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Fans of Japanese anime were in shock as KissAnime, a popular anime streaming site that hosted pirated content alongside its sister website KissManga, has announced through their official Discord channel that they will be shutting down permanently.

Japanese Lawmakers Extend Scope of Copyright Protection

This shutdown comes as no surprise, as the Japanese Diet has passed a revised anti-online piracy law in June, which extends the protection scope of the existing legislation.

According to Kyodo News, the new law has added manga, magazines and academic texts to the list of materials that cannot be downloaded illegally. Most notably, the law also introduced new clauses that regulates “leech websites”, which provides links for users to download files (often pirated or illegal) from file sharing networks such as BitTorrent.

The ban on illegal downloading will take effect on Jan. 1 next year, while restrictions on leech sites will come into effect on Oct. 1.

This new law comes as the Japanese government tries to crack down on content piracy, which is estimated to have caused losses of up to 300 billion Yen (RM11.8 billion) to publishers.

Not Related to Passed Law, Moderator Says

Following the shutdown and much speculation, a moderator of the KissAnime subreddit came out to explain that the shutdown was not related to the new Japan copyright law. The post further clarified that Disney was not involved in the shutdown, torrent listing websites will not be closed down anytime soon, and in the case of KissAnime, anime sites can only be taken down by their service providers.

Anime sites can only be taken down with a warrant or termination by their service provider. (This is what happened with KA)

Despite New Laws, Anime Piracy is Still Expected to Thrive

Given the above post, and the existence of other alternative streaming & piracy sites, it is safe to assume that the law will do little to stem content piracy but push it further underground instead.

According to the US Cybersecurity magazine, the main reason people pirate content or software is financially motivated, whether simply because they can’t afford it, or do not wish to pay for it.

Another reason that is particularly prominent in the content industry is the issue of region locking, which helps the content producer to give exclusive rights to regional distributors by preventing audience in a country to access content through another platform. And in platforms that provide access to Malaysian viewers, very often the content choice is limited or delayed.

Until these issues are resolved, no law could completely eradicate content piracy.

Chong Nin
Author: Chong Nin