Jul 4, 2024 1 min read

Sony Music Japan hunts pirate site operators through US courts

The people behind a piracy service that specialises in Japanese music could be about to run into some legal challenges. Sony Music Japan has secured a US court order which forces Cloudflare to provide info about the site’s operators, with the aim that Sony can identify and pursue the individuals

Sony Music Japan hunts pirate site operators through US courts

Sony Music Japan has successfully secured subpoenas in the US courts that compel internet services company Cloudflare to disclose information it has on file in relation to a piracy site specialising in Japanese music. 

The site in question, Hikari-no-Akari, has apparently been operating for more than a decade and pulls in more than a million users each month. According to Torrentfreak, the website curates links to illegal downloads of tracks, including a number of recordings owned by Sony Music Japan. Recently shared tracks include 'Sayonara, Mata Itsuka!' by Kenshi Yonezu and 'Peacekeeper' by Stereo Dive Foundation. 

Hikari-no-Akari’s operations also extend to a private forum and Discord server with tightly controlled membership, with operators only occasionally opening them up to new members. The exclusivity of these platforms led one Reddit user to compare the server to “an inter-dimensional portal that only opens during a certain planetary alignment”.

The piracy site uses various Cloudflare services as part of its operations, prompting Sony to request that the company remove various links to illegal copies of its recordings last month. Cloudflare has long resisted efforts by the music industry to force it to proactively target piracy sites that use its platform, generally only responding to court orders. 

Through the subpoena, Sony hopes to get crucial information about the individuals behind Hikari-no-Akari, including names, IP addresses and payment info. This information is likely to form the basis of future legal proceedings against the site’s operators, if and when the record company obtains the information.

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