Once again Shueisha is on the move to smoke out the huge network of pirate sites, and this time they filed an application at a court in the US seeking help from Google and Hurricane Electric to identify alleged copyright infringers.
The key to their venture is now a Japanese search engine- Mangabank, a massive manga indexing platform servicing around 80 million visits per month.
This is not the first time a publisher has become fired up to find the freeloaders, as previously companies like Kadowaka, Kodansha, and Shogakukan took legal action to shut down or disrupt piracy platforms, hoping to send a deterrent message to site operators and consumers of pirated content alike.
This type of legal action generally only becomes public after a complaint is filed but a request filed by Shueisha in the United States effectively provides advance warning of an incoming lawsuit.
According to Torrent Freak, it appears that Shueisha’s targets are a number of ‘pirate websites’ (ssl.axax.cloud, ssl.advx.cloud, ssl.akkx.net, ssl.sdox.cc, ssl.standardcdn.net, ssl.lsh.buzz, ssl.appx.buzz, ssl.asiax.cloud, ssl.appsx.cloud) from where an “extensive amount” of its copyrighted works are being distributed without permission.
With help of these URLs they got a lead pointing to Mangabank.org – which appears to operate as a search/indexing site.
“[Mangabank.org] is written in Japanese and invites viewers to search infringing material by titles, authors, and other keywords, seemingly catered to Japanese language viewers. The Infringing Websites [those listed above] were likely to be used to store the infringing copies so that they can reduce the traffic of the Main Infringing Website and make it more accessible”.
Before filing the request the publisher attempted to obtain information about the sites’ operators from Cloudflare using a DMCA subpoena. However, the information they got back wasn’t useful in identifying the pirates.
Some IP addresses lead back to China, but it is not possible to ask for IP addresses in China in relation to copyright infringement. Leaving Shueisha stuck in a bit of a bind.
In its application, Shueisha requests that the “witnesses” (Google and Hurricane Electric) hand over information held in the alleged pirates’ respective accounts so it can track them down.
Their strategy is to obtain access logs showing the times and dates the alleged infringers accessed their accounts along with relevant IP addresses.
At the time of writing, Shueisha is waiting for the court to sign off the request.
Source: Torrent Freak