Editor’s Note: The above image was created by AniRadioPlus.
KissManga and KissAnime have reportedly shut down, due to the increasingly strict laws on piracy in Japan.
We previously reported that the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA) had announced changes to the law regarding illegal downloads of manga in late November, 2019. In short, it punished downloading more than “a few panels” of manga, or sharing them online.
Now, AniRadioPlus reports that KissManga and KissAnime (piracy websites for manga and anime respectively) have been shut down. Citing screenshots of the websites’ Discord server, it shows the announcement of servers closing, and then the full closure due to copyright four hours later.
“Our beta servers have been taken down, this could lead to the close of the website. We will make more announcement after we have the decision.”
“All files are taken down by copyright owners. KissManga and KissAnime will be closed forever. Thank you for your supports [sad face emoji] Thank you for those years.”
As the history of piracy websites are vague, ICANN Lookup states KissManga launched in 2011, while KissAnime launched in 2012. However, both websites may have been running longer under other domains, or as a “Fan Translation” or “Fan Sub” group.
AniRadioPlus reports the stricter piracy laws will come into effects on January 1st, 2021. Punishment for repeatedly breaking the law includes two years in jail, a maximum fine of ¥2 million (est. $18,500 USD), or both. Those running piracy websites face up to five years in jail, a maximum fine of ¥5 million (est. $46,250 USD), or both.
Piracy of manga and anime has always been a gray issue when it comes to works not officially licenced outside of Japan. This is further compounded when official licencees have made changes to the material, use poor subtitles or dubbing, or are otherwise objectionable to consumers.
There are also concerns about how much supporting the officially licenced translation supports the original creators. In 2019, anime director and character designer Terumi Nishii stated in an interview that despite claims by some non-Japanese companies giving large investment or support to the anime industry, that the animators themselves had not noticed any major changes.
Around 2017 it was also discovered a European Union report had been suppressed by the EU itself; as the 300 page report concluded that it did not “show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect.”
In early 2020, Team Four Star announced they were ending the Dragon Ball Z Abridged web series, in part due to concerns of being flagged on YouTube for breaking copyright. This was despite them having some positive relationship with the licencers in the west; gaining early access to Dragon Ball games, and the voice actors having cameos in the official Dragon Ball dubs and games.
Nonetheless, fans of manga and anime are typically encouraged to support officially licenced releases. Though Crunchyroll and Funimation have both seemingly used KissAnime screenshots in their promotions on social media [1, 2].