Three people have been arrested in Japan for crimes against One Piece. We all know that One Piece is a big deal, but I was surprised to see people getting arrested over it. The people in question allegedly violated the Copyright Act by posting One Piece scans online before they were even “published”.
The police say they acquired early copies of Weekly Shonen Jump from a seller that was breaking street date. It’s not completely uncommon, and it’s something that happens with video games all the time. But it’s not something you really would want to draw attention to.
Two of them are claimed to have been working as a pair (it should be noted one of them denies the claims to an extent). It seems they scanned the pages themselves, and uploaded it to their ad-supported site. Apparently their operation had been going back to just over a year. Thanks to ads, it’s estimated they earned just shy of $700k.
The other person was arrested solo. It seems they’d been doing the same thing, but it appears he was merely copying the scans from other websites, including the website operated by the other two people. He was also running ads. Running for three years, it’s estimate he earned a crazy $2.8m. He claims it was to help pay for his living expenses.
The sites these people were involved with have not been named.
Ironically, just like these three people, Luffy and the Straw Hats are also pirates. However, they carry a message of friendship and respect, and are only really after the fabled One Piece — not copyrighted works. Luffy would never do that. Those would be evil pirates he would fight. Probably. Maybe they will cameo in Oda’s work in future.
Shueisha, the publisher of Weekly Shonen Jump, had this to say:
We are angry that the work created by the author’s hard work has been re-published in such an inappropriate manner, for someone else’s profit. Hopefully these arrests will be a warning to others against pirating works, and unathorised and unprecedented publication of these works.
One Piece will be off next week…