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Doujinshi Manga Creator Wins Lawsuit Against Piracy Websites

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Woman successfully sues IT company A'class for 2.19 million yen

A female manga artist has successfully sued an IT company which operates doujinshi manga pirate websites. On Friday, the Tokyo District Court ruled that A'class, a Kumamoto-based IT company, was liable for approximately 2.19 million yen (US$19,937) in damages to the woman.

The plaintiff, who is a manga artist and creator of manga, anime, and game-related doujin works, had filed a claim for 10 million yen in damages for copyright infringement. Her works were uploaded without permission to seven pirate sites that distributed doujinshi aimed at women. (The websites are currently offline.) In December 2018, the woman filed a lawsuit against A'class, the operator of the websites.

According to the judgement paper, A'class argued that the plaintiff was not eligible for compensation because her own works were unauthorized derivative works. However, judge Tatsufumi Satō ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the plaintiff's works were unlawful derivative works.

The amount of compensation was also a point of contention. While some sites displayed the number of page views for the plaintiff's works, others did not. The plaintiff made an approximation of the total page view count using the SimilarWeb web analytics tool, but the judge determined that this was insufficient to determine the total count. The page views for the sites which did not display the numbers were instead determined through the average page view counts of the other sites.

The plaintiff's lawyer Kei Hirano said that they were able to determine the operators of the pirate websites by inquiring through the "web advertisement" sections posted on the sites and finding the agency responsible for the advertisements. Hirano then invoked the Bar Association inquiry system, which allows lawyers to make inquiries to public offices or to public and private organizations for information necessary for the case.

Hirano stated if the rules were changed so that advertisement agencies were obliged to publicly disclose their information, then the method he outlined would be even more effective.

Thanks to ravegrl for the news tip

Update: Corrected typos

Source: Bengo4.com News (Masashi Yamashita)


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