Tokyo Court: Posting Manga Dialogue Without Authorization Is Copyright Infringement
posted on by Alex Mateo
The Tokyo District Court ruled on Friday that unauthorized posting of manga dialogue text is considered copyright infringement. Shogakukan had requested information from a "spoiler website's" server provider on a person who had posted nearly the entire dialogue text of a manga, without authorization, from January 2019 to May 2020. Judge Yoshiaki Shibata stated that this person's action constitutes infringement on the copyrights of reproduction and public transmission, and the court ordered that the person's information be disclosed to Shogakukan.
While Shogakukan alleges that the spoiler site also hosted some images from Yabako Sandrovich's Kengan Omega manga (pictured right), the court's ruling on Friday was specifically about the posting of dialogue text from 63 chapters without authorization. (Publishers have previously taken legal actions against people who posted images without authorization.) The publisher's lawyer described the court's infringement ruling on wholesale copying of dialogue as "epoch-making."
The editorial department of Shogakukan's Manga ONE app, which serializes Kengan Omega, claimed that spoiler websites have become a serious issue, and it will take decisive action against actions of copyright infringement in order to protect authors' rights. Shogakukan's lawyer stated that piracy websites are getting more views because of people staying at home due to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Kodansha has begun taking legal action against "several accounts & individuals" to prevent illegal uploads and early leaks of Hajime Isayama's Attack on Titan manga's final chapter. The manga's editor specifically said on Tuesday that the company is working to prevent leaks of text, along with images, and will pursue illegal uploaders "regardless of country."
Sandrovich launched Kengan Ashura with Daromeon's illustrations in the Manga ONE app in 2012 and ended the series in August 2018, but the new Kengan Omega arc launched in the Manga ONE app in January 2019.