Ex-manga piracy website ordered to pay largest compensation amount in Japan’s history

Ex-manga piracy website ordered to pay largest compensation amount in Japan’s historyEx-manga piracy website ordered to pay largest compensation amount in Japan’s history
via ANNnewsCH
A Japanese court has ordered the former operator of the now-defunct popular piracy manga website Mangamura to pay around 1.7 billion yen ($11 million) in damages.
Key points:
  • On Thursday, the Tokyo District Court ruled that Romi Hoshino, the 32-year-old former operator of Mangamura, must pay damages to the plaintiffs — manga publishers Shogakukan Inc., Kadokawa Corp. and Shueisha Inc. — for the harm caused by his piracy website.
  • During the proceedings, the court calculated the damages based on the average number of views per volume of a manga and the sale price of the work.
  • The trial result purportedly marks the highest compensation ever awarded for damages related to online piracy in Japan’s history.
What they’re saying:
  • Presiding Judge Masaki Sugiura mentioned in court that, aside from viewing pirated content, visitors of the website could also download the images to their devices, noting, “it was essentially the same as purchasing electronically distributed manga works.”
  • Shuheisha executive Atsushi Ito noted that after the Mangamura trial, they noticed that other “pirate manga sites for Japanese people that have operators in Japan have almost disappeared.” The company is also looking to make the same move abroad, Ito told reporters.
  • Responding to the court’s decision, Hishino said that he is “unconvinced” by the result and noted that he does not regret running Mangamura. He also told All Nippon Network that he has “no intention” of paying the publishers as he “does not have any assets to begin with.”
The details:
  • Founded in February 2016 and closed in April 2018, Mangamura illegally posted approximately 8,200 manga and magazines, totaling about 73,000 volumes, without consent from the publishers. Among the many popular titles illegally posted on the website was “One Piece.”
  • The piracy website reportedly attracted 100 million monthly visitors during its operation. According to the publishers, Mangamura caused a total of 320 billion yen ($2 billion) in damages. At its peak, Mangamura was purportedly considered the largest piracy website in Japan.
  • In May 2018, Japanese authorities revealed that they had been actively investigating Mangamura after multiple publishers filed complaints against the website.
  • Hoshino fled to the Philippines and resided in the country in 2019. The Philippine Bureau of Immigration took him into custody in July of that year, and he was deported to Japan in September.
  • A Japanese court sentenced Hoshino in 2021 to three years in prison along with a fine of 10 million yen ($64,600). He was also made to pay 62.6 million yen ($405,000) in back taxes. His prison sentence ended this year.
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