Manga Publishers Team Up for 'Stop! Piracy Edition' Info Campaign
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Japan's major publishing companies are joining together for an anti-piracy campaign. The "STOP! Piracy Edition" campaign is a joint effort by Kadokawa Shoten, Kodansha, Shogakukan, and Shueisha to distribute information about the damages caused by pirated manga.
The campaign opened a website with detailed information on piracy's effects on the publishing industry and the various types of piracy that currently exist, like illegal hosting websites. According to the site, the now defunct FreeBooks received 17.5 million monthly visitors before it was shut down, and the recently shut down Mangamura site had as many as 160 million people a month visiting its site. As a result, the sites had the potential to earn hundreds of millions of yen a month in advertisement revenue.
Another version of piracy sites that currently exist in a legal grey area are "leech sites." These sites don't use advertising for revenue, instead earning funds from cyberlocker file storage services. The sites function as a file search engine where visitors find the manga they want and are redirected to a third-party file-hosting site to download it. Publishers are currently pushing to have these type of websites outlawed. Users' ability to download files from cyberlockers are limited; the sites limit download speed and the number of files a user can download simultaneously unless they pay a membership fee. The fee is approximately US$40 per six months.
Publishers have found the only way to combat leech sites is to remove the uploaded files from the file-hosting sites. In October 2017, publishers removed 33,000 files and approximately 430,000 files were removed in 2016. Files are often reuploaded after their removal.
Some pirates upload manga chapters to YouTube by changing the reading format into a video, and they then earn revenue from advertisements. The site also mentions manga chapter leaks as a previous significant source of piracy. Two major leak sites were taken down in 2017, but prior to the sites' removals, they had earned a combined 379 million yen (about US$3.40 million) in ad revenue.
Peer-to-peer programs like Winny, Share, Perfect Dark, and Cabos are used in Japan. However, they are not as popular as the other piracy alternatives because of the need to download software, ease of use, and risk of viruses. The site also says users dropped drastically after rights holders worked with police to detect illegal file sharing, leading to multiple arrests.
Since the STOP! Piracy Edition's website launched, popular manga magazines have shown their support for the initiative. The official Twitter account for Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine shared an image of Yowamushi Pedal's Sakamichi Onoda and the Baki manga's title character with the campaign's logo.
The official account for the Bungo Stray Dogs manga and anime also shared the website with the comment, "Utilizing pirate sites not only reduces manga creators' income, there is also concern that it will cause harm to the sites' users themselves."
出版各社が参加する「STOP! 海賊版」キャンペーンのお知らせです。海賊版サイトの利用はクリエイターの方々の収入が減るだけでなく、利用者自身に被害が及ぶ恐れがあります。是非下記サイトをご一読頂き、皆様のご協力をよろしくお願い申し上げます。 https://t.co/wiVq9bTGrs— 文豪ストレイドッグス公式 (@bungostraydogs) August 1, 2018
Shogakukan launched its separate "NO! Piracy & Illegal Website" campaign in June. The publisher hoped to help eradicate the use of such websites by clearly posting announcements and ads for all of the company's magazines and digital media hubs.
The pirate manga site Mangamura was shut down in April, and police began investigating the site for criminal activity after Japanese publishers filed charges last year. Since the site went down, manga artists are claiming increases in sales of their respective series, alleging that more users are turning to legal means to read manga with the piracy site's demise. Sci-fi shōjo manga creator Toriko Gin, light novel writer Akinori Satake, comedy manga artist Sakuya Amano, and Shonen Onmyouji original creator Mitsuru Yūki all thanked readers after seeing an increase in sales this year.