I honestly cannot believe that we’re almost halfway through 2012. Wow.
Crunchyroll has announced that they will be carrying the second season of the Yuru Yuri Anime. Details of when it will air are forthcoming. Here’s a promo commercial for the series. (And you should probably watch JManga for an upcoming announcement about the manga series. Ahem.)
A new commercial for the upcoming Magical Lyrical Nanoha As the Second Movie is available for your viewing pleasure.
Takarazuka is doing a Legend of the Galactic Heroes musical. This is hardly the first anime or manga inspired story, but it seems there’s more of them, these days. ^_^
In a more serious vein, this week something happened that upset a great many people. It was brought to my attention that doujinshi scans had been put up for sale on the Amazon Kindle store.These were not legit, the artists have not given their permission for this and make no money on them. To many of us who have been watching scanlations devolve from a morally grey area to an outright criminal pursuit, this was not surprising, but it was upsetting. Doujinshi are an acceptable undermarket in Japan that is allowed to exist because it benefits the companies and the original right holders. Companies tacitly give permission for their characters to be used as long as their work does not impact the originals’ sales or copyright. In other words, as long as sales are kept low and niche. When a book gets too popular, it can lead to litigation.
My friend Komatsu-san contacted one of the artists, who was very upset that her work was being sold without her permission, of course. As I have said many times it is this issue of permission that is the core of the fallacy of scanlation as a noble pursuit. Scanlators do not ask for permission. By failing to do so, they simply cannot argue that what they do is ethically sound. The problem with permission is, it might not be granted, And since scanlation circles want what they want, they simply take it, without ever asking for that permission.
In this case, the scanlator managed to take that intent to the inevitable lower level – since the creator never even knew their work was scanlated, why not just sell it? They make a few bucks, no one gets hurt. Unfortunately, someone is hurt – emotionally and potentially financially, since the seller putting that scanlation on the English Kindle market means that the artist is now subject to *western* copyright laws. And the doujinshi was from a licensed series.
Okay, so it’s pretty obvious to me that no one has the right to take other people’s stuff without permission. And I think it’s obvious to everyone that selling that stuff is really over the line illegal. Unfortunately, because of the ecosystem of scanlations, a lot of people really, genuinely disagree with me about that first point. Hopefully we can agree on the second point.
I think this will be a growing problem for some time, until the new digital publishing market solidifies. Maybe then a valid scanlation translation market can develop. I think that would be nice. Until then, I think we’ll be seeing more of this issue.
The upshot of this week’s situation is that I contacted Amazon and asked that they remove the listing. I identified as a publisher, explained the language barrier and the existence of scanlations. Amazon removed the listings. Then Amazon wrote back telling me that they don’t accept takedown requests from people other than the IP holder. I wrote them again, with a long, comprehensive email about the doujinshi market and the way this situation developed, and asked them to reach out to me for a fuller explanation…and I suggested that they get used to receiving such emails from interested third parties, because this situation is unlikely to get better. I later learned that a coalition of folks for creator’s right in Japan actually was ready to bring a lawyer into the issue.
I and many others see this as a natural, inevitable devolution of the moral compass of scanlators, who have convinced themselves that they do something important, that their wishes are more important than creator’s rights and that they *own* their work in some legitimate way.
It’s long past time that we, as fans, hold other fans to a standard of decency. Even if you continue to read scanlations, surely you can see that selling them is beyond tolerable.
If you see a listing for an illegal sale of scanlated work, please report it to Amazon (firstname.lastname@example.org) or tell me, and I will. Thanks.
That’s a wrap for this week.
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