New manga supergroup to take on pirates

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201006081730 New manga supergroup to take on pirates

There’s a new superteam in town, Calvin Reid reports at Publishers Weekly — brought together to face a mighty foe that threatens our very existence.  

Or to put it another way, manga publishers have realized that they cannot defeat the scanlation monster alone, and they might have a better chance together. The thirty-six members of the Japanese Digital Comic Association, and US manga publishers Vertical Inc, Viz Media, Tokyopop, and Yen Press, are pooling their efforts to stop piracy, with copyright infringement suits planned against the most aggressive scanlation and download sites.

A spokesperson said that “we are left with no other alternative but to take aggressive action. It is our sincere hope that offending sites will take it upon themselves to immediately cease their activities. Where this is not the case, however, we will seek injunctive relief and statutory damages.” The group is also aggressively reporting violations to the “federal authorities, including the anti-piracy units of the Justice Department, local law enforcement agencies and FBI.” While the group has yet to file any lawsuits and has declined to name specific scanlators, sites such as MangaFox and OneManga have long been identified as major scanlation aggregators.

According to Yen’s Kurt Hassler, quoted in the article, there is “an inverse relationship between the rise of traffic on these scanlation sites and the decline in U.S. manga sales.”

Complete PR below:

Today a coalition of Japanese and U.S. publishers announced a coordinated effort to combat a rampant and growing problem of internet piracy plaguing the manga industry. “Scanlation,” as this form of piracy has come to be known, refers to the unauthorized digital scanning and translation of manga material that is subsequently posted to the internet without the consent of copyright holders or their licensees. According to the coalition, the problem has reached a point where “scanlation aggregator” sites now host thousands of pirated titles, earning ad revenue and/or membership dues at creators’ expense while simultaneously undermining foreign licensing opportunities and unlawfully cannibalizing legitimate sales. Worse still, this pirated material is already making its way to smartphones and other wireless devices, like the iPhone and iPad, through apps that exist solely to link to and republish the content of scanlation sites.

Participants in the coalition include the 36 members of Japan’s Digital Comic Association, Square Enix, VIZ Media, TOKYOPOP, Vertical, Inc., the Tuttle-Mori Agency and Yen Press. Working together, the membership of the coalition will actively seek legal remedies to this intellectual property theft against those sites that fail to voluntarily cease their illegal appropriation of this material.

“It is unfortunate that this action has become necessary,” said a spokesperson for the group. “However, to protect the intellectual property rights of our creators and the overall health of our industry, we are left with no other alternative but to take aggressive action. It is our sincere hope that offending sites will take it upon themselves to immediately cease their activities. Where this is not the case, however, we will seek injunctive relief and statutory damages. We will also report offending sites to federal authorities, including the anti-piracy units of the Justice Department, local law enforcement agencies and FBI.”

The coalition stated that it has currently identified thirty sites targeted for action.

Participant members of the Digital Comic Association include: Akane Shinsha, Akita Shoten, ASCII Media Works, East Press, Ichijinsha, Enterbrain, Okura Shuppan, Ohzora Shuppan, Gakken, Kadokawa Shoten, Gentosha Comics, Kodansha, Jitsugyo No Nihonsha, Shueisha, Junet, Shogakukan, Shogakukan Shueisha Production, Shodensha, Shonen Gahosha, Shinshokan, Shinchosa, Take Shobo, Tatsumi Shuppan, Tokuma Shoten, Nihon Bungeisha, Hakusensha, Fujimi Shobo, Fusosha, Futabasha, France Shoin, Bunkasha, Houbunsha, Magazine House, Media Factory, Leed sha, Libre Shuppan.

Comments

  1. Like American comics, I think the trouble lies with the private torrent trackers, fileshare programs like DC++, and other, less easy to access sites. These public sites aren’t the real problem.

  2. so far there is no evidence to show that people are stopping their purchasing of print comics for digital, and in fact most of what we have learned has shown that we’re capturing new and lapsed readers and sending them back into comic shops, a fact that has been confirmed by several direct market retailers.

  3. Ryan, these sites made it easier for younger and less tech savy fans who don’t want to download titles to access them online, so killing them off will get rid of a fair number of the issues facing the industry. I imagine they will also take on some of the bigger scanlators who are openly still translating licensed titles.

  4. Fine, but are they planning to offer any legitimate digital outlets for their content? If they don’t, they’re just going to end up with a never ending game of whack-a-mole. The audience wants the format. Sell it to them and make some money.

  5. self-professed “pirate” here.

    Publishers need to realize the benefit of “pirated” comic scans. I’m sure there are others like me who would have no absolutely no intention of buying a book – then upon reading a scan would change their mind and say “I would like to own that.”

    Me no likey the Manga. But after reading a scan of the first volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha – I decided I had to start buying the printed volumes. Yesterday, I found a scan of a graphic novel I’ve never heard of (“3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man” by Matt Kindt) and on the sixth page decided I needed to purchase it. Same goes books for Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar.

    If a person digs a story – the person will most likely buy the story. Trying to close down the free publicity of scans (which let’s face it, that horse has left the barn years ago) seems like publishers shooting themselves in the foot.

    “Piracy” – which I always equated with making a profit off a stolen work, like copying and selling – needs to be redefined quickly.

  6. Zach Adams says:

    Ahab: I’m not going to argue with you over your own personal buying habits. However, in the specific case of manga, it’s very different. These are easily accessible websites (with banner ads on reputable sites and everything) that archive fan translations of stuff. There’s no way that the junior high target market for a lot of the best-selling manga is MORE likely to buy something that’s been on the web, for free, for two years and continues to be even after it’s released. The entire “translate and distribute it before the rightsholders can get it out in the US” mentality has become incredibly toxic to the anime/manga market in the US, no matter whether you yourself might be more likely to buy an arthouse book because you torrented it.

  7. jacob lyon goddard says:

    if this is only against the pirated work of translated and available work here in the US, i say more power to you. if not, i say fuck you and fuck off. i love the 9th generation xeroxes with translations with ballpoint in the margins that i had as a kid and i love the scanlations that grew out of that movement.

    they were here first, and screw you if you can’t do a better job.

  8. michael says:

    you pay for stuff that you can afford, not because you’re entitled to it at all. maybe some people will be able to make more of a living now, rather than having others steal what they work for.

  9. I seem to recall, back in the dark early days of the introduction of anime and manga, fan-subbers and scanlators had a very strong ethic against continuing to distribute material that had be licensed and translated. Things changed, it seems.

    I figure blatantly putting a fan translated version of Vagabond on your website a month before Viz releases theirs gets you what you deserve.

  10. Nick H. says:

    “These public sites aren’t the real problem.”

    Except, they are.

    Manga publishers aren’t daft. They’ve been around for years, as have the ‘less easy to access’ places you speak of – specifically, IRC.

    Because in those days they were less easy to access, and because the groups running them would take down licensed material, you could say that publishers had an uneasy detente with them.

    However. Public sites are increasingly common now. These aggregate the content from the private sites and make it more easily accessible. They don’t take down licensed material – and it appears in some cases they actually scan the licensed material and put that up.

    This is, clearly, a HUGE problem compared to the old way of things. When a kid can Google “One Piece” and read it all through their browser, where’s their incentive to go and buy it? That’s the sort of thing the publishers are fighting in this case.

    I agree absolutely with their attempts to shut down these public sites. Part of this is because I work at a library, and our manga circulation numbers are lower than we’d like, and I believe it’s because people are using these public sites instead. Take away the sheer ease of getting the scans and that may drive people back to acquiring manga legally.

    Is there an argument for publishers themselves putting material on the internet, rather than trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted? Absolutely – and Viz are doing just that with their SigIkki site. I hope we see more of initiatives like that from other publishers too.

  11. this is good news.

    Last week another major site was served papers for the same thing in florida.

    Also read that fines are attached and they are tracking the people downloading. some may think going after these guys is useless on some levels…but trust me, once a person has to pay a fine, they think twice about doing it.

  12. Mr. Palmiotti, If I ever get fined for checking out how a stupid comic like Marvel’s Siege ends…

    That’s so clever, mess with anyone that’s slighty interested in this silly biz.

  13. Nate Horn says:

    @jimmy palmioti

    “Also read that fines are attached and they are tracking the people downloading. ”

    Except that the Supreme Court has already ruled that’s illegal. (Well, they ruled you have a right to privacy to what you consume and Harvard’s law school is doing a bang-up job tying that to tracking what people download.)

    Anyway, I’m cynical this will mean anything. These companies have a history of not exactly working together well.

  14. Kevin Hynes says:

    Good, I hope it works. Also in response to the idea that piracy sites help sales, by letting people reading a few scans and wanting to pick up the book, sorry, but couldn’t you just look through the selection of a store? Say, physically picking up a book and leafing through? You know, they let you do that.

  15. BoozerX says:

    Scanlations are made by fans for fans there is no form to stop this because you want to read the last chapter as soon as possible after all is a weekly story.
    But those sites that profit with the scanlations are the main enemy of the publishers so good luck with that.

  16. Kevin Hynes says:

    @BoozerX I have no idea what you just said. Of course, I’m old…not really up on the lingo. :)

  17. Does this mean kids will be going back to sitting on the floor at Borders reading manga for hours for free?

  18. Synsidar says:

    I wonder how many similarities there are between comics and music, in terms of online availability and fair use?

    Young computer users like Tenenbaum, called “digital natives” by Nesson, grew up in a world where the explosion of music sharing was a widespread cultural phenomenon. “In a way, if you didn’t participate in Napster, you really didn’t know what was happening on the Net,” said Nesson. “The idea that a whole generation was guilty seemed wrong to me.” Indeed, Hilary Rosen, the chairperson of the RIAA, recognized Napster as, “the most efficient method of distributing music ever invented.”

    Despite the doubts of colleagues, Nesson believed that the exception to statutory copyright infringement for “fair use” might be applied to Tenenbaum’s case. The doctrine was originally developed to provide freedom for creative production of derivative works, and though Tenenbaum’s use of the music did not have a creative component, Nesson believed that the Supreme Court’s protection of VCR home recording might provide a basis for viewing copyright law as protecting the public interest of consumers, a category which fit Tenenbaum. But precedent was strongly against this theory. Courts had already rejected Napster’s fair use arguments based on preview of music for later purchase as well as MP3.com’s “space-shifting” argument that the internet could act as a jukebox for owners of licensed CD’s.

    In fact, Judge Gertner accepted Nesson’s theory of fair use, but only for the “interregnum” period from Napster’s creation in 1999 until the recording industry began to offer a legal alternative for purchase of its music online. But by 2004, when Tenenbaum downloaded the music in his case, the music industry already provided online access to music. Nesson argued, however, that until 2007, when fully transferrable, unencrypted music was available online, there was no full technological substitute that would rule out a fair use argument.

    “The fair use argument then, to a Court, becomes, a policy argument, in effect, of saying that the law shouldn’t put its weight behind an inferior product. When you have an alternative that is ubiquitous, that the industry has been responsible for making so [because CD's were not encrypted], if the law enforces copyright based on the encrypted product, which is inferior to the available product [which is unencrypted], then it’s acting in a way which is counter to innovation.”

    It’s interesting that the judge accepted the “fair use” argument over any time period. Judge Gertner seemed to be accepting the argument that when products are easily exchangeable online, publishers are obligated to make them conveniently available online for purchase.

    SRS

  19. “…so killing them off will get rid of a fair number of the issues facing the industry.”

    Ummm, I think the industry has a number of problems, ranging from structural to creative, and going after scanlations is probably going to do very little to reverse any trends.

    Plus, this strategy of shutting down sites and suing end users has worked _amazingly_ well for the movie and music industries. Why, almost no one — and certainly no young people — ever trade music or movies online.

  20. Ahab: You may be interested to note that Dark Horse has those exact same 6 pages available to read for free on their website:

    http://www.darkhorse.com/Books/Previews/15-593?page=1

    Go to NBM’s website and you can find far longer previews of Trondheim’s “Little Nothings” than that.

    If you’re interested in sampling a series, it is not to find sample pages online. But that’s not what’s happening here. I think that the manga publishers are absolutely right in going after these aggregator sites, which make profit (through ads) off of scanlations or (even worse) direct scans from commercially released books. I’m amazed that scanlators themselves don’t hate these sites, honestly, since the aggregators are making money off of work the scanlators did for free.

    What the manga world really needs is a manga equivalent of Crunchyroll. The likelihood of that ever happening is pretty slim, though.

  21. Jesse Post says:

    Joe — if the comic is so stupid then why are you reading it? It’s apparently worth something to you, but you’ve chosen to steal it instead of compensate the creators of the work that has sparked your curiosity.

    If you’re just passingly curious about how it ends but don’t want to invest, you can always look it up on Wikipedia, read any one of a thousand blogs, or (dare I show my age) socialize with other fans at your local comic book store and ask them.

  22. Kevin Hynes says:

    Guess it’s not strange I get a “war on drugs” vibe whenever publishers go after piracy.

  23. Kevin Hynes says:

    Also I think the creators/publishers of anything, whether it be, ahem the “roxorz”(?) or the “suxorz”(?) should see compensation and not have their work stolen. And that the fans who are stealing are not helping their beloved industry in any way.

  24. BoozerX says:

    @ Kevin Hynes
    Take Naruto, every week Shonen Jump has a chapter and a lot of other series.
    Scanlators every week take the scan of the magazine clean the image and translate from the japanese for the fans awaiting to read it (that is a lot of work btw).
    Hope is clear enough now.

  25. Synsidar says:

    Some more on Nesson’s views about legally downloading copyrighted material:

    Downloading music without the permission of the copyright holder should qualify for copyright laws’ exemptions for ‘fair use’, a Harvard academic has said. Partial responsibility lies with the music industry itself for failing to adapt, he said. [. . .]

    Nesson said that other factors would also be relevant to Tenenbaum’s case of fair use, including the fact that the music industry has not adapted to the internet.

    “Defendant Tenenbaum expects and plans as well to offer the jury evidence relating other factors that bear on the jury’s assessment of whether the defendant’s actions in their context were unfair. Such will include the copyright holder’s knowledge of and assumption of risk when it published the copyrighted work that the work would be ripped and shared on p2p networks; the copyright holder’s delay in providing alternatives to p2p downloading, thus creating an environment in which even the RIAA concluded that suits against p2p downloaders would be unfair until such alternatives existed; the defendant’s history of buying music and of copying music from one format to another; the availability and the defendant’s knowledge and understanding of the availability at the time of his alleged actions of alternatives to p2p downloading; the defendant’s actual use of the copyrighted works; and the messages of the allegedly downloaded songs and artists.”

    If the reader assumes that Nesson was taking a coherent philosophical stance re downloading and not just trying to come up with any argument that he could, for the sake of his client, there’s apparently some support for the idea that ubiquitous availability of material for downloading creates a situation in which downloading the material shouldn’t be considered wrong. The downloader has just adapted to a social norm. Publishers who enter the market know what they’re getting into, in effect.

    SRS

  26. @Nick H.

    Of course the big sites are a problem, but you’re just taking off the top layer going after them. If the scanlation groups themselves were targeted, if IRC and DC++ channels were raided, you’d see a significant decrease in available scanlated series. Going after the idiots publically hosting websites is the easy way, but doesn’t stop the problem.

  27. BoozerX- but not as much work as licensing, editing, translating, formatting it for print quality, actually dealing with the japanese editors and creators, distributing and selling it all legally, then paying everyone their fair share afterwards.

  28. Army of Dorkness says:

    “the fans who are stealing”

    They didn’t steal anything.

  29. It’s called “Intellectual Property Theft” for a reason, Army of Dorkness. They stole plenty.

  30. Dave Elliott says:

    When SHARK-MAN showed up scanned and ready for download, Steve Pugh went after the guys posting it and after some posting on message-boards managed to get into a conversation with them.

    There were two reasons they justified what they did.

    1/ They liked the book, recommended it to their friends but everywhere was sold out so they scanned it in to share and from then it just got passed around. Their justification here is that the publisher didn’t have it in print so no harm no foul.

    2/ They saw Image Comics as a corporation like Disney or Warmer Brothers. They also thought the creators saw a pay check for doing it, so they weren’t going to get hurt either.

    They apologized once they realized that that we never saw a paycheck before doing it and it was all royalty based.

    In the end we agreed to actually give them better scans and they put a paypal account on the file so people at least had the option of donating if they liked it and last I heard a few hundred dollars came in.

    Personally I feel a lot of publishers turned a blind eye to the scanning as it wasn’t their core business and it was creating an awareness of their characters, but now the iPad and iPhone have arrived and a real revenue stream seems viable for digital publishing, they don’t want the scanners to interfere.

    Just shutting down as many pirates as possible won’t stop the problem. Better content and lower prices will help a lot.

  31. Jesse Post says:

    Army — just because a physical object didn’t change hands doesn’t mean something wasn’t stolen. A publisher-sanctioned transaction didn’t occur so the publisher was robbed of that, and so were the creators who may receive royalties from all publisher-controlled transactions.

    Posting a comic online without the publisher’s permission is exactly the same thing as making photocopies and handing them out to customers outside a comic book store as they walk in, and this is a point of fact, not opinion. I’m always amazed at how we STILL have this argument among ourselves every time this comes up.

    Steal if you want (I won’t judge), but please please please stop trying to say it should somehow be accepted as correct or justified behavior.

  32. Nate Horn says:

    @Andre

    “It’s called “Intellectual Property Theft” for a reason, Army of Dorkness. They stole plenty.”

    But it’s not called that, though. Intellectual property theft is an entirely different thing.

  33. Chris says:

    While pirated material may result in lost sales, I’m aware of no legitimate study that shows 1 digital copy of pirated material automatically equals 1 lost sale.

  34. Jesse Post says:

    Chris — I don’t think anyone reasonable makes the assertion that it’s a one-to-one relationship. Obviously more people are willing to try something for free than for $4.

    The relevant point is that it infringes on the rights of publishers to determine how they distribute their material and how to capitalize on it, and yes, it’s fair to assume that there’s a group of people who would pay for a legitimate copy if an illegal copy wasn’t so readily available. How large is that group? Doesn’t matter.

  35. One point that occasionally gets raised in these discussions and is usually instantly dismissed, but which I think is important, is the high percentage of scanlation users who are outside the US, and in fact outside North America and Europe. According to Alexa, only 26% of visitors to OneManga are coming from a US address, with the next most common countries being Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Signapore. Likewise, Mangafox gets 23% US visitors, Narutofan 33%, Anymanga 27%, etc. US users are the largest slice for all the sites, but they are only a minority of all users. The accessibility of legal, print copies here is actually more or less irrelevant to most of the visitors, and nothing makes me think that US publishers (or Japanese publishers) are thinking about increasing distribution and access for the countries where the people that are consuming their product illegally actually reside.

  36. Forum Guy says:

    @JRB: That’s a fact. This new coalition has a HUGE task ahead of itself.

    The hosting sites are easy, like OneManga, MangaFox, etc.
    The scanlators, they are numerous. I’d expect a more focused effort in Japan, that’s where the raws are released. If you can’t get a cap on that, your hunt is useless.
    Ehh, accessibility, that’s a huge motivator, but you can’t expand if you don’t have profit, and this piracy scheme precisely draws on both things: high demand + low supply=pirating. Pirating=bad business=low supply.

  37. Army of Dorkness says:

    “It’s called “Intellectual Property Theft” for a reason, Army of Dorkness. They stole plenty.”

    No, they didn’t. See Nate Horn’s comment about it.

    “Army — just because a physical object didn’t change hands doesn’t mean something wasn’t stolen.”

    Yep, that’s what stealing means.

    “Posting a comic online without the publisher’s permission is exactly the same thing as making photocopies and handing them out to customers outside a comic book store as they walk in, and this is a point of fact, not opinion.”

    Wrong. It’s an opinion. It may be an opinion shared by you and those enforcing copyright law, but it’s still an opinion.

    “I’m always amazed at how we STILL have this argument among ourselves every time this comes up. ”

    I’m not. There’s still a lot of disagreement about the issue and for very good reason as Synsider’s posts have shown. I wouldn’t have posted in here if not for feeling the need to correct people who say someone is “stealing” something which they’re not.

    “Steal if you want (I won’t judge), but please please please stop trying to say it should somehow be accepted as correct or justified behavior.”

    Yes, you ARE judging by calling it stealing. That’s a judgement. Viewing copyrighted material without paying for it IS a justified behavior.

    I will agree that the issue is with one particular viewing method, and if it continues unabated, it would be a serious cause of concern. However, there is no theft, and often there is no intentional violation of copyright law by those viewing or downloading the content.

    Shut down the sites, confiscate servers, and reclaim copyrighted materials? Go for it. They’re in violation, so protect your copyright.

    Jail time and hefty fines? You’ve lost me. I don’t agree with that.

    Going after the downloaders/viewers, aka your audience? Screw you. Don’t bite the hand that feeds. And before you get into the whole “nobody makes money on downloads so they’re not the audience and they don’t feed anyone” remember that you don’t know everything. I can read a comic book I bought in a store with one hand and click a mouse to download a different comic with the other. You attack the downloader/audience, you don’t gain a sale from the download you prevented but lose a sale by making them angry enough to stop buying the ones they do spend their money on. Yes, that’s a hypothetical situation, but so is 1 download = 1 sale and the ridiculous value attached to downloaded items in court cases.

    The reason this debate continues is because it’s always about “us” telling “you” what “we” think and nobody is bothering to ask any questions to reach an understanding because booth sides are content with the argument as is–“holier than thou” vs. “dirty thieves.” When the argument is over, everyone goes back to doing what they were doing before until there’s another opportunity to argue again…repeat ad infinitum.

    ah well, it passes the time, anyway.

  38. It’s a shame because we were once the force in getting these manga series popular worlwide. Without such groups like OM and MF and etc, many people probably wouldn’t have heard of the series we love today nor consider buying them. All of a sudden we are the scum of the earth? Come one now.

  39. Well, if you want to waffle over semantics, you’re welcome to. Digital piracy is just a small part of Intellectual Property Theft, which is a pretty broad term, and the gov. copyright site does include acts the the “No Electonic Theft Act” and the “Artists rights and Theft Prevention Act” http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html so in government law, “theft” is a term used for these acts.

    Anyhoo, it’s all still criminal in the end, with “Criminal Copyright Infringement” being the actual crime you get charged with. Agree with it or not, heftyh fines are what they’ll likely get, and possibly jail time.

    You can call a poisonous snake a vulture, but it’s still a pretty awful creature however it’s termed. It’s like someone getting angry because you called them a snot when they’re actually a jerk. It’s sort of interchangeable in the end.

  40. Whatever any of us argues is all moot at the end of the day- it’s all up to the courts, and since the FBI and the courts are taking down HTMLcomics, I doubt the scanlation crowd are going to get away.

  41. @Andre- You seriously have any idea how many scanlation sites there are? They can take down the major online reader sites, but what’s going to stop people from reaching out to the scanlator sites themselves to get their source of manga and who is to say you won’t have new sites popping up worldwide to take the place of the former major sites?

  42. BoozerX says:

    To be clear I dont condone the scanlators they are obviously in the wrong side.
    At the same time I say is impossible to stop them , because most dont seek a monetary profit from their work.
    They do it because they are fans and there are fans demanding the work.
    Hydra is a good description.
    I am a fan btw.

  43. Army Of Dorkness says:

    Since it’s not stealing unless it’s physical theft, I’m using the name Army of Dorkness from now on.

  44. Forum Guy says:

    Apple will save the day: they will make the iManga store, take over the manga world, and both fans and publishers will be screwed.
    The end.

  45. Chris says:

    Jesse:

    I was responding to your comment “Posting a comic online without the publisher’s permission is exactly the same thing as making photocopies and handing them out to customers outside a comic book store as they walk in,” which implies that every comic given away is a lost sale. There’s simply no proof of that, one way or the other.

    And it matters, because if we really are trying to address the drag on manga sales, then it helps to take an empirical look at what’s really causing that drag on sales. Digital piracy may be a part of it, but as was discussed in another thread, it could just as easily be caused by an aging audience, flooding the market with sub-standard material, distribution and shelving issues, inevitable conglomeration in the market, etc.

    Publishers will likely spend a lot of time and money going after these sites with little to no effect — as with music and movies, the people sharing will just go elsewhere. People can argue the ethics all day long — and will — but I doubt this effort will affect sales in any statistically significant way, no matter how many sites are shut down.

  46. “They can take down the major online reader sites, but what’s going to stop people from reaching out to the scanlator sites themselves to get their source of manga”

    Two things. One, ‘good’ groups won’t scanlate licensed titles, so they won’t be able to be a source for Naruto/One Piece/popular stuff that the kids want. Two, scanlator groups that refuse to play ball will no doubt find themselves being gone after same as the aggregate websites.

    “and who is to say you won’t have new sites popping up worldwide to take the place of the former major sites?”

    They may well pop up, but the publishers will just go after them too.

    One thing I’d like to say that’s unrelated to anything I’ve quoted, but I don’t want to make two separate comments.

    I think what people commenting need to remember is to keep a distinction between the aggregate sites, and the scanlators. Because the impression I get is that this ‘manga supergroup’ will be going after the former rather than the latter. I VERY MUCH DOUBT they’ll be looking to demonise scanlation groups right from the start, as every publisher is aware that historically scanlation groups were seen to have a positive effect on their market, and also people who started in scanlation groups late rmoved on to working for publishers.

    I suspect, though I can’t say for sure, that what we might see with regards to scanlation groups is at first increased communication, reminding them of the historical commitment of scanlation groups for not scanlating licensed material, and possibly encouraging such groups to avoid material that hasn’t been licensed yet but may well be in the future. If scanlation groups play ball, then I think (nearly) everyone will be happy. But if they don’t, then things might get harder.

    I very much doubt individual downloaders of manga will be sued. The RIAA already demonstrated this is a hugely counter-productive thing to do, so I doubt the manga publishers would wish to alienate people like that.

    I think this initiative is a good thing, and I hope it goes well for them. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop over time.

  47. Boy, when they finally get rid of all them internet bad guys, I can’t wait to see comics start selling in the tens of millions again.

    Obviously it will!

  48. garyisubercool says:

    I am one of those people who enjoy scanlated manga online. I turn to scanlation for my manga fix, because otherwise I would be able to read manga at all. I have no local comic store, and the closest big book store that would carry manga is half a hour away by car(which is something that I don’t own). I know that doing this action is wrong, but I’m like many of those who turn to scanlations. I have no other choice. What is someone who lives in a country that doesn’t carry manga at all suposed to do? Scanlation will countinue just as music and movie theift has, but I think that if this group of publishers really want to put a dent in scanlations they should put up their own site to host scanned manga. Marvel did this(I am a subscriber) and has had alot of success with it. That’s just my thought though.

  49. @William George- LOL righttttttt. If all those scanlation sites get shutdown, highly unlikely, do you know how many pissed off people there will be? The publishers are doing nothing but making enemies with the online viewers, what would make them suddenly flock to them?

  50. Army of Dorkness says:

    “Army Of Dorkness says:
    06/09/2010 at 5:58 pm
    Since it’s not stealing unless it’s physical theft, I’m using the name Army of Dorkness from now on.”

    Actually, what you’re doing is fraud which is completely different. You’re intentionally trying to take someone else’s name to besmirch them.

    “It’s sort of interchangeable in the end.”

    No it’s not. It’s not stealing because IT’S NOT STEALING. It’s not a semantics argument.

    I also don’t think digital copies should fall under copyright violation because I see it as fair use. In addition to that, I want to see people earn a living wage for their work. You can’t have both rampant free entertainment and entertainers earning a living wage so I’m all for a middle ground. The middle ground isn’t putting people in jail, fining them until they’re broke, and calling your audience names or letting your sycophantic fans do it.

    I’m on the middle ground, and I’m waiting for everyone else to get with the program. Not my fault people can’t handle the truth.

  51. Synsidar says:

    One possible way for Web sites offering comics for reading online to legitimize themselves is to adopt a Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) type approach. A site could license digital copies of comics from publishers for negotiable fees, and then sell memberships to readers. As with a corporation that makes use of the CCC to legitimize internal distribution of material, the site could renew its licenses annually and license copies of newer comics.

    Since there apparently is a demand for casual reading of comics online, licensing of older comics to Web sites could conceivably result in more revenue from them than selling digital copies of them would, and the operators of the Web sites would be motivated to discourage piracy.

    SRS

  52. Army Of Dorkness says:

    Actually, what you’re doing is fraud which is completely different. You’re intentionally trying to take someone else’s name to besmirch them.

    “It’s sort of interchangeable in the end.”

    No it’s not. It’s not stealing because IT’S NOT STEALING. It’s not a semantics argument.

    I also don’t think digital copies should fall under copyright violation because I see it as fair use. In addition to that, I want to see people earn a living wage for their work. You can’t have both rampant free entertainment and entertainers earning a living wage so I’m all for a middle ground. The middle ground isn’t putting people in jail, fining them until they’re broke, and calling your audience names or letting your sycophantic fans do it.

    I’m on the middle ground, and I’m waiting for everyone else to get with the program. Not my fault people can’t handle the truth.

  53. Jesse Post says:

    Chris — I wasn’t implying that there’s a 1-to-1 relationship, either. I was implying that any reasonable person could assume that someone handing out free photocopies outside a comic book store would have SOME impact on sales within the store, and that the same reasonable person would assume the same thing about unauthorized downloads. The point of drawing that analogy is to show that it’s not unreasonable for a producer to decide this unauthorized use of their products is a bad thing and then act on it.

    But I guess the more important point is that deciding these things is up to the producers, not the consumers. It’s not the consumers’ right to say, “Well, I’ve decided this can’t have any significant impact on your business so I’m going to do what I want even if it’s against your wishes.” Would we be having this same argument if we were talking about printed comics? Would it be OK for someone to just take a copy because he was never going to buy it anyway and by doing so the audience is expanded?

    And Army, that’s the irrefutable fact I was talking about. Being at all involved in unauthorized distribution is an infringement on the producers’ rights to determine how their products are distributed. There is a legal concept of “theft of services” which includes avoiding paying for services that are otherwise available in exchange for compensation, so unauthorized comics downloads are theft. Again, it’s up to you to decide if that law is moral and worth abiding. Garyisubercool has decided the infringement is wrong but he’s still OK with it.

    Also, Chris — your point about piracy not being the sole reason for declining sales is obviously not only valid but right, and I don’t think anyone is arguing that this should be the industry’s only response to the problem.

  54. Jennifer says:

    “According to Alexa, only 26% of visitors to OneManga are coming from a US address, with the next most common countries being Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Signapore. Likewise, Mangafox gets 23% US visitors, Narutofan 33%, Anymanga 27%, etc. US users are the largest slice for all the sites, but they are only a minority of all users. The accessibility of legal, print copies here is actually more or less irrelevant to most of the visitors, and nothing makes me think that US publishers (or Japanese publishers) are thinking about increasing distribution and access for the countries where the people that are consuming their product illegally actually reside.”

    Maybe they just don’t want those Indonesians, Malaysians, Filipinos, and Signaporeans who can’t read Japanese to know what happens in the books in the first place?

  55. Jennifer says:

    “Ryan, these sites made it easier for younger and less tech savy fans who don’t want to download titles to access them online, so killing them off will get rid of a fair number of the issues facing the industry.”

    Speaking of younger fans, where the hell are the *parents*? Maybe some industry outreach to *them* could help, reminding them that copying manga instead of buying it is illegal and hurts other workers (and *their* kids!) so parents should remind their kids to steer clear of this sketchy behavior (unless the industry prefers having these parents pay less attention to what their kids buy with their allowances and so doesn’t want to attract any more parental attention to these titles…).

  56. Andre says:

    Jennifer, another thing about the countries you listed is that they all have domestic industries too- so it’s not just our manga industry that scanlations hurt. In fact, Singapore’s Chang Yi publishes manga in Chinese AND English that they distribute across Asia and import to Australia, and have been doing so for years. Indonesia’s domestic industry has been hard hit by print and digital bootlegs lately- Ed Chavez’s MangaCast posted an editorial about that awhile back.

    These sites impact sales globally, so it’s a whole lot of reasons for Japan to take on these terrible people.

  57. http://adistantsoil.com/2009/03/20/felony-copyright-violation/

    Anyone who says it’s not a crime, or it’s not stealing, Colleen Doran’s post gives a pretty good summary of what exactly is wrong with pirating comics, and why it’s a felony

  58. Synsidar says:

    The law is the law when it comes to illegally scanning an entire publication and making the scanned pages available to others. People ought to be able to appreciate the illegality of that. However, when content is purely digital in nature, and the consumer doesn’t actually own a physical copy of anything, the concept of “fair use” becomes much fuzzier. Reading a copy of DEFENDERS #145 on a Web site and thereafter never looking at it again — convincing the reader that he’d done something illegal that he should be ashamed of would be nearly impossible. Going after the people who do the initial scanning of a publication is the only way to combat that form of piracy.

    SRS

  59. Army of Dorkness says:

    “And Army, that’s the irrefutable fact I was talking about. Being at all involved in unauthorized distribution is an infringement on the producers’ rights to determine how their products are distributed. There is a legal concept of “theft of services” which includes avoiding paying for services that are otherwise available in exchange for compensation, so unauthorized comics downloads are theft.”

    They are not theft. They are not theft of services. You’re misapplying the terms. I have no difficulty in supporting my point of view on this issue. I also have no difficulty paying for stuff if I want to. Middle ground.

    “Anyone who says it’s not a crime, or it’s not stealing, Colleen Doran’s post gives a pretty good summary of what exactly is wrong with pirating comics”

    Read it. It’s not stealing. She makes a good case for the plight of creators and why a person *should not* download, but she is wrong about a lot of things in her post as well.

    “The Law” is something I have no difficulty in arguing about either.

    “The law is the law when it comes to illegally scanning an entire publication and making the scanned pages available to others. People ought to be able to appreciate the illegality of that….Going after the people who do the initial scanning of a publication is the only way to combat that form of piracy.”

    Agree and disagree. I agree that the scanners are the source of the problem. I also disagree in that I think a person should be allowed to scan a comic book they buy and do whatever they want with it. Send it to friends, etc. To me, that’s fair use. Doing that, however, comes into conflict with a creator trying to earn a living (which is something I think most people are for.) There needs to be a balance or middle ground between fair use and creators’ rights and the law as written isn’t it nor is getting rid of that law the answer. It’s a difficult topic and the people that say “it’s stealing” or “downloading is no big deal” and refuse to acknowledge any other possibility are the ones that keep this argument going because they feed off of each other.

    It’s not stealing, and it is a big deal.

  60. Andrew says:

    personally i think this is useless even if they delete the manga websites and scanalators, more websites will just appear

  61. fuck you says:

    i dont give a shit what they do, i will continue to download my things until they make manga a sensible price. high quality full color american comic? 6.99. black and white manga? 12.99. fuck that.

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