A survey from ABJ (Authorized Books of Japan), a countermeasure group created by manga publishers reported on Jan 15, 2022, that the manga industry has lost a total of 1.19 trillion yen (approximately US$8.76 billion) in 2021 as a result of illegal consumption via piracy sites.
Sankei News reported that the damage has climbed as high as 4.8 times in two years; 1.6 times the regular manga sales amount (or 612 billion yen/US$5.33 billion) in the same year according to The Research Institute for Publications.
ABJ noted, there are now around 900 manga piracy websites. The organization looked into the top 10 most popular websites and discovered that the overall amount of views across the year was 3.76 billion, a 2.5-fold increase over the previous two years.
Between the “just read” and “download” types of manga piracy sites, damage from the former amounted to a huge number.
After four publishers, including Shueisha, sought the help of the California District Court to disclose evidence to identify and convict the Japanese pirate website Manga Bank, it became inaccessible in November. However, ABJ believes that the site has changed its name and is still active.
Japan-based anti-piracy group, CODA(Content Overseas Distribution Association), announced earlier this month, that they are setting up the International Anti-Piracy Organization (IAPO) by April 2022. The organization will be dedicated to tackling illegal online distribution of anime, manga, and similar copyrighted content.
According to information provided to Nikkei, copyright protection organizations from about 13 nations will join forces to form the international body aimed at combating piracy worldwide.
ABJ reported in December 2021, that the monthly visits of the top 3 pirate manga sites increased 26 times during the pandemic compared to 2020.
In January 2020, the traffic from these sites was 12.5 million, but in October 2021, the number had shot up to 326 million. ABJ estimates that the financial damage the top 10 sites caused went from 210 billion yen ($1.8 billion) during all of 2020 to 780 billion yen ($6.7 billion) for the period from January to October 2021.
After the collapse of the manga piracy site Mangamura in April 2018, Manga Bank emerged as the biggest manga pirate website in Japan.
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.
ABJ revealed that a negative impact of the turmoil created by piracy sites like Mangamura and Manga Bank has made the world aware of the market for pirated sites. Though Mangamura and the other sites have shut down, new sites keep coming up in their place.
While the operation of these sites in Japan has almost disappeared, the operation has moved overseas, and the number of sites operated in Vietnam and other countries is increasing now.
Shueisha’s Atsushi Ito revealed that copyright infringements are not only limited to manga but also spoiler sites and networks which provide spoiler videos.
Ito also ensured that the political efforts that have been underway since Mangamura have also begun to bear fruit.
Hiroyuki Nakajima, who is affiliated with the ABJ revealed, “The Agency for Cultural Affairs is also moving to increase the budget for anti-piracy measures from next year, and the Liberal Democratic Party’s Intellectual Property Strategy Investigation Committee has included as a proposal to strengthen international enforcement for anti-piracy measures. There is a common understanding that the whole country will fight against pirated editions.”
The government’s revised policies plan to strengthen the system of the core executing agency that works on joint enforcement against infringement of rights.
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).