Japanese publishers to sue US company for manga piracy
Four major Japanese manga publishers announced on Monday that they will sue a US company accused of hosting servers for a piracy site, in the latest push against illegal copies of their graphic novels.
Piracy has been a long-standing problem for Japan’s internationally renowned manga industry, with publishers saying they are losing millions in revenue as a result.
The publishing giants will file a complaint with the Tokyo District Court this week, a spokesman for Kodansha, one of the publishers involved, told AFP.
The four major publishers – Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa – are accusing web infrastructure company Cloudflare of copyright infringement for its role in hosting sites that distribute pirated copies of manga titles.
They will seek a total of 400 million yen ($3.5 million) in damages, according to a source with knowledge of the lawsuit.
The site Cloudflare is accused of helping, by providing a server that can handle heavy online traffic, has around 300 million views per month and distributes around 4,000 manga titles, the source added.
Piracy sites, where copies of graphic novels are distributed for free, have long plagued publishers of epic manga such as A piece and The attack of the Titanswith losses estimated at millions of dollars in Japan alone.
Cloudflare didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but this isn’t the first time it’s been criticized by manga publishers.
In 2019, the same four companies reached an agreement with the American company after agreeing that it would stop providing its services for a hacking site.
Kodansha spokesman Tomoyuki Inui said the publishers were determined to take legal action to protect the artists’ rights.
“All the profits from these manga piracy sites go directly to their illegal operators, nothing goes to the bookstores, publishers and manga artists who have dedicated their lives to creating these works,” he told the AFP.
“We need to put an end to piracy sites in order to protect Japanese manga culture.”
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