Illegal webtoon site shut down as part of joint collaboration

26 April 2022
Protecting intellectual property in the digital age

LYON, France - Joint collaboration between INTERPOL, Korean and Moroccan law enforcement resulted in the shutdown of an illegal webtoon site and detention of a suspect. Moroccan authorities facilitated this action, thereby dismantling the criminal enterprise and protecting the rights of copyright holders.

The investigation into this website, SkyManga and the subsequent arrest of a Moroccan national followed a request from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. INTERPOL was then able to coordinate the efforts between Korea and Morocco.

The SkyManga website illegally distributed webtoon materials in Korean, Spanish and Japanese. At the same time, it profited from advertisement and donations.

“It is our pleasure to support the I-SOP project and to work in partnership with INTERPOL and all member countries against online piracy. We especially thank NCB Rabat and Moroccan law enforcement agencies for their contribution on the case,” said Yong-han YUN, Director of the Copyright Protection Division of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korea Republic.

 “NCB Rabat always endeavours to collaborate with other NCBs and seek the information needed from other NCBs to investigate a crime committed in Morocco and assist another country. NCB Rabat was pleased to provide support on this International case and bring it to a satisfactory conclusion,” said Mohammed DKHISSI, Head of NCB Rabat, Morocco.

The successful collaboration comes under the INTERPOL Stop Online Piracy Project (I-SOP). This five-year project is the product of close cooperation between INTERPOL and the Republic of Korea’s National Police and Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.  By working in collaboration with member countries and private and public bodies, I-SOP aims to combat crimes involving intellectual property infringement such as trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.

Digital piracy is a global threat, affecting creative industries such as film, TV, music and publishing, as well as the economy at large. Illegal downloads and distribution of such content cause substantial financial losses for the industries concerned which in turn affects tax revenue and jobs. Other related concerns centre on the fact that these crimes are often linked to other criminal activities, such as terrorist financing, money laundering and human trafficking.

Faced with this ongoing threat, INTERPOL continues to cooperate closely with the Republic of Korea and other member countries to facilitate the investigation and disruption of other linked and illegal websites, which are based in countries across the world.