2 November 2021Copyright

Manga publisher asks Google to identify online pirates

Japanese Manga publisher Shueisha has asked technology company Google and internet service provider Hurricane Electric to disclose information about alleged copyright infringers to assist it in bringing a lawsuit against the perpetrators in Japan.

Shueisha filed its application for an order permitting discovery for use in foreign proceedings at the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday, October 27.

In the filing shared by TorrentFreak, Shueisha said it is seeking subpoenas to obtain information relating to certain accounts held with Google and Hurricane Electric. The publishing company said that the accounts are held by infringers who have illegally copied and uploaded an “extensive amount” of the publisher’s comic books on piracy platforms.

“Such illegal copies mostly contain the entire pages of the book or volume and some of the illegal copies were uploaded on the Infringing Websites soon after publication,” according to the filing.

This constitutes copyright infringement under Japanese law and, as such, Shueisha is seeking to sue the infringers. As many of the infringers are believed to be in China, the publishing company may also look to file lawsuits there in due course.

Shueisha has asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California to help with this by ordering Google and Hurricane Electric to help Shueisha identify the infringers.

Prior to filing the application, Shueisha sought to obtain information about the websites’ operators from website host CloudFlare via a subpoena obtained under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Although the resulting information did not allow Shueisha to identify specific infringers, it did enable Shueisha to see that certain domain names of concern are supplied by Hurricane Electric. Certain Google services such as Gmail and AdSense are being used by the alleged infringers.

“In order to identify the person who committed unlawful acts against applicant through the witnesses’ accounts in question for purposes of bringing a lawsuit against such person in Japan or China, it is crucial for applicant to obtain the sufficient information relevant to the accounts with witnesses used by the Infringer,” the filing said.

Shueisha asked the court to order that subpoenas addressed to Google and Hurricane Electric may be served for this purpose.

The draft subpoenas ask the companies for all account information related to domain names associated with copyright infringement, to include names, addresses, contact information, and IP addresses.

Shueisha is additionally seeking to obtain logs showing the dates and times that the alleged infringers accessed their accounts.

Shueisha’s attempt to tackle the infringement of its manga content follows Japan’s announcement that it was making downloading manga from pirate platforms illegal. The law came into effect earlier this year.

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