Social network serves 5 million fans

TOKYO — San Francisco-based Crunchyroll, which operates a Japanese toon content site and social network serving 5 million fans worldwide, has become the first non-locally-owned company to join the Assn. of Japanese Animations, an industry org that organizes the Tokyo Anime Fair.

Crunchyroll joins as an associate member, a category that includes 52 companies including Sony, Sony Music Communications, Bandai Channel and Geneon Entertainment. Among the org’s full members are the toon houses Studio Ghibli, Toei Animation, Gainax, Gonzo and Madhouse.

Crunchyroll offers a wide selection of Asian entertainment on its video sharing site, with a concentration on Japanese toons.

Launched in 2006 in San Francisco, the company developed a reputation as a destination for pirated toons uploaded by fans.

It has since worked to improve once frosty relations with Japanese toon houses and distribs, as well as more aggressively policing the site for content that infringes copyright.

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