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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