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Former Illegal manga website operator sentenced to 3 years in jail

Manga-Mura-operator
Photo: Bureau of Immigration

Romi Hoshino, a 29-year-old Japanese who previously operated an illegal manga site has been sentenced to 3 years in prison in Japan.

The man was found guilty of copyright infringement by the Fukuoka District Court for providing illegal copies of mangas on his website, Manga-Mura. In total, the manga industry reportedly lost over 300 billion yen (around $2.7 billion).

The prosecution asked for 54 months in jail and a 10 million yen fine, in addition to the confiscation of the earnings made from the illegal activity. Manga-Mura generated revenue from online advertisements and banners shown on the website.

During the trial, Hoshino’s legal defense team argued that the manga files on Manga-Mura are not a crime because the contents were also viewable on other sites.

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In September 2019, Hoshino was deported to Japan after being detained in the Philippines for being on the international wanted list. That’s after almost 16 months since he first entered the country. 

Hoshino and three other accomplices, according to the indictment, uploaded unauthorized copies of the popular manga “Kingdom” as well as “One Piece” on Manga-Mura back in May 2017.

To hide the money generated by the illegal website, Hoshino allegedly concealed the 62 million yen revenue using overseas bank accounts. Manga-Mura was closed down in April 2018, one month before he went to the Philippines.

Source: Japan Times

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