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Tokyo Court Rules Sharing Manga Dialogue Violates Copyright

Kengan Omega

A new ruling in Japan makes sharing the dialogue from manga a punishable offense equal to sharing images from similar works.

According to NHK, publisher Shogakukan pursued legal action against an uploader to a “spoiler site” (a site that posts the contents of a manga but not necessarily the scanned images). The publisher argued that uploading the dialogue of the manga was a case of copyright infringement just as severe as uploading the images to the work.

The work in question is Kengan Omega by Yabako Sandrovich, a fighting series and sequel to the series Kengan Ashura which received an anime adaptation. A user of a spoiler site uploaded the dialogue from the manga to the site for other users to read.

Judge Yoshiaki Shibata of the Tokyo Circuit Court ruled that uploading the dialogue was an infringement of copyright, and ordered the company that managed the site’s servers to disclose the identity of the uploader.

According to NHK, spoiler sites have been on the rise in recent years. Potentially due to the case against “Manga Village” whose owners were located in Japan and thus arrested and prosecuted. Spoiler site owners speculatively thought that including only the dialogue would be skirting legal repercussions; but this recent ruling proves that’s no longer the case.

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