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Pirate manga link site given harsh sentence in Japan

Effectiveness of existing laws limited as online posting spreads

Online piracy costs Japanese publishers of manga and other content almost $4 billion a year in lost revenue. (Photo by Keiichiro Sato)

OSAKA -- A Japanese court on Thursday handed down stiff penalties against three operators of a website that facilitated piracy of copyrighted content. While the ruling brought attention to rampant piracy, it also highlighted the inadequacies of existing laws to tackle the problem.

The website in question was a so-called leech site -- containing links to other piracy sites -- where visitors could navigate to copyrighted content such as manga. The website collected internet advertising fees based on view counts. The verdict painted the case as among the worst ever encountered in Japan, citing the significant losses incurred by copyright holders.

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