Ex-illegal manga site operator sentenced to 3 years in prison by Japan court

A 29 year old man was sentenced to 3 years of Jail time due to operating an illegal manga site which allowed people to read manga like “One Piece, Naruto and Berserk” for free.

Romi Hoshino was running a popular illegal website title “Manga-Mura”, which was shut down 2 years before, due to copyright infringements. Manga-Mura is believed to has caused losses of more than $2.7 billion to the manga industry.

It is believed that Hoshino asked a number of accomplices to join him in making manga available for the website for free through a system he established with the intent to earn a huge amount of money, according to Kambara.

Hoshino was captured in the Philippines after having been listed on an international wanted list. After that he was deported to Japan in September 2019. He had entered the Philippines in May of 2018.

According to the ruling, Hoshino will also pay a 10 million yen fine along with 3 years in prison. While his 62 million yen in overseas account will also be confiscated.

While defending, Hoshino’s defense team argued during the trial that his actions did not constitute a crime because some of the manga files uploaded on Manga-Mura were already viewable/uploaded on other websites.

An official from manga publishing company Shueisha Inc., welcomed the jail sentence as “appropriate.”. Official further commented:

“If a work that authors have put their heart and soul into can be freely accessed by the public, this would harm the environment in creating interesting works,” he said in a press conference following the ruling.

He also said that hopefully this ruling will cause people to stay away from uploading manga illegally online.

Source: Kyodo News

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