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Viz Media issues response to digital-piracy arrests

by  in Comic News Comment
Viz Media issues response to digital-piracy arrests

Manga publisher Viz Media has issued a statement reaffirming its stance on digital piracy following the arrests in Japan of four men accused of illegally uploading a chapter of One Piece to a scanlation website.

Police in Japan say a delivery company employee stole a copy of Weekly Shonen Jump while it was en route from the printer to the retailer and sold the magazine to three other men, who then uploaded the comic to an English-language pirate site. Here’s Viz’s statement:

On Friday, November 13th, four men in Japan were arrested by the Kyoto Prefectural Police on suspicion of illegally taking, digitizing and distributing manga content originally published in the Japanese edition of Weekly Shonen Jump. Weekly Shonen Jump is the world’s most-read weekly manga anthology and is published in Japan by VIZ Media’s parent company, Shueisha, Inc.

It is alleged that this content was illegally distributed internationally through the online scanlation site MangaPanda. The site is also alleged to be the supplier to additional perpetrators possibly involved in the cross-border violation of intellectual property rights and copyright law.

Digital piracy is a crime that steals what others have worked so hard to create. VIZ Media actively supports manga creators and manga fan culture, and is committed to making the highest possible quality content available to a global audience through licensed channels.

Two more MangaPanda suppliers were arrested for buying another magazine from the same deliveryman and uploading a chapter of The Seven Deadly Sins to the same site.

In case this makes you think, “Wow! I should go straight over to MangaPanda because they’re busting their butts to get the latest manga chapters!” let me offer a bit of advice: Don’t. Purely as a public service, I went to MangaPanda and clicked on the latest chapter of One Piece. My screen was immediately filled with an ad for crafting supplies, and it was one of those ads that makes you click the box to leave the page. (Protip: Don’t click the box!) I had to force-quit to get rid of it. (MangaPanda seems to be particularly buggy; here’s a recent Reddit discussion of problems people had with it.)

On the other hand, Viz publishes the latest chapters of One Piece and six or seven other series simultaneously with Japan via the Shonen Jump digital magazine, which costs 99 cents an issue ($25.99 for the year), with no ads. Crunchyroll carries the latest chapter of The Seven Deadly Sins for free, published simultaneously with Japan. You have to watch an ad, but the ad doesn’t hijack your browser. So in this case, doing the right thing is cheap and easy.

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