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Agency for Cultural Affairs Opens Free Consultations About Issuing Copyright Takedowns

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Japan's government aims to strengthen support for individual creators who may otherwise lack the resources or expertise to issue copyright takedowns

The Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs opened a free online consultation service on Tuesday for creators seeking to combat internet piracy. Individuals can apply for consultation via the copyright information portal website; experts specializing in copyright law will answer questions via online messages.

The consulting experts comprise of a network of over 1,000 registered lawyers, including individuals experienced in copyright law across regions such as Asia, North America, and the EU.

In this way, the government aims to strengthen support for individual creators who may otherwise lack the resources or expertise to issue copyright takedowns. In June, the Agency for Cultural Affairs launched a portal website, which provides detailed information on how to issue copyright takedowns, with a particular focus on targeting overseas piracy websites.

Many high-profile anti-piracy efforts so far have been led by publishers and large corporations. Nikkei Asia reported on January 1 that companies and organizations from over 13 countries are cooperating to form the International Anti-Piracy Organization (IAPO), which launched in April. Japan's Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) is at the center of the new organization. CODA includes 32 Japanese companies such as Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Aniplex, Kadokawa, Sunrise, Studio Ghibli, Bandai Namco Arts, Pony Canyon, Toei Animation, and more.

IAPO will also include The Motion Picture Association of the United States (which has six members including Sony Pictures and Netflix), and approximately 450 members of the Copyright Society of China. Companies and copyright protection groups from South Korea and Vietnam are also expected to participate in the coalition.

According to Nikkei Asia, piracy cost the manga industry approximately 800 billion yen (US$6.92 billion) in Japan alone from January-October 2021. Nikkei Asia stated that number exceeds the amount of the entire market for authorized publications, which it estimated at 600 billion yen (about US$5.19 billion) yearly. The Asahi Shimbun reported that, according to the Authorized Books of Japan (ABJ), a Tokyo-based association working to crack down on pirated manga, the 10 most popular manga piracy websites received approximately 240 million monthly hits from April 17, 2018 to June 2021, after Japanese-language manga piracy site Mangamura became inaccessible. According to ABJ, the top three websites saw a 14-fold increase in views from January 2020 to April 2021.

Japanese publishers Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Kadokawa filed a lawsuit against the American Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare in the Tokyo District Court in February. The lawsuit alleges that Cloudflare distributes data for manga piracy sites that infringes on the publishers' copyrights, and the companies are seeking an injunction and about 400 million yen (about US$3.5 million) in compensation for damages.

Image via Agency for Cultural Affairs

Sources: Agency for Cultural Affairs website, Impress Watch

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