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Police crack down on ‘One Piece’ spoiler sites, arrest 5

Yo Uehara
Yo Uehara, a web designer from Okinawa Prefecture (TBS News)

TOKYO (TR) – In what is being viewed as a nationwide first, law enforcement divisions across the nation have cracked down on sites that reveal content from upcoming manga titles, including “One Piece,” that appear in magazines prior to issues going on sale, it was learned on Wednesday, reports NHK (Sept. 6).

On multiple occasions beginning in July of last year Yo Uehara (30), a resident of Okinawa Prefecture, Ryoji Hottai (31), from Akita Prefecture, both of whom are web designers, and three other persons are alleged to have uploaded panels from “One Piece” from magazine Shukan Shonan Jump to spoiler sites prior to the issues going on sale.

The suspects have been accused infringing on the copyright of publisher Shueisha and manga artist Eiichiro Oda, who is the creator of “One Piece.”

According to police, the suspects purchased the magazines at stores that offer magazines before they regularly go on sale and scanned the panels for upload. Hottai, who has already been prosecuted, and Uehara admit to the allegations.

The arrests represent the first crackdown on spoiler sites for manga titles, police said.

Advertising revenue

Since September of 2014, Hottai is believed to have collected about 350 million yen in advertising revenue through a site he manages. Meanwhile, Uehara has earned 74 million yen in revenue since May of 2012.

“With the author pouring his heart into these works, we are strongly angered it was profitable to release inappropriately made versions,” a representative of Shueisha is quoted by the Asahi Shimbun (Sept. 6). “We hope that these arrests will be a warning against piracy and the unauthorized use of publications.”