Japanese manga comics have always been popular on pirate sites but, where other categories have seen stalled growth, manga piracy boomed.
This unauthorized activity has not gone unnoticed by publishers, who’ve made it clear that piracy will not be tolerated, wherever it takes place in the world.
Japan’s largest publisher Shueisha finds itself at the frontline of this battle. The company has taken a variety of legal actions, also in a U.S. court, where it hoped to find evidence against the operators of Manganato.com; thus far without result.
With more than 122 million monthly visits, Manganato is one of the largest piracy sites of its kind. In Japan, however, there are other sites that take the top spots. Several of these local favorites were targeted by a legal request filed at a U.S. court last week.
Shueisha Target ‘Pirate’ Sites
Shueisha obtained a DMCA subpoena at a California federal court which requires CDN provider Cloudflare to share all personal information it holds on the people who maintain the accounts of 13dl.to, takefile.link, novafile.org, wupfile.com, hexupload.net, and manga-zip.is.
These sites are all most popular in Japan and they have millions of monthly visitors. Earlier this month the publisher already asked Cloudflare to disable infringing copies of the Grand Jump magazine made available through these sites.
“We demand that you immediately disable access to the Infringing Work and cease any use, reproduction, and distribution of the Original Work. Specifically, we request that you remove or disable the Infringing Work from [the sites] or any of your system or services.”
Cloudflare typically doesn’t remove cached CDN content and that didn’t happen here either. Instead, Shueisha is now trying to identify the sites’ operators directly through the DMCA subpoena, which was swiftly signed off by a court clerk.
Cloudflare Must Share Customer Details
The subpoena requires Cloudflare to share the personal details of customers associated with these domains. This includes addresses, phone numbers, emails, payment details, hosting providers, IP-addresses, and various related activity timestamps.
Cloudflare typically complies with these types of requests but whether that will help Shueisha address its piracy problem depends on how useful the information is. After all, many pirate site operators do all they can to conceal their personal information.
These efforts can provide results, however. Three years ago, popular pirate site Mangastream disappeared after being targeted by a DMCA subpoena obtained by Shueisha.
At the time of writing all of the targeted sites remain online. That said, some progress has been made, as the infringing Grand Jump copies are no longer available on wupfile.com, hexupload.net, and manga-zip.is.
A copy of the subpoena request and all associated information, as filed by Shueisha, is available here (pdf)