Long ago, manga fans had it hard when it came to finding their favorite titles. The task of finding even popular titles like Dragon Ball was hard to do once, and it left readers with little choice but to pirate titles. Now, the accessibility of manga is greater than ever, and it seems new regulations may be coming to Japan to halt its widespread piracy problem.
According to a report by , Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs is drafting punishments to curb consumers downloading illegally scanned manga. So far, the plan is to bring these laws into practice in 2019, and they are rather stringent.
The punishments would target anyone who downloads manga, novels, magazines, essays, or photos online despite knowing they’ve been shared illegally. The proposal would give offending fans a two-year prison sentence or a nearly $18,000 USD fine.
Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs is hoping to submit proposals banning sites that promote manga sharing. The law would ban so-called leech sits which collect links to pirated manga. In the past, the government has asked Internet providers to ban websites hosting any sort of pirated manga, and a major Japanese provider did agree. However, a lawyer has since failed a suit against Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation for the decision as it allegedly violates the Telecommunications Business Act.
With piracy running rampant with the manga industry, Japan is doing what it can to prevent content from being shared by any means. Earlier this year, scanner sites such as Mangamura were shut down after police investigated its illicit uploads. According to Japan’s Content Overseas Distribution Association, piracy wrought nearly $3.8 billion from copyright holders in 2017 alone. So, fans can understand why these new rules are being drafted. After all, if consumers are penalized for downloading the content knowingly, the hope is they’ll turn to official venues for reading.
So, what do you think about these proposed punishments for manga readers? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime