Japan Approves Stricter Piracy Laws for Manga Starting in 2021

When it comes to manga, the industry is constantly battling pirates at every turn, and we are not just talking about the Straw Hats. Luffy's gang may call themselves pirates, but they are not the ones creators are worried about. After all, Japan has passed new copyright laws to better target manga pirates, and they will go into effect starting next year.

The resolution was passed late last week after the parliament met revised a copyright law in Japan. It expands the government's right to punish anyone who knowingly downloads manga illegally (via ANN). This goes for anyone pirating manga or simply uploading it illegally. The approved measure will go into effect on January 1 after politicians went back and forth on it. It was first passed through a cabinet that approved the bill before it reached the Japanese parliament.

Not only does the ban expand laws targeting manga pirates but it also includes measures about so-called leech sites. The websites are ones that collect links to pirated manga and share them with users via a hyperlink. They might not be the site hosting the pirated manga, but they act as a source for such content.

Shonen Jump Manga One Piece My Hero Academia
(Photo: Shueisha)

Currently, the revised bill will allow fans to download snippets of manga, but it pushes back against the entire thing. You can also share photos including manga pages, but they cannot be the main focus of the post. And for safe measure, this bill does not include fan-works of any sort, so you can continue to download those.


If you are caught downloading illegal content, the maximum punishment is two years in jail or a 2 million yen fine. Leech site operators can face worse punishment with five-year jail sentences and additional fines.