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Torrent news: Alleged Mangamura admin blamed for $2.9 billion copyright damages arrested in the Philippines

‘Attack on Titan’ Volume 24 trailer | Photo by Kodansha Comics/YouTube

Torrent and piracy sites have always been at odds with companies and governments around the world. This year, Japan intensified its crackdown on websites that allowed millions of fans to read manga for free, leading to a recent high-profile arrest.

A 28-year-old man named Romi Hoshino, also known as Zakay Romi, who allegedly operates the once widely followed manga piracy site, Mangamura, was arrested in the Philippines on Sunday. The website is blamed for costing Japan’s manga industry around $2.9 billion in copyright damages.

Alleged torrent, piracy site admin to be deported to Japan

Hoshino, using his Japanese passport, was flagged at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila upon attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong. Immigration officials initiated the arrest upon the request of the Embassy of Japan to the Philippines and with help from Japan Interpol.

The 28-year-old man has since been detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City and will possibly be deported to Japan where a warrant of arrest secured on Wednesday by Fukuoka police awaits. Japanese authorities reportedly believe that Hoshino is not the only one managing the free manga website. This could mean that more arrests might follow in the near future.

Torrent site generated $2.9 billion copyright damages in 6 months?

Japan’s Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) identified Mangamura as one of the biggest websites accused of massive copyright infringement, specifically affecting the manga industry. Between September 2017 and February 2018, CODA reported Mangamura was visited around 620 million times or over 100 million visits for a month.

The agency translates that traffic to a profit loss of around ¥319.2 billion ($2.9 billion) that could have gone to official publishers of digital contents accessible on Mangamura. Interestingly, it was reported that the digital manga sales in 2017 saw bigger numbers than the physical manga in stores for the first time ever.

Japan requested local internet service providers to block access to Mangamura in April 2018 because the country does not have laws that would require ISPs to block sites accused of piracy and copyright infringement. But some sources claimed that Mangamura operators voluntarily took down their website.

By Jess Ferrera
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