The South Korean government has been strictly clamping down on illegal sites translating and distributing Japanese manga in the country. Recently, the site has shut down one of the country’s largest illegal sites, Marumaru. If one accesses the site, you will come across the message “Service maintenance is currently underway. Please check back again later.”
Established in 2013, the illegal manga site grew and earned its site administrator known as “President Park” around 8 billion won through advertising revenue alone. And prior to the site’s closing, “President Park” and other staff members have already begun shutting down the site. Translators stopped translating, while uploaders have also stopped their activities. The site administrators then told all staff that “our store has closed.”
The news comes as illegal webtoons distributor Bamtoki has been facing charges and penalties due to their illegal activities. A Busan district court indicted a 43-year-old programmer who managed Bamtoki on charges of violating copyright laws back in July. They then sentenced him to serve two and a half years of imprisonment with hard labor. South Korean online platform Naver also didn’t get away unscathed as the courts also ordered them to pay 1 billion won in damages.
After Bamtoki’s fall, investigators then turned their focus on Marumaru. However, the manga site proved more difficult to investigate as they used manga uploading site Usagi Syrup to upload their translated manga. That site’s administrators lived in the United States, which proved more difficult for investigators.
A national petition titled “Please Shut Down the Illegal Manga-Sharing Site Marumaru” months earlier. In fact, they submitted it to South Korea’s equivalent to the US’s White House, the Blue House. However, in light of Marumaru’s recent shutdown, a counter-petition titled “Please Don’t Shut Down Marumaru” was launched. The person who started the petition is calling for action to allow people with no money to be able to read manga for free.
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