojo wa Uso or Ai Shisugiteru, Karakuri Circus, Ashura of Kenganand Tasogare Ryuseigun.

Mangamura has been on the piracy map for quite some time now and has become one of the largest online sites offering pirated manga titles. It also faced legal issues earlier as well as when Romi Hoshino, the site administrator was convicted in a copyright infringement case in 2021. The site has also been challenged legally by creator Ken Akamatsu and d others as well. Now he has to deal with the combined wrath of some of Japan’s biggest publishers, Shueisha, Kadokawa and Shogakukan. The damages sought are also in the millions of US dollars.

Interestingly, Shueisha is also teaming up with Viz Media to take legal action against manga pirate sites Manganelo and Manganato in a separate case. As it is, there are also those who strongly favor piracy sites and justify their act by claiming that it allows fans to get the latest titles at a more affordable price. In addition, these sites often have copies of even titles for which the publishers no longer have the rights. So, apart from a price advantage, these sites also guarantee easy access to decades-old manga titles that might have been released years ago.

As such, it remains to be seen whether all the efforts of publishers have the desired effect, that of containing piracy, or even eliminating it completely.