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'One Piece' Manga Scanners Arrested, Charged With Copyright Infringement

There is no question that "One Piece" has become one of the most successful manga franchises ever to come out of Japan. Part of its popularity is the risk of its chapters being revealed by spoilers way ahead of their intended release date.

Just recently, several people were arrested after allegedly uploading spoilers of the manga before it went on sale officially. According to the Tokyo Reporter, Yo Uehara of Okinawa Prefecture and Ryoji Hottai from Akita Prefecture, along with five persons, were arrested by law enforcers. The crackdown, the first of its kind, was focused on websites that reveal or spoil details of upcoming manga titles like "Once Piece."

The five allegedly uploaded panels of the anime on spoiler sites before they went on sale to the public. They were charged with copyright infringement.

According to police reports, the suspects' method was to purchase the manga from select stores that carry them before the actual release date.

The strategy seems to be a lucrative endeavor for the suspects, as Hottai is believed to have amassed around 350 million yen via advertising revenue from his own website. Uehara, on the other hand, has reportedly made around 74 million yen since May of 2012.

Meanwhile, the people behind "One Piece" shared their dismay for what happened. "With the author pouring his heart into these works, we are strongly angered it was profitable to release inappropriately made versions," a representative of publisher Shueisha said in a statement to Asahi Shimbun.

"We hope that these arrests will be a warning against piracy and the unauthorized use of publications," the rep added.

The "One Piece" franchise is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, with different kinds of events happening inside and outside of Japan. The first ever Southeast Asian exhibit of "One Piece" titled "Eiichiro Oda presents Hello, ONE PIECE Luffy is here!" is ongoing in Malaysia.

Held at the Isetan Japan Store Kuala Lumpur located in the posh district of Bukit Bintang, the exhibit looks to attract both locals and tourists, reported the Jakarta Post.

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