The concept of pirating content in the West has been around for a long time, even as it seemed a relatively toothless threat, especially during the early days of mass media and the Internet. Most will remember the FBI piracy warnings from every VHS and DVD, and also how you’d have a good laugh about supposedly subverting the law as you copied over your new favorite film to a blank VHS tape or DVD so you’d never have to rent it from Blockbuster again. The invention of the Internet brought torrent sites, and with it a whole new world of media to explore. TV shows, movies, video games, entire music albums could be downloaded with a click of a button, and once again with seemingly only minor consequences for most.
The West only really seemed to start cracking down on media piracy once industries started losing money to torrent sites. With it came a particularly ineffective ad campaign on the seriousness of piracy, which, in a deeply ironic twist, contained music that was stolen.
While there were a few people who were made public examples of, eventually it seemed as if the moral scandal that was Internet piracy faded from the public eye. However, media piracy in both Japan and the West remains a much more present and complicated issue for publishers and those artists who produce those works.
While efforts against pirate sites and their creators remained consistent throughout the years, this last year alone saw a much larger push against them, with several pirating sites being shut down and manga pirates arrested. Even mangaka Ken Akamatsu, author of Love Hina, recently addressed the Japanese Diet over manga pirating sites and the danger they pose to Japan’s manga publishing industry at large.
Japan’s Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), in collaboration with anime retailer Tokyo Otaku Mode, created the Manga Anime Guardians Project (MAGP) in 2014 to protect anime and manga content overseas, as well as promote the official overseas distribution of manga and anime. Now they’re continuing their mission by releasing 16 anti-piracy themed manga shorts from famed manga authors of all genres, including Mine Yoshizaki, author of Sgt. Frog. The shorts are available in Japanese and English on their official website, as well as animated versions with music. The CODA will also be releasing the manga for purchase in digital and print versions. Four shorts will be released every Friday, until July 3rd.
We here at J-List know one of the best ways to support your favorite manga is to buy your volumes and/or merch from a reputable retailer. Like us! We’ve got plenty of manga volumes, magazines, and related merch just waiting to be yours! And, with our coupon code ‘GETTINGBETTER’ being extended until June 21st, you can save $5 off of any purchase of $25 or more! So do your part to end manga piracy, courtesy of your friends at J-List!