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Manga Piracy Site Manga Rock to Shut Down (Updated)

posted on by Alex Mateo
Staff issue apology for causing problems to manga industry

Pirated manga aggregator app Manga Rock revealed on Sunday to the J-Cast News website that it plans to shut down the service. The service's website is currently accessible, and the smartphone app remains available to download. The website and Facebook page for Hong Kong-based technology company Noizer Limited's subsidiary Not a Basement Studio, the Vietnamese company that manages Manga Rock, are inaccessible.

Not a Basement Studio told J-Cast News that Manga Rock started as a project when the staff were college students, and it gathered scanlations that were already released. The company also said:

At that time, we didn't understand the manga industry, and we didn't know the origin of the scanlations (including things without official licenses). As time has passed, we have come to understand the damage being incurred by manga creators and publishers. Moreover, as Manga Rock's popularity increased more and more, the damage also increased. Therefore we are deeply reflecting on our role in accelerating the popularity of scanlations, and we give our heartfelt apologies to the victims, manga creators and publishers. As a result, we plan to shut down our scanlation website and app. We also recommend that similar scanlation sites (there are many) shut down as well. We are truly sorry for causing problems for the manga industry.

Irodori Comics CEO On Takahashi posted a series of Tweets in both English and Japanese last Tuesday criticizing Manga Rock. Their Japanese Twitter thread has accumulated more than 60,000 retweets since its posting.

In the tweets, Takahashi described the Manga Rock app for Japanese speakers. (The app is region-blocked for users is Japan.) Not only does Manga Rock share illegal scans of numerous manga series, the app also has a paid subscription service that costs US$4.99 per month. Due to this and the legitimacy the app gains from being hosted on the Google Play Store and the App Store, Takahashi argued that many users of the app are unaware that it is an illegal service.

Manga Rock launched in 2010. The app allows users to read manga chapters online or download them for offline viewing. The disclaimer for the app states: "All manga, character, and logos belong to their respective copyright owners." It also claims that Not A Basement Studio does not have any affiliation with the website that hosted the unauthorized manga scans.

The Japanese-language manga piracy site Mangamura became inaccessible in April 2018. Japanese publishers had filed criminal complaints against the website in summer through fall 2017, and Japanese authorities revealed in May 2018 that they were actively investigating Mangamura. Police have since made several arrests related to uploading unauthorized images on the site.

Update: This article previously stated that the Manga Rock website is no longer accessible. The website is currently inaccessible if a user's internet browser has Japanese or Korean options enabled, but the website is still accessible if those browser options are disabled. The article has been updated.

Source: J-Cast News (谷本陵)

This article has a follow-up: Manga Piracy Site Manga Rock Rebrands as MR Comics (2019-09-06 14:15)
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