Owner of Mangamura Pirate Site Ordered to Pay 1.7 Billion Yen to Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kadokawa

The Tokyo District Court’s ruling on Thursday mandated the former owner of the notorious Japanese manga piracy site Mangamura to compensate Japanese publishers Shogakukan, Shueisha, and Kadokawa with a sum of 1.7 billion yen (approximately US$11.0 million). This legal decision represents the largest payout ever ordered by a judge in Japan concerning damages in a piracy case.

Shueisha Shogakukan Kadokawa

The lawsuit, filed by the publishers in July 2022, sought 1.9 billion yen in damages, calculated from the piracy of 441 volumes from 17 manga titles, including popular series like “One Piece,” “Kingdom,” and “YAWARA!” The publishers alleged that Romi Hoshino, also known as Zakay Romi, the purported owner of Mangamura, profited from advertising revenue generated by the site. However, Hoshino countered, claiming he was not directly involved in operating the site but rather handled system development and management.

This legal battle follows a prior ruling by the Fukuoka District Court in June 2021, which found Hoshino guilty of copyright infringement and concealing criminal proceeds. Hoshino was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay fines totaling 72 million yen, reflecting the revenue he earned from Mangamura. Despite serving his sentence and being released, Hoshino later petitioned the court in 2023, asserting his innocence and seeking a review of his case.

Mangamura gained infamy in 2016 for hosting pirated manga content, prompting an investigation by Japanese authorities. In April 2018, the Japanese government requested internet service providers to block access to Mangamura and two other piracy websites. Although Mangamura became inaccessible, it did not shut down immediately, as reported by the Asahi Shimbun.

Hoshino, who resided in the Philippines in 2019, was detained by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and extradited to Japan. Other individuals allegedly linked to Mangamura faced legal consequences in connection with the piracy operation.

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Source: Nikkei

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