Japan lost 3.5 billion dollar in 2023 due to Manga Piracy

Manga Piracy Continues to Plague Japanese Publishers

Despite ongoing efforts, manga piracy remains a significant financial burden for Japanese publishers, costing the industry an estimated 381.8 billion yen (approximately $3.5 billion) in 2023. This figure, revealed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA) during a meeting on anti-piracy measures, highlights the enduring challenge of protecting intellectual property in the digital age. While lower than the staggering 506.9 billion yen lost in 2022, the 2023 losses are still considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels of 210 billion yen in 2020.

The ACA attributes the initial surge in piracy to increased home internet use during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Confined to their residences, individuals turned to online entertainment, with manga piracy experiencing a dramatic rise, peaking at an estimated 1.19 trillion yen in 2021. However, a downward trend has emerged since then, likely due to consecutive crackdowns on major pirate websites. These crackdowns represent a multifaceted approach to tackling piracy.

Mangamura illegal website owner arrested

One significant example is the case against Mangamura. The Tokyo District Court ordered the website’s former operator to pay 1.7 billion yen in damages to three major publishing houses: Shogakukan, Kadokawa, and Shueisha. Additionally, 13DL, the largest manga piracy site in Japan, was recently shut down by the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting intellectual property rights.

Law enforcement efforts extend beyond domestic borders. Two foreign nationals were arrested on suspicion of leaking manga panels to piracy sites, demonstrating a global approach to combating this transnational crime. Despite these successes, the fight against piracy is far from over.

Manga Piracy Websites

As of January 2024, the ACA identified a concerning number of active pirate sites – 1,176 – a figure that has grown steadily over the past year. Furthermore, a significant portion of these websites cater to a global audience, offering translated content in languages other than Japanese. This trend emphasizes the international nature of the problem and the need for international collaboration in addressing it.

The ACA warns that pirate websites are constantly evolving, employing increasingly sophisticated tactics. New sites emerge swiftly to fill the void left by shutdowns, demanding continued vigilance and innovation in anti-piracy measures. The impact of manga piracy extends far beyond financial losses for publishers. It directly affects the livelihoods of manga creators, who lose crucial income from royalties. The Japanese government, alongside international partners, is actively working on a multi-pronged approach to combat piracy.

Stop Manga Piracy

Legal measures, like the lawsuits against Mangamura, serve as a deterrent to potential offenders. Additionally, technological solutions are being developed to disrupt the operations of pirate websites. Beyond legal and technological efforts, the ACA recognizes the importance of public education. In Japan, where smartphone ownership among junior high school students and above reaches 90%, the ACA has created video tutorials targeted at high school students. These educational resources aim to raise awareness of the legal and ethical implications of consuming manga through unauthorized sources. The message is clear: even simply “reading” pirated content constitutes copyright infringement.

In conclusion, manga piracy remains a persistent threat to the Japanese publishing industry and the creators who fuel it. While recent crackdowns and educational initiatives offer a glimmer of hope, continued vigilance and international cooperation are crucial to effectively safeguard intellectual property and ensure a sustainable future for the manga industry.

– Peak Fiction

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