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Arrests Made After Multiple Major One Piece and Jujutsu Kaisen Leakers Shut Down

Image by: Courtesy of Toei Animations

Individuals suspected of infringing Weekly Shonen Jump's copyright for One Piece and Jujutsu Kaisen have been arrested.

Manga publishing is a multi-billion-dollar industry, with the top manga app of 2023 seeing a massive $675 million in transaction volume.

Rumblings from the end of last year indicate that manga and manhwa publishers are now taking increasing steps to protect their copyright, with Kakao Corporation successfully stopping the development of the popular Tachiyomi in December.

Asahi Shimbun, a newspaper company, reports that police stationed in Kumamoto -- One Piece author Eiichiro Oda's hometown -- arrested two foreign citizens suspected of infringing on Weekly Shonen Jump's copyright. They have been accused of posting the latest chapters of a Weekly Shonen Jump manga in both January and March 2023 before the magazine's release date.

Both suspects accepted the first charge. However, they denied the second. Items seized from the individuals, including phones and magazines. The Kumamoto Prefectural Police displayed them.

The evidence contained images from the popular manga leaker OPScans, leading many to believe that among the arrested were operators behind the site. The OPScans website has since shut down and remains so as of Feb. 5, 2024.

Weekly Shonen Jump publishers Shueisha released a statement the following day regarding the arrests (via Oricon), stating that it views leaking content as extremely problematic. This issue directly harming the writers as well as young fans who have stories spoiled unfairly.

Kodansha, a fellow publisher, also revealed that it is cooperating with this investigation. It added on its website, "We recognize that the arrest of the suspect this time is an important step toward resolving this extremely malicious problem. In order to prevent the spread and spread of piracy damage, we, Kodansha, will continue to cooperate with investigative efforts and proactively take measures against pirated copies."

This has also resulted in Shonen Jump Manga leakers closing sites and discords after the arrests. This has sent a wave through the leaking community, with many closings down their websites, X (formerly Twitter) accounts and Discords through which these leaks are frequently spread.

While this is a win for manga publishers, closing sites and Discord servers is likely only temporary and a preventative measure, given that phones were seized, leakers are likely trying to shut down all avenues that lead back to them. This is probably because the two members arrested were likely part of multiple, even rival Discords.

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