Coalition of Manga Publishers

Hot on the heels of the DOJ shutting down several comic book scan sites, comes this news, also from ANN.

A coalition comic book and manga publishers is pushing for litigation against at least 30 illegal scanlation websites.

Japanese manga is originally written in Japanese. These scanlation groups somehow get a hold of the “raw” pages of different manga and have someone translate them into English and then post these pages on the Internet.

These newly translated pages are known as “scanlations,” a combination of “scan” and “translation.”

The legality of scanlations and even fansubbing is in itself of interest to me. It is of course, illegal. The problem I have seen with both of these mediums is that it creates a demand for a product, yet, if the product does come out commercially in the country that is doing the scanlating or fansubbing, no one buys the product.

Why buy it when you’ve already read it or watched it online?

“The coalition asserts that 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.”

Membership dues?

That right there gives everyone who ever perused these sites plausible deniability over whether or not they knew the sites were not strictly legal. The old “But I was paying for it…” defense. But it does tell me that people are willing to PAY for content.

I can see where the publishers are coming from, but, really, there has to be an easier way to get manga to people than waiting for a company to release it over here when they feel like it.

The only manga that I’ve been reading is a series known as Loveless. Look at the release cycle on the below linked Wikipedia page. Tokyopop started releasing it at a pretty good clip in 2006. In 2006 and 2007 a good portion of the series was released. Then, in 2008, we got one volume. In 2009, nothing. In 2010, so far nothing.

Of course, if you look to the left of that page, you’ll see that there’s only one more released volume in Japan, volume 9. Odds are we’ll see that volume later this year IF we’re lucky.

Yun Kouga has gone on record stating that there will be 15 volumes of Loveless. So at volume 9, we’re more than halfway there!

But, having to wait a year, or more, between published volumes in English is plain torture. Every time a new volume comes out, I have to re-read all the volumes I have just so I’ll be able to keep up with the story.

If I wanted to, I could easily find a scanlation site that offers Loveless and read each chapter as they come available.

The demand is there, manga publishers! You just need to find a way to tap it, or someone else will, legally or not.

This is why there’s an online Anime Network, this is why Crunchyroll exists. Heck, Crunchyroll started out as a place where people could watch bootlegs of Asian titles. After awhile, they turned legit and now offer officially licensed programs. Crunchyroll now “simulcasts” new shows in Japan on its site for people to watch in the US and elsewhere.

Like I said, manga publishers, it’s up to you to find a way to satiate our demand for new manga. Why can’t there be a “Manga Channel” or “Crunchyroll for Manga”?

Heck, you could easily monetize something like that with ads or subscriptions for Premium Content (like Crunchyroll or Anime Network), or even have an exclusive shop on the site that sells bath towels or bags or whatever of people’s favorite manga.

Thank you and good night.

Original posting on this site.
Loveless Wikipedia link.

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