Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs, a special body of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), had previously allotted 123 million yen for anti-piracy measures in 2022. But a recent action of theirs seems to have gone completely against the goal they are working for, and actually aided piracy to a certain extent.
It was revealed on May 16, 2023, that a list of URLs of the top 10 manga piracy sites with the highest traffic have been publicly disclosed on its official website unintentionally for a period of 6 months.
Although, the URLs and site names were blackened out, hovering the cursor on it revealed the link to the site, ultimately allowing the users access to those sites by clicking them.
This was discovered by an employee of the agency who had noticed that it had become a trending topic of discussion on social media. The lists were then immediately taken down on the morning of May 16.
Due to the mistake on their end, the Agency of Cultural Affairs stated that they will ensure a reliable checking system that would prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
The information in question was previously used during a copyright seminar in August 2022, which was intended for educators and staff members. It was created by ABJ, based in Tokyo, as a part of their anti-piracy measure to combat piracy of published works.
According to the reports of ABJ, the access count of the top 10 piracy sites in Japan had crossed 400 million in October 2021, even after the closure of “Manga Mura,” which was dubbed as the worst in history. This was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had led to an increase in screen time.
Although there was a steady decline due to the closure of many piracy sites, the number has been hovering around 200 million since the beginning of 2023.
Earlier in April 2023, Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) revealed that the anime and manga industry had lost somewhere between 1.95 to 2.20 trillion yen (between 14 to 16 billion USD) in 2022 alone owing to piracy of their content.