Court: Spoiler website infringes comic copyright

NHK has learned that a Japanese court ruled that the unauthorized posting of parts of a comic on a spoiler website is an act of copyright infringement. The court also ordered the website operator to disclose who posted the content.

The serial comic "Kengan Omega" is available on an app operated by Japanese publisher, Shogakukan.

But lines and images of 63 episodes of the series from January 2019 to May last year were posted without authorization.

The comic's author claims that the spoiler website infringed on his copyright and demanded to know who uploaded the content.

In a ruling handed down last Friday, Presiding Judge Shibata Yoshiaki of the Tokyo District Court said the act constitutes infringement of the right of reproduction and public transmission.

The lawyer for Shogakukan said the ruling is a major achievement.

The editorial department of Shogakukan's MangaONE comic book app said spoiler sites have become a serious issue. It said it will tackle whatever acts of copyright infringement in order to protect the rights of authors.

It's suspected that those who post unauthorized comic content earn massive amounts of advertising income.

Sources say an increasing number of such sites are posting lines of comic characters, instead of comic contents themselves. The publishing industry is taking legal action against malicious websites.

The lawyer for Shogakukan said visits to piracy websites are on the rise as many people are forced to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.