Four of the largest manga publishers in Japan have collectively filed a lawsuit against American CDN provider Cloudflare, citing piracy concerns.
Four major manga companies are suing American company cloudflare to prevent piracy of their published works. Copyright and piracy have been problems for many years and now, and these publishers may have found a way to tackle several unspecified sites. This could provide a pathway for other publishers to do the same in the future should the lawsuit be successful or at least influential.
Piracy is a major concern for publishers around the globe, with few solutions seemingly in sight. While some sites have been closed down over the years, others have operated largely untouched. Now, manga publishers in Japan are taking matters to the Tokyo District Court.
on twitter, VIZ shared a link to an official statement from Shueisha, which discusses the lawsuit in further detail. Also included in the filing are Kadokawa, Kodansha, and Shagakukan. These publishers are suing Cloudflare, Inc. – an American company based in San Francisco. This lawsuit aims for “an injunction against the public transmission and reproduction of piracy contents and compensation for damages. The amount of damages claimed is based on one work by each plaintiff, and $4 million in total for 4 works as a partial claim.” This lawsuit could prove effective in curbing some comic piracy efforts, which could extend to other publishers taking similar actions if companies are found guilty of not taking appropriate measures to end improper usage of their services, which is the accusation being leveled at Cloudflare.
Cloudflare, according to Shueisha’s statement, is “one of the largest content delivery network (CDN) providers in the world.” The manga publisher claims that nine of the ten top traffic-receiving piracy sites are using Cloudflare’s services. Within the statement, Shueisha has several criticisms about the CDN provider’s methods, such as its lack of limitation for free service and ability to hide site operators’ IP addresses – therefore preventing action against them by manga publishers. The statement also specifies the actions which Shueisha and its filing partners would like Cloudflare to take. These include stopping “public transmissions through Cloudflare’s server,” stopping “temporary caching of Cloudflare’s servers in Japan,” and canceling “contracts with operators of piracy sites that are clearly illegal.”
Shueisha also claims that years have been spent trying to remedy this situation with Cloudflare having an “uncooperative attitude… in response for cooperation in fighting piracy.” Closing down piracy sites has not been easy for many comic publishers or other creative companies. and singular site targeting has rarely proved effective long-term. Many other sites often pop up to take the place of closed sites. However, cutting off a crucial aspect of the sites’ infrastructure could prove more effective. Comics has long faced internet piracy of materials, with manga piracy producing numerous fan translations and before works are even licensed by companies in some cases. This lawsuit could severely alter the piracy landscape for manga – as well as for comics on a global scale – should courts rule in Shueisha, Kadokawa, Kodansha, and Shagakukan’s favor or should cloudflare opt to make voluntary changes outside of a courtroom.
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