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Mace and Crown | May 24, 2018

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Funimation Suing Kissanime Over DigitalOcean Server

Daija Marrow | Contributing Writer

Funimation has opened a lawsuit against Kissanime after tracking an IP address to DigitalOcean through the downloads of the One Piece anime.

Funimation is the most profitable anime distributor in the United States. This company obtains the rights to Japanese anime and then hires and pays the actors to do voiceovers in English. They are then able to label and sell DVD sets of these animes for hundreds of dollars. They also have a streaming service on their website that charges viewers up to $60.00 a year.

This leads to the unearthing of piracy websites. There are various websites that stream anime for free at the risk of pop-ups and viruses, and then there is Kissanime. Kissanime is one of the top 250 visited websites in America, getting millions of page visits a day.

They are known best for their variety of anime as well as their reliable streaming servers. This site has been Funimation’s target going on four years since its illegal activity is a reason that Funimation’s sales are not as high as they could be.

The first Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA, subpoena was served on Kissanime two years ago. TorrentFreak provides an image of the official DMCA subpoena. Many may recognize it as the long message at the bottom of your Google page in italics after Googling image results. It was implemented in 1998, and its main purpose is to protect copyrighted material since the internet has become easier to access and manipulate.

Although the site has been up since years prior, a subpoena cannot be ordered over the internet. It is a legal document that must be hand-delivered to the Defendant by the Sheriff of that city.

As long as six years ago, Funimation used to track down individual people who downloaded torrent files, suing hundreds for piracy. Recently, they have abandoned that strategy to catch a bigger fish, so the threat has vanished for lone torrenters.

All those years back, One Piece, the #1 anime in both Japan and America was used to find any violators. This time, with that same anime, they tracked down an IP address that lead them to see that DigitalOcean is their main service provider.

DigitalOcean, Inc. is a cloud service that allows people and companies to run websites over numerous computers simultaneously and was only founded in 2011. After tracking the One Piece video to DigitalOcean, Funimation served the subpoena on them, demanding that they halt all operations to Kissanime by June 6. The name Kissanime is not said directly on the subpoena, but the wording states that DigitalOcean stop providing service to anyone who has pirated anime.

In a sense, this is a good thing because piracy is against the law, but Funimation is a borderline monopoly in the United States. They are no stranger to targeting illegal streaming sites, but the fact that they have finally gone after Kissanime spells bad news for other popular sites such as GoGoAnime.

Granted, there is no way to condone illegal activity, millions of people rely on Kissanime and would pay for it before seeing it taken down since it offers content that even Funimation does not have. Despite that, Funimation has targeted Digital Ocean, the second largest hosting company in the world in an attempt to shut down what is possibly their biggest competitor.

Today is June 8 and Kissanime is still running so only time can tell from this point on if the piracy site will stay alive.