Manga Site Blocks Adult Content, But Only For US and UK Users

Samantha Cole reports via 404 Media: A Japan-based online art platform is banning kink content for users based in the US and UK, as laws in these countries continue to tighten around sites that allow erotic content. Pixiv is an image gallery site where artists primarily share illustrations, manga, and novels. The site announced on April 22 that starting April 25, users whose account region is set to the US or UK will be subject to Pixiv’s new terms of use, “Restrictions for Healthy Expression in Specific Countries and Regions.”

The restrictions include several kinds of content that are illegal in the US, including sexualized depictions of minors and bestiality, as well as non-consensual depictions and deepfakes. But it also includes “content that appeals to the prurient interest, is patently offensive in light of community standards where you are located or where such content may be accessed or distributed, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value, or otherwise violates any applicable obscenity laws, rules or regulations.” This is an invocation of the Miller test, which determines non-constitutionally protected obscenity. “I’d never say this a few years ago, but it’s my personal fear that the next step is most major internet hosting services implementing these policies on an infrastructure level,” said an artist who goes by kradeelav. “My colleagues are certainly planning for it by specifically looking for kink-friendly hosts, to actually making homebrew servers themselves in worst-case scenarios.”

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China Shuts Down Major Manga Piracy Site Following Complaint From Japan

Anti-piracy group CODA is reporting the shutdown of B9Good, a pirate manga site that targeted Japan but was operated from China. In response to a criminal complaint filed by CODA on behalf of six Japanese companies, which were backed by 21 others during the investigation, Chinese authorities arrested four people and seized one house worth $580,000. TorrentFreak reports: Manga piracy site B9Good initially appeared in 2008 and established itself under B9DM branding. SimilarWeb stats show that the site was enjoying around 15 million visits each month, with CODA noting that in the two-year period leading to February 2023, the site was accessed more than 300 million times Around 95% of the site’s visitors came from Japan. B9Good had been featured in an MPA submission to the USTR’s notorious markets report in 2019. Traffic was reported as almost 16 million visits per month back then, meaning that site visitor numbers remained stable for the next three years. The MPA said the site was possibly hosted in Canada, but domain records since then show a wider spread, including Hong Kong, China, United States, Bulgaria, and Japan.

Wherever the site ended up, the location of its operator was more important. In 2021, CODA launched its International Enforcement Project (CBEP), which aimed to personally identify the operators of pirate sites, including those behind B9Good who were eventually traced to China. Pursuing copyright cases from outside China is reportedly difficult, but CODA had a plan. In January 2022, CODA’s Beijing office was recognized as an NGO with legitimate standing to protect the rights of its member companies. Working on behalf of Aniplex, TV Tokyo, Toei Animation, Toho, Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), and Bandai Namco Film Works, CODA filed a criminal complaint in China, and starting February 14, 2023, local authorities began rounding up the B9Good team.

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