The Mainichi Shimbun is reporting that the Japanese government is taking a new approach to fighting manga piracy. Arrests related to piracy have become more common, and the government is now planning to ask internet providers to block pirated manga websites.
According to The Mainichi Shimbun, an anti-crime cabinet meeting will be held to name three sites that will be potential targets – two of which are operated in China. Manga piracy has been rapidly growing in Japan since last August, and industry members are arguing that they are seeing negative effects.
Japan’s Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) estimates that copyright holders suffered 400 billion yen ($3.72 million) worth of damages in potential lost revenue in a five-month period. Sales of digital manga began dropping last August after seeing a steady rise since 2012, with piracy believed to be the main culprit.
However, The Mainichi Shimbun notes that the government’s move to block access to pirated manga could be unconstitutional due to violating the privacy of communication and censorship laws.
Cabinet members are aware of this stumbling block and will evoke the Penal Code to argue that pirated content is “averting present danger” that harms content publishers.