After dealing with Manga Bank, Shueisha and Viz have now turned their attention to two more major manga piracy sites, Manganato.com and Manganelo.com.
Both these sites attract close to 200 millions users combined over the period of one month. Manganato is the bigger among the two, as it attracted 167 million and 180 million during April and March 2022. Over 20 percent of traffic to both these websites come from the United States, a testament to manga’s growing popularity in the west.
According to the publishers, the two piracy sites have been uploading “an extensive amount of unauthorized copies” of the manga that are owned by Shueisha and Viz, onto their website.
These unauthorized and illegal copies mostly contain the whole of the chapter or volume and are sometimes uploaded onto the website as soon as they are published.
Shueisha and Viz have have applied for an order under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 in the Northern District Court of California, in a bid to allow them to gain documents and statements from third parties, including Paypal, Visa & Google LLC, to use in legal proceedings that are taking place in Japan.
The publishers are seeking information from these third parties that would let them identify the alleged copyright infringers.
As these website infringe the copyright laws in Japan and Vietnam, Shueisha and Viz are aiming to bring a lawsuit against the infringers in Japan and Vietnam as soon as their identities have been uncovered from the data obtained.
Hiroyuki Nakajima, who is affiliated to the Authorized books of Japan (ABJ), a countermeasure group created by manga publishers, is assisting the publishers with the case. Vietnamese lawyer Ngoc is also a part of the application presented to the court.
Shueisha and Viz had previously tried to obtain this information from Cloudflare Inc., by issuing subpoenas for the same. However, sufficient information to trace or locate the infringers were not received.
According to Nakajima and Ngoc, this was because Cloudflare does not verify the name or address its service user has provided. However, the IP information provided by Cloudflare confirmed that the infringers used the services provided by Paypal, Google and Visa.
“To sufficiently identify the Infringer, it is crucial to obtain the information highly likely to be true, which is name, address, email addresses, and/or telephone numbers for verification purposes and the payment methods registered with the Infringers’ Witnesses’ accounts,” the application submitted by the publishers reads.
According to them, the infringers will provide their true information to services like Paypal, Visa etc, allowing them to pinpoint their identities.
Recently, the operator of piracy website Manga Bank was arrested and punished in China using the information obtained from a series of disclosure orders in U.S. courts against the server companies and other overseas services used.
Manga publishers in Japan have taken stringent action against manga piracy sites in recent times. Mangamura, one of Japan’s largest manga piracy websites, was shut down in April 2018, after Japanese publishers had filed criminal complaints against the website from summer to fall of 2017.
In June 2021, Romi, the alleged administrator of Mangamura, was arrested on copyright charges in 2019 after a global manhunt.