Publishers sue ex-Mangamura operator for ¥1.9 billion damages

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Computers, smartphones and other devices seized in connection with the copyright violation case for the now-closed Mangamura pirate website are seen in September 2019 in Fukuoka City.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Three major Japanese publishers on Thursday sued the former operator of now-closed manga pirate website Mangamura for about ¥1,930 million in damages.

The damages lawsuit, filed with Tokyo District Court by Kadokawa Corp. , Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan Inc., is the first against Mangamura, which was known as the biggest pirate website in Japan.

For violating the copyright law and other charges, the former operator has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of ¥10 million and forfeit ¥62.57 million.

The lawsuit covers illegal uploads from 17 popular manga titles including “One Piece” and “Yawara!” The publishers claim that the website attracted a total of some 500 million visits between June 2017 and April 2018.

According to antipiracy organization ABJ, created following the Mangamura case, there are still some 1,000 such illegal websites now, and damage from them totaled about ¥1 trillion in 2021.

The three publishers issued a joint statement saying that the act of snatching compensation for works “should never be tolerated,” and that the lawsuit is intended as an “important step to combat the crime.”

“We hope the suit will become a deterrent,” Atsushi Ito, a senior official of Shueisha, said at a press conference.