University of Miami Law Review


Internet piracy threatens Japan’s most popular cultural exports: manga and anime. Fans have taken to translating and distributing the works online for other fans to enjoy because official translated versions of manga and anime are released overseas later than the original in Japan, or they are never released at all. In order to combat the illegal downloading and distributing of manga, the National Diet, Japan’s legislature, passed an amendment to the Japanese Copyright Act that increases punishments for leech sites and illegal downloading of manga.
This Note discusses the manga and anime industries and their struggles with piracy before reviewing the copyright regimes in the United States and Japan. In critiquing the Japanese Copyright Amendment, this Note considers the hardships of enforcement and the manga and anime industries’ resistance to change with new technologies. This Note concludes that a comprehensive licensing regime is needed to stop manga and anime piracy. Such a regime would facilitate timely distribution to satisfy overseas demand, and copyright owners would profit from the expanded market rather than lose out to piracy.