A court in the United States has ordered internet firms including Google LLC to disclose the identity of the operator of a large-scale manga piracy site in line with a request from Japanese publishers, court documents showed Monday.
Shueisha Inc., which has been in discussions with three other publishers over their response to the piracy site "Manga Bank" since last year, has filed petitions twice this year seeking Google, among others, to disclose information on the operator.
The court each time gave an information disclosure order, according to the publisher.
Manga content worth at least 208.2 billion yen ($1.8 billion) have been viewed freely through October 2020 since Manga Bank opened in late 2019, according to an estimate by the Authorized Books of Japan, an organization combatting piracy.
Shueisha has said it confirmed earlier this month that Manga Bank has already been shut down.
To deal with manga piracy sites, the "government and relevant ministries will closely coordinate to take effective measures," said Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno at a press conference Monday.
In 2019, several people were arrested and indicted over the operation of another major illegal free-cartoon viewing website Manga-Mura. But online piracy has continued, prompting publishers to ask internet service providers to delete pirated content.
Japan has strengthened its measures against piracy, with parliament enacting last year a revised anti-online piracy law to tighten copyright control, banning illicit downloading of manga, among others.