Manga publishers seek piracy evidence in California court filing

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Two Japanese publishers have filed with a US District Court in California to gain access to documentation held in the US by Google, Visa, PayPal, Braintree and Stipe that could support the discovery process in a non-US court proceeding against two large piracy operations trafficking in manga content.

The request was filed by Tokyo-based Shueisha, a publisher of comic books, literature, magazines, and educational books and by VIZ, a publisher and animation distributor based in San Francisco, which is partially owned by Shueisha.

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Two Web sites, and, are allegedly using services provided by the ‘witnesses,’ to upload illegal copies of copyrighted comic books, sometimes soon after publication.  Both sites were in service at the time of this article.

Screenshot of Manganelo Web site taken June 4, 2022.

The case is No. 3:22-mc-80139-KAW filed May 31 in the US District Court of the Northern District of California

Why it matters

Once a niche category outside of Japan and east Asia, manga – stylized artwork, animation and movies mostly originating in Japan – has become mainstream with consumers worldwide.

While no monetary estimates of the volume of infringement are identified in the California filing, Manganelo ranked #1,830 of all web sites worldwide, and #1,306 in the United States, as measured on June 4, 2022 on Similarweb.  This rank is very high in the grand scheme of things, when one considers that Similarweb rankings include all legitimate and illegal Web sites in operation at a given moment.

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