Sure, pirates of ANY kind sound pretty cool…
But these weren’t the One Piece kind of pirates, they’re the illegal, jerk-faced, ripoff experts that cost the anime industry millions of yen every year.
Asahi Shimbun explains that Haruka Yume no Ato (don’t bother searching for the site, it’s dead) was a file-sharing website that encouraged users to upload images from their favorite manga. While the site was shut down in September 2017, police have now nabbed 9 operators and others contributors who uploaded illegal content.
In operation since 2008, the site was started and run by remote contributors across Japan, including postgraduate students and professional corporate employees alike – both male and female – whose age’s range from 22 and 55 years old.
After months of investigation, Japan’s Cyber Crimes division launched a joint sting operation (no joke) that spanned across several cities, including Okayama and Takamatsu, and prefects, including Osaka, Chiba, Fukuoka, and Kanagawa. All 9 suspects were arrested from their homes on Halloween for violating Japan’s Copyright Law (specifically the Rights of Public Transmission).
Copyright infringement is tricky to prosecute (in any country), but the po-po feel they have a pretty strong case, since Haruka Yume no Ato has been in operation so long and have a HUGE amount of pirated manga (somewhere around 100,000 files).
The site’s operators went as far as to offer users cash incentives for uploading illegal manga. Not wise, considering how manga and anime is one of Japan’s top international exports. It’s understandable why manga artists would want to nip this in the bud.
Sure, the anime/manga industry isn’t suffering from lack of money – the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) recently reported the industry just broke sales figures in 2016, bringing the yearly haul up to over 2 trillion yen. But crime is crime and pirates are pirates. And when the ship is leaking gold, someone’s gonna patch it up.
So remember fellow law-abiding-citizens-of-the-world, just pay for your damn manga. Otherwise you may get an unwelcome knock on your door, early some Halloween morning.
Besides, there are several websites around the web you get your anime fix for free. (Hint: you’re on one right now).