Administrator for Manga Mura pirate site gets 3 years in prison, fined over $600,000

In Japan, the Fukuoka District Court found alleged manga piracy site administrator Romi Hoshino guilty on charges of copyright infringement and hiding criminal proceeds.

An Anime News Network report, citing Nikkei and TV Asahi News, said Hoshino, 29, was sentenced to three years prison and two fines: a 10 million yen ($91,000) fine, plus a second, larger fine of of 62 million yen ($565,000) based on revenue Hoshino earned from the site, which he is said to have deposited in a foreign bank account.

Hoshino managed the Manga Mura (Manga Village) pirate site, which made more than 60,000 manga available immediately after publication. Before its shutdown in April 2018, the site was frequented by some 100 million users.

Hoshino was arrested in Manila in July 2019, after the Japanese Embassy in Manila requested Philippine help to capture him.

Holding a press conference after the verdict, publisher Shueisha said it believed the sentence was appropriate, adding it hoped the verdict would serve as a deterrent.

Shueisha's representative also said, "if the works that those who have given their all to create are given away for free, it damages the foundation for the creation of interesting works."

Manga publishers lost about 320 billion yen in potential revenues over a six-month period from September 2017 to February 2018, Japan's Content Overseas Distribution Association said at the time. –

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.