Anime piracy went up 26 times in 2021; New task force formed

Anime and manga piracy exploded in 2021 (Image via Anime Corner)
Anime and manga piracy exploded in 2021 (Image via Anime Corner)

In 2017, some of the world's largest media companies banded together to form a task force to tackle anime piracy. Known as ACE, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment pledged to work with law enforcement to shut down pirate sites, file civil litigation, and forge new partnerships with other content protection organizations.

Yet, anime piracy shot up 26 times its previous level in 2021 alone. To recommit to their fight against increased piracy, certain organizations are forming yet another group to work in unison with ACE. The International Anti-Piracy Organization (IAPO) will launch in April, and will specifically clamp down on manga and anime piracy.

New efforts are being made to stop global anime piracy

The Manga and Anime Industries claim to have lost a good deal of money to piracy (Image via animeindianphilosopher)
The Manga and Anime Industries claim to have lost a good deal of money to piracy (Image via animeindianphilosopher)

ACE is comprised of 30 companies with an interest in maintaining the intellectual rights of manga, anime and other media online. It's not just any companies, either. The coalition includes some of the most powerful in the world.

Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Constantin Film, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telemundo, Televisa, Twentieth Century Fox, Univision Communications Inc., Village Roadshow, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. are all heavy hitters in the industry.

Still, they haven't been able to stem the tide of manga and anime piracy.

According to the group ABJ (Authorized Books of Japan), the top 3 manga piracy websites saw jaw-dropping increases from January 2020 - when traffic was 12.5 million - to October 2021 - when that number exploded to 326 million. And that doesn't even include anime piracy.

ABJ estimates that the financial blow to creators and publishers in Japan alone went from $1.8 billion in 2020 to a whopping $6.7 billion in just the first 10 months of 2021. Granted, there are arguments to be made that these kinds of estimates are based on flawed assumptions, but it's hard to deny that an 26x increase during the pandemic is a dramatic one.

The IAPO will launch in 2022

Even though ACE is a colossal entity, an epically larger one will be launched in April of 2022. The International Anti-Piracy Organization (IAPO) will be comprised of the Japanese group Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in the US, the Copyright Society of China, and similar organizations in 10 other countries.

CODA is made up of 32 Japanese companies (including Aniplex, Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Toei). MPA has 6 major media companies (like Disney and Netflix) and the CSA represents an incredible 450 partners.

The plan is to team up with both local law enforcement in their respective countries and Interpol to go after manga and anime piracy sites like Mangabank, which is back online.

While this looks to be a massive effort on the part of powerful media, many of the same companies have been trying to achieve the same goals for years only to see an increase. No one is even sure that aggressive prosecution of manga and anime piracy sites will deter the trafficking of said materials by the average consumer.

Only time will tell if IAPO will have sharper teeth than those who have come before when it comes to manga and anime piracy.

Note: The article reflects the writer's personal views.