Chinese authorities have fined the former operator of Manga Bank, which was one of the largest pirated Japanese manga websites in the world, for illegally providing the content.
Major Japanese publisher Kadokawa Corp. made the announcement on July 14 alongside other groups, including the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), an anti-piracy organization, which also promotes the global distribution of Japanese manga, music and games.
This is believed to be the first time foreign authorities have sanctioned someone for running a website that pirates manga in Japanese, according to CODA.
A man who lives in the Chinese city of Chongqing ran several manga sites, including Manga Bank, which distributed pirated versions of the works without permission from the copyright holders, according to CODA.
On June 15, Chinese authorities ordered him to pay about 600,000 yen ($4,320) in fines for violating a local ordinance, according to CODA.
Manga Bank first appeared on the internet in 2019 but was shut down in 2021. The Authorized Books of Japan (ABJ), an anti-piracy body, estimates that the pirate site has cost the Japanese manga industry some $208.2 billion of yen from November 2019 to October 2021. .
Dozens of overseas pirate manga sites have sprung up in recent years, even after Mangamura, one of Japan’s biggest manga piracy sites, shut down in 2018.
The publishing industry lost about 1 trillion yen in 2021 to pirate manga sites, according to the ABJ.