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Japanese Police Arrest 9 Tied to 'Haruka Yume no Ato' Manga Linking Site

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Site allegedly linked to other sites with pirated manga, was shut down after initial probe in July

The Association of Copyright for Computer Software (ACCS) announced that nine prefectural police agencies arrested nine suspects on Tuesday on the charge of violating the Copyright Act in connection to "Haruka Yume no Ato," an alleged "leech site" that linked to manga posted online without authorization. Police agencies from Osaka, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Niigata, Okayama, Kagawa, Ehime, and Fukuoka were involved in the investigation.

A leech site is a site that does not host unauthorized content, but provides searchable links to sites where users can find and download such content. ACCS labels Haruka Yume no Ato as the largest among these leech sites in Japan, and it allegedly linked to sites that contained illegal copies of manga. The Kōsekikai group launched the site in 2008.

Police initially conducted a probe and a search of the homes and offices of individuals from the Kōsekikai group on July 19, and the site shut down on the same day.

The ACCS values the amount of copyrighted content linked from the site from July 2016 to June 2017 as worth 73.1 billion yen (about US$645 million). Publishers with content reportedly linked to by the site included Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Square Enix, and Hakusensha. Among the listed titles are Naruto.

The police revealed details on a few of the suspects: The first is Makoto Wauke, a 22-year-old former graduate student from Sakai City. The second is Takaaki Noriai, a 23-year-old I.T. company representative from Toyonaka City. Police stated that the nine suspects' ages range from 22 to 55 years old. Five of the suspects allegedly administered the site, and four allegedly contributed unauthorized content.

Sources: The Asahi Shimbun (link 2)

Update: Typo fixed. Thanks, Blanchimont

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