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Japan plans campaign to curb manga, anime copyright violations abroad

Staff Report

The government will initiate in August a major campaign to curtail the rampant practice, mainly in China, of uploading Japanese anime and manga on the Web for public viewing without authors’ permission, NHK said Monday.

As the popularity of Japanese-made animated movies and cartoons soars worldwide, thanks in part to the government’s effort to promote their export, a growing number of websites, especially those operated by Chinese, are offering their online versions for free in violation of the rights of their copyright owners.

The Cultural Affairs Agency estimates such violations by Chinese pirate sites alone have amounted to at least ¥560 billion in the past year.

In the joint campaign, the government, along with 15 businesses, including anime production companies and publishers, will start Friday to send requests to delete illegal anime and manga postings to some 580 violators that the government has identified. The campaign will also launch a site that leads users to websites that offer official versions of some 250 of the violated works, including recently produced ones, at a cost of several hundred yen, according to NHK.

“We want to create a scheme that allows overseas fans to enjoy Japanese works legally and without worries (for violation) and enables profits from them to be paid to anime production companies and publishers,” NHK quoted a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official as saying.

  • Greftmeister

    It is good that Japan takes these steps that help authors benefit from international copyright law.

    It is just, right and proper that these works are protected so that their authors are given the benefits deriving from these works. The work, creativity and perseverance of the author are compensated, and the law helps broaden their horizons.

    In the age of the internet, these local authors benefit from having their works enjoyed by the world-wide audience. The audience themselves benefit from a more creative culture from the profound insight in these local works.

    It then becomes a win-win for all concerned.

    • Velen (Not WoW)

      Wrong. Very, very wrong. I suggest you take off the rose-tinted glasses there, sir.

      The problem with what you’re saying here is that it is not a win-win for all involved or concerned.

      Some of the works involved may be older works that people may never be able to read or see again because of copyright enforcement. Some of which are no longer in print! The pirate copies, as I told the person below you, also are ironically preserving older titles that nobody would ever be able to otherwise read, especially for the scanlations.

  • Jennifer Williams

    Well hopefully that also means they will release more manga/ anime in English even if its sub. Because there is still a lot of shows that I will never see or read because they haven’t at least subbed it… Thats the only good thing about some of those sites.

  • Michieie

    Someone should tell them about Ken Akamatsu’s idea with J-comi.

  • Brimborium

    “As the popularity of Japanese-made animated movies and cartoons soars worldwide, thanks in part to the government’s effort to promote their export…”

    Disclaimer: I have, for almost a decade, downloaded fansubs, and I’m now a happy Crunchyroll subscriber. I still read Manga online, 95% of which have never been published in English.

    The popularity of Japanese-made animated movies and cartoons soars because of the fansubbing scene and manga aggregators, not because of government efforts. France is pretty much the only European country with a notable presence of Anime/Manga in the media – in Germany, Italy and other EU countries, only cross-media series that promote games get aired (Pokemon,YuGiOh, etc.). This is especially sad for Germany, which had a considerable market for “non-6-to-12-Anime” in the late 90s.

    If I can get a Crunchyroll-like service straight from the Japanese publishers, by all means, I’d love to pay for the content. The chance for that to happen, thanks to complicated licensing issues all over the world and the general inexperience and incompatibility of Japanese publishers with western markets (I work for a Japanese publisher in London), are next to zero, though, I fear.

  • Jeremy Barnes

    It’s good they realize that providing a good service that gives access to the Manga is the right way to go instead of laughably pretending harsher copyright penalties and trying to kill innovative services will do anything. They should teach the RIAA and MPAA how to do it.

  • lecleverfish

    “at least ¥560 billion in the past year”

    Uh-huh, really? Does this include all the scanlated manga that hasn’t been licensed and likely never will?

  • Seyrah

    This cannot help mangaka. Here in the US, only the really popular (mostly shonen) manga receive any kind of promotion. Most of the smaller titles only become known when someone copies and scanlates them. Most fans are very, very happy to buy legit copies of stuff they have come to know by reading on scanlation sites.

  • Richard b

    About time.
    I understand piracy in Anime is a huge problem and lead to the downfall of Bandai Entertainment, and ADV Films among others. Then fans complain they cannot find anime disturbed in the US not realizing they are the root cause by engaging in piracy.

    • Velen (Not WoW)

      Bandai Entertainment’s downfall was because it failed to adapt to the digital age. Not piracy. ADV Films failed to do so as well.

      Online streaming of video is a thing now. Companies need to start offering streaming services of their licensed anime. When they provide a convenient service, with an affordable price, with high, international accessibility, they will prosper.

      It’s also because there are a great many titles that are no longer airing and have video can no longer be found in physical copies. The people you call pirates are also ironically preserving works that would otherwise cease to exist without the existence of the pirate copies

      Use your head before spouting nonsense.