Japan Looking to Tighten Their Manga Pirating Policy

By Bill Toulas / January 5, 2019

The Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA) is promoting stricter laws for the punishment of internet users who download still images of manga comics and pictures. ACA is an advisory committee that engages in the field of copyright protection, popularizing the problems that arise from piracy and organizing education programs on copyright issues. In the case of manga, the Japanese Copyright Act didn’t offer any type of protection against piracy, as all the focus and effort was exhausted in movies and music material. However, ACA believes that the treasured manga material should also be included under their protective umbrella, proposing a strict punishment to prevent further pirating.

According to the new law proposal, violators could face up to two years of imprisonment and a two million yen fine that is the equivalent of around $18k. While this law is still in the draft revisions stage of development, experts claim that it has already been promoted for commenting and optimization, so it is definitely going to see the light in some form, even if the actual punishment figures are transfigured to something else. While the downloads are included in the punishment frame, accessing pirated content online, like viewing images on a website is not considered a criminal act. This is technically obscure, as when viewing media online they are often downloaded onto the user’s systems, even as cached files. This makes it hard for the authorities to form a prosecution framework for users who access pirated content databases, as courts will have to access and analyze individual systems to determine the points of the law infringement.

The ACA panel makes special mention to a website named “Haruka Yumeno Ato” that acted as a central database pointer for people who look to download manga content. According to ACA, the damage caused by sites like this is estimated to about $675 million and is continuously growing, year by year. ACA has received numerous complaints from publishers of manga books and magazines, who are reporting an unprecedented level of piracy targeting against them nowadays. Of course, these platforms that are typically not containing any copyright protected material will not be left out of the new law’s scope. ACA has proposed that owner of websites that merely link to copyright-infringing content should be published by up to five years in prison if the relevant takedown requests are ignored for a determined period of time.

If all of the above increased your appetite for anime, check out our post for the best websites to watch anime and cartoons online for free.

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