'One Piece' Scanner Arrested For Illegal Manga Uploads

It looks like another One Piece scanner has been taken down. A new report from Asahi confirmed a self-employed man from Japan has been arrested for illegally uploading manga chapters before their official release.

According to reports, Yo Uehara from Okinawa was arrested by prefectural police in September for illegally uploading chapters of One Piece online (via Crunchyroll). Kumamoto’s district court finally sentenced the offender to 18 months in jail with a three-year suspension this month, and Uehara was fined nearly $4,500 dollars to boot.

The judge overseeing the case released a statement about the growing piracy issue plaguing Japan’s manga industry and the criminal's profit from it. Judge Suzuki said, “Making large profits from the habitual act is vicious. Because the manga was seen by many unspecified people, the degree of infringement of copyright was serious.”

Uehara is just one of five suspected scanners who were arrested in Japan for illegally uploading chapters. The accused are suspected of having shared chapters of One Piece and Tokyo Ghoul:re to spoiler sites. Uehara is said to be the leader of one such criminal group, and his arrest is the first one that has been attached to any high-profile spoilers sites.

According to the police investigations into Uehara, the scanner received early copies of Weekly Shonen Jump and Weekly Young Jump from illegal ‘hayauri’ stores. He would then upload the scanned pages onto his spoiler site where earned at least $653,000 through affiliate ads.

Manga and anime fans already know how prolific piracy in Japan has become. Officials have had trouble curbing the issue thanks to ever-advancing tech, but international companies are doing what they can to make manga more accessible to foreign fans. Services like Viz Media offer SimulPub subscriptions to various manga titles, and anime streaming sites like Crunchyroll offer similar services for in-demand anime series.

Are you surprised by Japan's growing piracy problems? Hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to let me know and talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!

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