Kodansha Wins 160-Million-Yen Lawsuit Against 3 Pirate Site Admins

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Admins of Haruka Yume no Ato "leech site" previously found guilty of copyright infringement

The Osaka District Court awarded Kodansha its claim for 160 million yen (about US$1.47 million) against three site administrators of the "Haruka Yume no Ato" manga "leech site" on Tuesday. The three administrators of the site already received guilty sentences for copyright infringement in January, and the Court denied their appeal on November 1.

In the January sentencing, the three men received three different prison sentence lengths: three years and six months, three years, and two years and four months, all without suspended sentences.

In October 2017, nine prefectural police departments in Japan worked together and arrested nine suspects for violating the Copyright Act with the website Haruka Yume no Ato (pictured above right), one of the largest leech sites (sites that aggregate and provide hyperlinks to pirated media) in Japan. While the site itself was not illegal under the current law, the operators were arrested for distributing the pirated media for which the site provided links. Publishers Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Square Enix, and Hakusensha worked together on the case.

The Association of Copyright for Computer Software estimated that at the time of the arrest the website had caused 73.1 billion yen (about US$640 million) in damage through lost sales.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported in October 2018 that Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs intends to ban leech sites through revisions of the Copyright Act this year.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported in April 2018 that the Japanese government was planning to submit a bill to the Diet to restrict leech sites. In the same month, the government asked internet service providers to voluntarily block websites that host pirated content.

Source: Animation Business Journal

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