Brazil: Spin-off of Operation 404 takes down anime pirate Web sites in coordinated strike

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Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Safety announced that Minas Gerais civil police launched Operation Animes against piracy of the Japanese art form.  It was part of a mobilization effort coordinated by the National Secretariat for Public Security, of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (Senasp/MJSP), through the Cybernetic Operations Laboratory.  Civilian police (PC) in Alagoas were also involved.

While dates for the actual operation were not disclosed, a February 8 news release by the MJSP announced that the two largest anime sites – BetterAnime and Animes-Vision – had been taken down.  In parallel, search engines were de-indexed, and pages on social networks were taken down. A search and seizure warrant at the home of a 22 year-old university student in the city of Arapiraca netted computer equipment.

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According to a subsequent news report, six Web sites were down in total; the others being Anime Online, Animes BR, Animes Online HD and Animes Online.

Close coordination

Operation Anime was coordinated between the Content Overseas Distribution Association (Coda), an association based in Japan, whose members hold rights to Japanese content, and representatives of the Japanese government: the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Agency for Cultural Affairs; Ministry of Communications; and the National Public Policy Agency.  Police teams from Minas Gerais conducted searches and seizures, in addition to blocking websites.

Operation Animes in Arapiraca – Photo: Civil Police, Alagoas (Brazil)

Harsh penalty

According to reports, the penalty for piracy in Brazil is two to four years in prison plus a fine. (Article 184, paragraph 3 of the Brazilian Penal Code). Those investigated may also be indicted for criminal association (art. 288 – CP) and money laundering (art. 1 – Law 9.613/1998).

Further reading

Operation removes major anime piracy sites from the air.  News release. February 8 2023.  Ministry of Justice and Public Security of Brazil (auto-translated into English from Portuguese by Google Translate).

Civil Police carry out operation against piracy in Arapiraca; target is college student. Article. February 14, 2023. Globo g1 AL. (auto-translated into English from Portuguese by Google Translate).

Operation Animes: PC complies with warrant against online piracy in Alagoas. Article. February 14, 2023. (auto-translated into English from Portuguese by Google Translate).

BetterAnime and more anime pirate sites are down after Operation 404. Article. February 23, 2023. Byte – (auto-translated into English from Portuguese by Google Translate).

Civil Police of Alagoas conducts operation against anime piracy. News article. February 20, 2023. Ovicio (auto-translated into English from Portuguese by Google Translate).

Why it matters

Operation Anime was positioned as an offshoot of “Operation 404,” an ongoing anti-piracy initiative that has had a hallmark of collaboration between government agencies within Brazil, law enforcement agencies in other countries around the world, technology suppliers, and industry advocacy organizations.

Operation 404 announces its efforts in phases. Phase 1 in 2019 blocked 210 sites that had servers in Canada, France, Germany and the United States with the help of ACE, 2020’s Phase 2 netted 250 more with help from the US Dept of Homeland Security, London police and the industry group Alianza, Phase 3 in 2021 took out another 334 sites and 94 apps – with one site alone getting 17 million hits per month. In 202253 sites were blocked in the UK and six more in the US, with the help of ACE and Nagra.

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