Copyright Infringement Continues To Pay: $4 million For Crunchyroll

San Francisco based Crunchyroll, a sort of YouTube for anime and other mostly Asian video content, raised a $4 million round of financing led by Venrock Associates, with partner David Siminoff joining the board of directors. The company, which launched in the summer of 2006, was founded by three HotOrNot employees. Our sources tell us that HotOrNot founders Jim Hong and James Young also participated in the round.

We first covered the company in August 2007, and noted that they rely almost exclusively on copyright infringing content. Users, of course, flocked to the site. In July 2007 it had 1.3 million unique visitors (Comscore). In January 2008 that jumped to 2.6 million uniques, and 245 million page views.

Last year the site charged users a premium fee of $6 and included advertisements around content. We pointed out that this weakened their reliance on the Digital Millennium Copyright safe harbor provision, which protects service providers from liability for content uploaded by users. Today the site announced that there are no longer any ads, although the premium account option remains. It looks like they hired some lawyers.