Any superhero fan or otaku knows how expensive it is to keep up with their latest comics and manga. It’s no surprise that passion for this pricey hobby gave rise to many different platforms that allow users to read their latest series at no cost.
Although these hosting sites seem to offer the perfect solution, they may come at a price. Many of these sites don’t just take money away from our favorite creators, but they pose a security risk. Learning a bit about illegal hosting sites helps you make informed decisions about where you read.
Why Do People Use Illegal Hosting Sites?
Manga and comic readers tend to be rather passionate about their fandoms. It comes as a surprise to many that these proud fans would visit any site that wasn’t explicitly licensed.
For one thing, illegal hosting sites often don’t offer the top quality you get from the top comic apps. Using the sites also tampers with research around the popularity of a series and takes money away from the writers and illustrators who work hard to deliver content.
Some fans turn to these sites to save some money due to the expensive costs of keeping up with a series. Some fans simply don’t want to wait for the latest releases to make it to their home country (especially for manga readers following fan-translated chapters). In many cases, users visit these hosting sites without knowing about the legal problems surrounding them.
Is It Against the Law to Use these Sites?
When these sites don’t have permission to share the content they post, they break the law. Creators of the platforms may face some hefty legal consequences if caught. Unfortunately, catching these perpetrators is complex, and legal technicalities often land offenders with a slap on the wrist and a deactivated site.
Whether or not it is illegal to use these sites is also a bit of a grey area. Although laws differ between regions, the general rule of thumb is that sharing copyrighted content is a big issue.
Typically, just using the sites doesn’t break any laws. However, downloading torrents cause users to upload content when they download simultaneously. Torrenting things is illegal (and punishable) in many countries.
Even if you likely won’t face the consequences for using their services, that doesn’t mean that they are entirely safe to use. There are several things you should consider before hopping onto an illegal manga hosting site.
What Are the Risks of these Sites?
Aside from the ethical and legal risks, these sites pose security threats. Consider the following threats before you revisit an illegal hosting site.
Poor Security Measures
Illegal websites aren’t known for having the most secure servers, leading to a lot of problems. Insecure servers mean that your computer may be at risk just by being on the site. Be incredibly careful when the sites prompt you to give any information, even if it is just your name and email address.
Malware is a huge concern of any illegal hosting site. Illicit sites are often full of all kinds of advertisements. While most internet users nowadays know that they should never click on these ads, ad placement and consistent pop-ups sometimes make clicking an ad or two unavoidable.
Clicking these ads may prompt viruses to download onto your computer. These compromise the health of your device and your privacy.
Viruses aren’t the only unintentional downloads you need to worry about. Unintentional torrent downloads may cause your “legal” visit to turn criminal
Signs of Illegal Manga Sites
Some red flags let you know you are on a sketchy site. If you notice any of these things on your manga or comic hosting site, you should consider exploring other options.
Everything Is Free
There is a saying that “nothing in life is free.” While there are some series or chapters that publishers make available for free, consider it scammy if the site offers a library of the latest hits for not price at all.
Options to Torrent
While torrenting isn’t always illegal, it’s a good indication of sketchy activity if you find it on a media-sharing site. An official manga or comic platform would not invite you to torrent.
Modern comics and manga upload high-quality digital copies of all their content. If you find the latest comic uploaded in gritty scans, it probably wasn’t legally shared.
Lots of Ads
It costs money to host a website (and many hosts look to make some money). If they aren’t getting money through your subscription, they often have to turn to advertisements.
Because they aren’t legitimate, sites don’t need to care so much about creating a user-friendly environment as other trusted sites would. Illegal hosting sites are notorious for having inappropriate advertisements or hoards of pop-ups.
Legal sites need to have specific permissions from content creators and publishers. If you don’t see any official affiliation mentioned, they likely don’t have any license.
Alternatives to Illegal Hosting Sites
Not all manga and comic hosting sites are illegal. Consider exploring the options suggested directly through the publishers. These may come with a subscription fee, but the quality is generally better, and the costs are relatively low.
Some hit manga series, such as “Fruits Baskets” or “Ouran Highschool Host Club,” are available legally for free online. There are also tons of free comics available on other official platforms offered directly through Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. Subscribing to certain services also allows you to collect series at a significant discount if you really want a particular series not offered for free.
If you prefer physical copies, you can also check out your local library or simply wait for collections to publish. There are even excellent collectible editions that are worth waiting for and often contain exclusive content. When purchasing physical copies, it’s always nice to support your local book store or comic shop. Maybe you can even make a friend or two to share your collections with.
Should I Use Illegal Manga/Comic Sites?
Waiting for your latest manga issues or comics to legally release can be a hassle. Although visiting illegal sites is tempting, it’s essential to consider the concerns of using and supporting such platforms. It’s a wise idea to explore possible alternatives to give your creators the recognition they deserve and keep your internet activity secure.