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  • Writer's pictureOliver Walsh

Beyond Illegal Downloads: Understanding the broader consequences of Anime and Manga Piracy

Updated: Jan 29

Welcome to the colourful and diverse world of anime and manga, where creativity and passion flourish.  


However, beneath the surface of this lively Japanese-originated industry exists a persistent problem of piracy. Anime and manga piracy go beyond just illegal downloads; they have far-reaching consequences for the industry that fans and professionals may not fully comprehend. Pirated media, publications and merchandise all steal from their creators.  


This blog post explores the broader impact of anime and manga piracy beyond unauthorised sharing and downloading. 

Financial Impact on the Industry 


The monetary losses due to anime and manga piracy are staggering. According to an article published on, Japan's Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) has reported a significant increase in losses due to internet piracy. These losses, encompassing not just manga and anime but also music and video games, are estimated to be between 1.9 to 2.2 trillion yen (equivalent to US$14.2 to 16.5 billion) in 2021, five times higher than 2019.  


The anime and video content sector has experienced losses estimated to be between 906.5 billion to 1.4 trillion yen. At the same time, the manga and published media industry faced losses ranging from 395.2 billion to 831.1 billion yen.  


Further emphasising the severity of the impact of Piracy, the Authorized Books of Japan (ABJ) reported that manga piracy alone cost the industry about 1.19 trillion yen during the same period, a rate nearly five times higher than in previous years. This figure starkly contrasts with the growth in official sales, which increased only by 1.6 times. 

Cultural and Creative Consequences 


The impact of anime and manga piracy goes beyond just numbers; it hits the very heart of creativity. The financial strain caused by piracy means less funding is available for developing new and diverse content.  

This limitation not only stifles the creativity of artists but also leads to a decrease in the variety of anime and manga available to fans. The long-term cultural impact can be profound. A diminished industry means fewer cultural exports and a potential decline in the global influence of Japanese pop culture, which has been a significant cultural ambassador for Japan. 

Legal and Ethical Implications 


Piracy isn't just a financial issue; it's a legal and ethical one. The industry has seen various legal actions taken against piracy sites and individuals, but the legal battle is complex and ongoing. reported that in 2023, Brazilian authorities had taken down 36 websites hosting pirated anime.  CODA reported that these 36 sites collectively received an average of 83 million monthly views between December 2020 and February 2021. 


Ethically, piracy undermines the hard work and dedication of creators. It's a breach of intellectual property rights, which are the cornerstone of creative industries. Respect for these rights is essential not just for the health of the industry but for fostering a culture of fairness and appreciation for creators' efforts. 

Technology’s Role in Anti-Piracy 


Technological advancements offer a glimmer of hope in this battle. New streaming platforms, digital rights management systems, and cybersecurity measures are employed in anti-piracy. While these technologies aren't foolproof, they mark a significant step forward in protecting content and ensuring that creators are fairly compensated. 

Join the Conversation and Stay Informed 


The world of anime and manga is constantly evolving, and so are its challenges. By understanding the broader implications of piracy, we can all contribute to a more sustainable and vibrant future for this beloved industry. 


If you're passionate about Intellectual Property and internet Piracy and want to stay updated on the latest trends, news, and insights, sign up for our email list. Join our community of professionals and enthusiasts who are making a difference.

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