Japan made its stand on piracy of anime and manga clear on Friday, Dec 24, 2021, as an annual budget of 1.1 billion yen was allocated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry(METI) to strengthen measures against piracy and expand content overseas in the fiscal 2022 budget.
The Japanese cabinet approved a 107,596.4 billion yen ($940 billion) draft budget for FY22, marking a record high for the 10th year in a row.
Though the provisions amounts to only a percent of the total budget, when coupled with the policies that the government introduced in recent times, the country’s strong stance against piracy is likely to be a powerful message to related industries.
In July 2014, the government founded the Manga-Anime Guardians Project, an online campaign aimed both at directing consumers to official sources and stamping out illegal content online on 580 sites.
This campaign saw the Japanese government team up with the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) and 15 anime producers in a bid to wipe out the spread of bootlegged content.
The government’s revised policies plan to strengthen the system of the core executing agency that works on joint enforcement against infringement of rights.
In recent years, many companies have been working on countermeasures, but with the advent of bulletproof servers, it has become more difficult for individual companies to identify operations. However, actions have been taken against organisation found to be dabbling in anime and manga piracy.
In November 2021, four publishers, including Shueisha, accused the pirate website “Manga Bank” of infringing on their intellectual property rights. In June 2021, Romi Hoshino a.k.a. Zakay Romi, the alleged administrator of now-closed manga piracy site Mangamura, was arrested on copyright charges in 2019 after a global manhunt.
The CODA estimated that between September 2017 and February 2018, Mangamura caused a damage of 319.2 billion yen($2.93 billion) in copyright violation, making it the worst copyright violation in Japanese history.
A 2014 METI report indicates that the damage caused by the spread of online content is estimated to be as much as 2 trillion yen ($20 billion).