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  • Vinicius Monteiro

Manga Mura website owner ordered to pay millionaire fine

Manga Mura website owner ordered to pay millionaire fine

The owner of the now-defunct manga piracy website Manga Mura has been ordered to pay approximately ¥1.7 billion in damages to three major Japanese publishers. The Tokyo District Court ruled on April 18 in a lawsuit filed by Kadokawa Corp., Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan Inc.

The publishers asked for damages totaling approximately ¥1.9 billion (R$63,982,926.99). The publishers estimated that the damages totaled around ¥320 billion (R$10,776,071,913.60) and sought a share from the alleged owner of the site. This was the largest claim ever made in a piracy lawsuit.

Manga Mura was a pirate site owned and operated by Romi Hoshino, also known as Zakay Romi. It launched in February 2016 and was shut down in April 2018 after Kodansha and other publishers filed criminal complaints with police departments in 2017. The site posted approximately 8,200 pirated copies of manga and magazines, the equivalent of around 73,000 volumes, without permission. The maximum number of monthly hits at that time was close to 100 million.

After the site was shut down in 2018, Hoshino was taken into custody by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration in 2019, as he was residing in the Philippines at the time. He was later extradited to Japan at the end of that year, where the Fukuoka District Court handled the initial case against him. In June 2021, the aforementioned court gave Hoshino a guilty verdict for copyright infringement. For this case, he was sentenced to three years in prison, a fine of ¥10 million (R$336,752.25) and an additional fine of ¥62 million (R$2,087,863.93).

Japan's zero tolerance of piracy has seen domestic piracy fall by almost two thirds, from ¥1.019 trillion in 2021 to ¥381.8 billion in 2023. Although Japan recently led its first prosecution of an overseas manga piracy site this year, piracy trends are increasing outside Japan's borders. Piracy of videos and publications abroad increased fivefold from 2021 to 2022. The ability to hide where a piracy server is being operated makes it difficult to prosecute its operators. This was seen again when the world's largest anime piracy site, Aniwatch, quickly moved to another site after a blocking order in India.

As piracy declines in Japan, the anti-piracy group Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) continues to work with its partners in the US to curb piracy, recently signing a contract extension with the MPA. The renewal will see both parties "develop new remedies to the problem of online copyright infringement worldwide and strengthen joint copyright protection activities".

The official text of the website is Portuguese (Brazil). Any discrepancies or differences created in the translation are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes. If any doubts arise regarding the accuracy of the information contained on the translated website, please refer to the Portuguese version of the website, which is the official version.


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