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Chinese Authorities Arrest 4 People Allegedly Associated With 'Largest' Anime Piracy Site Aimed at Japanese People

posted on by Alex Mateo
Piracy site shut down on Monday

© Mine Yoshizaki, Kadokawa, CODA
Japan's Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), an organization that aims to reduce worldwide piracy and actively promote the international distribution of Japanese content, revealed on Tuesday that the Public Security Bureau of China's Jiangsu Province have arrested four people in suspicion of being associated with "B9GOOD," one of the "largest" anime piracy sites aimed at Japanese people. Chinese authorities detained an umemployed 33-year-old man on February 14, then from February 18-March 21, searched and interrogated a 30-year-old female company employee female B, an unemployed 38-year-old man, and a self-employed 34-year-old woman. The piracy site shut down on Monday.

The unemployed 33-year-old man admitted to operating the site. He was released on bail on March 19. The Public Security Bureau seized a 4 million yuan (about US$582,000) house that he had purchased with money from the site. Authorities believe that had earned 6-7 million yuan (about US$873,000-US$1 million). He had paid the two female suspects to upload files to the site. The 38-year-old man earned about 300,000 yuan (about US$44,000) from advertising fees and through uploading the content on other sites.

B9GOOD started in 2008 under the name "B9DM." Between January 2021-December 2022, the total number of visits to the site have exceeded 300 million. CODA began issuing removal requests for the site in October 2016, and has since sent over 10,000 removal requests.

CODA had filed a complaint with China regarding the piracy site. According to CODA, this marks the first time that Chinese authorities have arrested a piracy site operator in response to a complaint from Japan. Six companies that submitted requests to CODA for criminal detection were Avex, Inc., TV Tokyo, Toei Animation, TOHO, NHK, and Bandai Namco Filmworks. Several other CODA companies also confirmed damages caused by the piracy site, including Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shogakukan, Studio Ghibli, Tezuka Productions, TV Asahi, TMS, Pony Canyon, Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation, and WOWOW.

CODA, with support from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), launched the Cross-Border Enforcement Project (CBEP) in 2021 to identify operators of piracy websites by conducting digital forensics and open source intelligence research. In January 2022, the CODA Beijing office was recognized as an non-governmental organization, and one of its business activities was to protect legitimate rights of member companies. These developments facilitated in the identification and criminal prosecution of the piracy site operator.

CODA and Tokyo Otaku Mode started the "Manga Anime Guardians Project" (MAGP) in 2014 in order to protect manga and anime content overseas. CODA began posting manga specifically created to counter piracy on its official website as part of the MAGP in June 2020.

Sources: CODA, Comic Natalie

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

Disclosure: Bandai Namco Filmworks Inc. (Sunrise) is a non-controlling, minority shareholder in Anime News Network Inc.

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