The Legality Behind Anime Streaming Sites: Never Sued or Taken Offline

With the proliferation of modern technologies, such as virtual private networks and cloud hosting services, the accessibility of anime on an international scale, has become widespread through anime streaming websites. Now while the majority of anime streaming websites promote the use of piracy, when it comes to taking them offline or suing the owners due to illegal action, the amount of the work that needs to go into the process is insurmountable and difficult. The result? Takedown notices and DMCA complaints are often ignored.  Let’s explore the reasons why these anime streaming sites are never really sued and why they generally, always stay online.

6 Reasons Why Anime Streaming Sites Stay Online

  1. Anime streaming websites choose to not host their own content. Instead, what they do is act like a search engine for anime links. These links redirect to streamed content which is embedded into a secondary website.  What they are effectively saying is, that there is illegal content on the web and that they will show you how to find it, but we are not responsible for what you choose to do with it. Since they are not uploading the material themselves, they are off the hook.
  2. Anime streaming websites will use several different places to host. Making it very difficult to shut the site down. Due to this, not all of the domains, where the website is hosted, will be shown to the public, making it very difficult to find all the domains.
  3. Beyond this, the actual hosted place of the site is unknown. Even if the IP address of the host is found out, it is likely that they are using a virtual private network (VPN). If the hosted place is known, it is likely in a country that has a lack of piracy laws; for instance, China.
  4. A lot of anime streaming sites will have user-uploaded videos and while reproducing the videos is illegal, the site itself cannot be blamed for hosting content in so long as they have made their users sign an agreement that states that they will not upload illegal content (hint: they do anyway).
  5. It is very easy to simply backup the video data and open up a new website, making the amount of work to shut down a website not cost-effective. Keep in mind that there is a great deal of work needed to obtain an international court order or warrant and gather evidence that would be substantial enough to get the site taken down.
  6. Copyright holders cannot take down websites on their own as they must request that their content is removed from the hosting platform or to comply with copyright laws. The copyright holder must go through a lengthy process to get an authorized take-down order, which requires an investigation.

Why Are The Owners or Sites Not Sued?


Well, either the site owner is in a country where piracy laws are lack or where streaming content is legal or they are using a virtual private network to avoid detection. If the authorities cannot arrest or find the individual responsible for the hosted site, they cannot sue them. Here is an example of what FUNimation had to go through to pursue KissAnime.

  • KissAnime uses Google’s servers to host all of their videos, which are served through CDN links. In order for FUNimation to take down the videos, they had to first trace them to the host.
  • FUNimation traced the links to a CDN IP-address and asked that the IP address and links coming from it were disabled. While this is all good and well for FUNimation, the links were then just rotated. This allowed the uploader to continue business as usual, streaming pirated content to the United States.
  • FUNimation now has to pursue the individual behind the IP and send through a DMCA subpoena. This must go through a federal court first. However, if the user is using a VPN, they won’t be found.

As you can see, when it comes to anime streaming websites, they are very rarely taken offline because the hosts take numerous precautions to protect themselves from legal trouble. Either by masking their location, by redirecting links, or by simply providing the accessibility to the content rather than streaming the content itself.