Yuri Network News – June 16, 2012

June 16th, 2012

I honestly  cannot believe that we’re almost halfway through 2012. Wow.

Yuri Anime

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.

***

Yuri Manga

The Pre-orders for Morinaga Milk’s Girl Friends in English are up on Amazon! The first omnibus Volume will be released in October, 2012, and the second volume will hit the shelves in January 2013.

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Other News

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 (copyright@amazon.com) or tell me, and I will. Thanks.

***

That’s a wrap for this week.

Become a Yuri Network Correspondent by sending me any Yuri-related news you find. Emails go to anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com. Not to the comments here, please, or they might be forgotten or missed. There’s a reason for this madness. This way I know you are a real human, not Anonymous (which I do not encourage – stand by your words with your name!) and I can send you a YNN correspondent’s badge.

Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!

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30 Responses

  1. Senbei says:

    Wow, that’s mind numbing. I’ve always thought it ludicrous that anyone would willingly exchange real currency for scanlations. To pay for a fan scanlation of a doujinshi that would be viewed on an 6″ e-ink display… might be the biggest waste of money since the Hindenburg.

  2. @senbei – You mean, aside from the ethical and moral implications of paying for stolen work, of course.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Scanlators do not ask for permission.”

    True!

    That’s why it’s wrong to scanlate webcomics without the original artists’ permission, even if the original artist wasn’t expecting the intended readers to pay for the original Japanese/Korean/whatever version.

    It’s also why it would be wrong for JManga to sell English translations outside the US/Canada region without each title’s original artist’s permission, even if it was planning to pay them their fair share of the take anyway.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “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”

    yeah. Sseems to me that selling that doujinshi on Amazon would have been just as wrong…

    …even if it had nothing at all to do with scanlation and it was the original Japanese version sold by the artist who drew the doujinshi and wrote it in Japanese…

    …as long as the original artists and authors who made up the stories and characters of which the doujinshi is a fanfic did not give *their* permission.

  5. @Anonymous – JManga are not scanlators. They are publishers, with official licenses through the publishing companies. Since the artists allow the companies to make business decisions for them (that is part of their contract), there is nothing remotely illegal or illicit about JManga districution.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m shocked about how Amazon responded to you. It sounds like their thought process was, “yes, you caught us doing something illegal, but so long as you’re not the original artist, you can’t sue us, so we’ll continue doing it.”

    Not what I would expect from what is supposed to be a legit company.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Exactly! :)

    It *would be* wrong for JManga to sell English translations outside the US/Canada region without each title’s original artist’s permission, even if it was planning to pay them their fair share of the take anyway.

    *IRL* JManga *did not* sell English translations outside the US/Canada region without each title’s original artist’s permission, therefore there *is* nothing remotely illegal or illicit about JManga districution. :D

  8. Mara says:

    “Takarazuka is doing a Legend of the Galactic Heroes musical.”

    Sorry to ruin this important discussion on the theft of other individuals IP but…

    YES!

    Best adaption choice ever.

  9. Grandslam says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. @Grandslam – Anonymous is not really clear on what s/he is saying. I’m not sure of the point they are trying to make, myself. Nonetheless, there’s no need to be rude. If you rewrite that post and take out the insults, I’ll make sure it gets posted. Thanks.

  11. dmunder7 says:

    That was close. I’d assumed that they were listed by the artists themselves, thought it was a wonderful idea, and had put several on my wish-list (they’ve been delisted, thankfully) for consideration later.

    Yoshitoshi Abe and Range Murata have released (original) works that way for various platforms, and there are endorsed fan-work anthologies published in tankubon form in Japan, so it hadn’t occurred to me that these might not be legitimate.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, and I’ll try to make it clearer.

    I don’t like using all caps and paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences, but sometimes they can make things clearer:

    “‘Scanlators do not ask for permission.’

    “True!

    “That’s why it

    “IS wrong to scanlate webcomics

    “WITHOUT the original artists’ permission

    “EVEN IF the original artist wasn’t expecting the intended readers to pay for the original Japanese/Korean/whatever version.

    [see this point made earlier at http://okazu.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-point-of-view-on-scanlation.html?showComment=1275692674486#c598031196896344721 :) ]

    “It’s also why it

    “WOULD BE wrong for JManga to sell English translations outside the US/Canada region

    “WITHOUT each title’s original artist’s permission

    “EVEN IF it was planning to pay them their fair share of the take anyway.”

    [see a fan complaining near the end of at http://okazu.blogspot.com/2012/02/jmanga-goes-global.html?showComment=1330492313418#c5798859028509384389 about Jmanga taking the time to get creator permissions for non-US/Canada sales title-by-title instead of going global with all their titles all at once]

  13. @Anonymous – Your argument hinges in a fundamental misundertanding of what JManga is.

    Jmanga is a Japanese digital publisher, not an English scanlation group. It *has* permission from the Japanese publishers and the artists to sell manga globally. That permission is called a “license.”

    Your argument simply make no sense whatsoever in regards to JManga.

  14. Anonymous says:

    “It *has* permission from the Japanese publishers and the artists to sell manga globally.”

    INITIALLY, WHEN it only sold manga

    INSIDE the US and Canada, Jmanga sure gave the impression that it

    DID HAVE permission from the Japanese publishers and the artists to sell manga

    INSIDE the US and Canada

    AND DID NOT have permission from the Japanese publishers and the artists to sell manga

    OUTSIDE the US and Canada.

    THEN, LATER, when Jmanga sold

    SOME titles BUT NOT OTHER titles

    OUTSIDE the US and Canada,

    Jmanga sure gave the impression that it only had permission from the Japanese publishers and artists of

    SOME titles BUT NOT OTHER titles to sell their manga

    OUTSIDE the US and Canada.

    Jmanga acted as though it needed to buy a SEPARATE license for each title for any region (such as global)

    OUTSIDE the US and Canada.

    “That permission is called a “license.””

    YES, EXACTLY,

    AND permissions to sell in a smaller region (such as the US and Canada instead of the whole world)

    ARE ALSO called “licenses.”

    Having a REGIONAL license for a product is permission to sell that product

    INSIDE the region,

    AND selling that same product

    OUTSIDE the region of the license is still wrong.

  15. @Anonymous –

    Some publishers (and therefore, manga artists, since by contract most manga artists give their publisher the right to make business decisions for them) have given Jmanga the permission to distribute globally. Some have not. They are dealing with 39 publishers, each of which has completely different licensing for different regions.

    JManga is not “acting like” anything. Some publishers do require separate licenses for separate regions. Some don’t. Jmanga is distributing globally when they get permission from the publisher and only then.

    I’m sorry to say your use of capitals doesn’t make your information any less inaccurate.

    Jmanga obtains different licenses for different regions from different publishers. This is the reality of licensing.

  16. @Anonymous – I’m really working hard to understand your issue. I’ve boiled it down to three possibilities, which I will attempt to address.

    In all cases “publisher” permission is equivalent to “manga artist” permission, since the artist gives the publisher to right to make agreements on their behalf.

    1) You seem to think that JManga did not obtain permission from publishers and the artists they represent to go global. They did. Obviously. For those manga that are now globally available, the publisher gave permission. Yes, at first most manga was only available in North America – then those license agreements were altered with the permission of the publisher to include global access.

    2) You seem to think that all licenses are the same. They are not. Each publisher has its own terms, and may or may not require different licenses for different regions. Some publishers are merely more conservative and cannot grasp a world where people want to read manga in Japanese outside Japan, or English outside North America.

    3) Terms of licensing are not necessarily fixed in place. Jmanga launched in North America with the specific desire to expand globally. When they had a compelling business case for expansion, they brought it to the 39 publishers they deal with. Some of the smaller publishers jumped on the idea, because they want to expand access. Shinsokan, for instance really is behind the idea that they can have manga with global reach. Shueisha, which is tied up with prior licenses in different regions, cannot or will not.

    Licensing is not a simple thing. Terms change, terms are different for each publisher and larger, older publishers have complicated regional licensing that are relics from an older model.

    JManga *is* gaining the permissions they need before distributing anything. Why you think they would not have those permissions, is to me at least, kind of bizarre.

  17. I *think* what Anonymous is trying to say is: that some people get upset that JManga doesn’t make everything available globally at once. However if they were to release it all globally at once without individual permission per title, no matter how much they were going to pay the original company, they’d be breaking the licensing agreement which is no better than what scanlators do.

    I think this is a pretty obvious point, and I’m not exactly sure why they’re saying it, other than to point out that people who complain about the speed of global licensing should calm down because JManga is trying to do things the right way.

    I’m just pleased that ANYONE is trying to get these manga over here, and especially legally. As a passionate Yuri lover, I’ve felt bad for a long time about having to resort to scanlations at all, and especially annoyed that yaoi (which I love and buy frequently, don’t get me wrong) has been getting official translations when Yuri flat out doesn’t. I like all things LGBT, but as a lesbian I like Yuri best, so I get tired of feeling left out. I want to collect my favorite titles and proudly put them on my shelf. Or even my iPad!

    I want to support Yuri the same way I support yaoi, but I feel like I cannot. But at the same time, I also want to read Yuri, so I get it from scanlators when it isn’t in print. This does NOT in any way justify what scanlators do, nor do I want it to. In fact, I’m most pleased with DMP’s system of hiring essentially scanlators to work on digital releases of yaoi manga they’ve licensed. This makes what they do legitimate while also keeping the cost down for the company, allowing them to do more with less money. I wish similar was being done with Yuri…

    I guess my question is this. What do you think is the best way to handle the situation? I’m sick and tired of being told by a largely heterosexual society that I have to get over it if there aren’t enough LGBT options in gaming, manga, and other mediums. However, when scanlators start SELLING unlicensed work on Amazon??? I absolutely cannot support them anymore. Help! I feel like I’m in a Yuri wilderness!

  18. And then suddenly I discover that ALC exists, and has existed. See, how did I not know this? Perhaps I never quite looked hard enough? I think it probably has something to do with years of only being able to buy things in stores, instead of digital retailers. I’m pleased that products like Kindle and iPad (love mine!) are changing the way manga is distributed, though! It gives people like me a measure of hope! Still, there’s a lot that publishing companies could do to make me a bit happier…I really want to pay people for creating art that brings me joy! As an LGBT playwright/poet, I feel like it’s my duty to give people what I would want given to me, out of a sense of pride. I love who I am, and I want people to think about that! So I’m excited to see when other people feel the same way!

    (Now, if only they’d put lesbian dating options in the next Harvest Moon game…my problems would be solved! (mostly))

  19. @@atelier_michi – We have existed for about ten years now. And we even got books into stores, but unless someone ordered one of our books through that store, they wouldn’t think to order *any* of our books, since bookstores only want to stock what sells.

    That old distribution model hurt a lot of the small manga publishers.

  20. Yeah, I’m sure it hurt a lot…
    I’m so grateful for the internet! I’ve been wanting to write a book or something about how the internet has helped to change the way we view and express gender and sexuality. I know for me, I’d have NEVER figured out I was female (I’m trans, btw), let alone a lesbian, without the internet. There is so much media and information out there now that I didn’t have access to as a teenager in the 90s. Sometimes I honestly believe that without the internet, I wouldn’t be here anymore…I don’t think I’d have found the outlet I needed.

    So when I see the internet helping (well, mostly helping) industries like manga which I love and have helped me in my life in ways, I’m pleased. I want two things in life: To enjoy who I am as a woman, and to help other people enjoy who they are as well.

    Sorry if I’m getting a little off topic! >_< This kind of stuff just really excites me! Manga and anime completely revolutionized (Utena pun intended) my concepts of gender and sexuality, and I have a lot to thank for it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This statement (immediately below):

    “For those manga that are now globally available, the publisher gave permission. Yes, at first most manga was only available in North America – then those license agreements were altered with the permission of the publisher to include global access.”

    is entirely in complete, 100% agreement with this statement (immediately below):

    “INITIALLY, WHEN it only sold manga

    “INSIDE the US and Canada, Jmanga sure gave the impression that it

    “DID HAVE permission from the Japanese publishers and the artists to sell manga

    “INSIDE the US and Canada

    “AND DID NOT have permission from the Japanese publishers and the artists to sell manga

    “OUTSIDE the US and Canada.

    “THEN, LATER, when Jmanga sold

    “SOME titles BUT NOT OTHER titles

    “OUTSIDE the US and Canada,

    “Jmanga sure gave the impression that it only had permission from the Japanese publishers and artists of

    “SOME titles BUT NOT OTHER titles to sell their manga

    “OUTSIDE the US and Canada.

    “Jmanga acted as though it needed to buy a SEPARATE license for each title for any region (such as global)

    “OUTSIDE the US and Canada.”

    Meanwhile, in reply to this other statement (immediately below this line):

    “I *think* what Anonymous is trying to say is: that some people get upset that JManga doesn’t make everything available globally at once. However if they were to release it all globally at once without individual permission per title, no matter how much they were going to pay the original company, they’d be breaking the licensing agreement which is no better than what scanlators do.”

    YES, EXACTLY! YOU GOT IT IN ONE! :D

  22. @Anonymous – Things change. JManga has certain permissions at first then those permissions were expanded. They didn’t “make it seem like” anything.

    It was one thing, then it changed after negotiation. Some things are still North American only. Some are global.

    There is no conspiracy, cover up or denial of service here. Life is more complex than you want it to be. Oh well.

  23. Anonymous says:

    “…I think this is a pretty obvious point, and I’m not exactly sure why they’re saying it, other than to point out that people who complain about the speed of global licensing should calm down because JManga is trying to do things the right way…”

    You got it right the first time again! :D

    It’s an obvious point to you. :)

    It’s an obvious point to me. :)

    It wasn’t an obvious point to some of the people at http://okazu.blogspot.com/2012/02/Yuri-titles-on-jmanga-still-limited-by.html :(

    BTW, do you know how someone very literate in English can read the comment “…AND permissions to sell in a smaller region (such as the US and Canada instead of the whole world)

    “ARE ALSO called ‘licenses.’…”

    and conclude that the comment must have been made by a commenter who “…seem[s] to think that all licenses are the same…”?

  24. Anonymous says:

    “There is no conspiracy, cover up or denial of service here.”

    Who said there was?

  25. @Anonymous – You still are misunderstanding.

    Originally, JMaga did not have permissions to sell things globally. Then they renegotiated. Things changed. That happens in business.

    I used the word “conspiracy” because you keep using this rather insane phrase: “They made it seem like” – the didn’t make anything seem like anything.

    At first, they did not have the license to release anything globally. Then they renegotiation and were able to get that. It’s incredibly simple and I still don’t see why you’re freaking out.

    You have ceased to be entertaining, and your use of screaming to incorrectly explain a situation that is obvious because the company has already said what happened is tiresome. Thanks for your amusingly ranty comments. Have a great day.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I used the word “conspiracy” because you keep using this rather insane phrase: “They made it seem like”

    That’s not about conspiracies at all. ;)

    That’s about how I sanely figured out that JManga originally did not have permissions to sell things globally and then they renegotiated. :)

    I wasn’t *absolutely* sure, because I sure didn’t see the contracts JManga’s executives signed. I *did* see JManga’s website, and see what it seemed like to me.

    “and your use of screaming”

    That’s not screaming. It’s just making key words like “would be” and “outside” easier to see, for everyone who missed them back when they were in lowercase letters.

  27. JHB says:

    So… /singing/ Boring Germans In Space. Interesting.

  28. JHB says:

    @anonymous: if your intent was to make things clearer, your method was not successful. The breaks and cap just managed to fragment whatever point you were trying to get across. The English language has a number of strategies for making counterpoints, and HTML tags are available to highlight areas of emphasis. There’s no need to use ad hoc (and unsuccessful) new techniques.

  29. BruceMcF says:

    Also, there’s a Seven Seas sale at Rightstuf. Hayate x Blade, Strawberry Panic, A Certain Scientific Railgun and more, at 33% off, today (Wed 20JUN) and tomorrow (21JUN).

    Reading the whole “anonymous” thread, the original seems to be (1) taking for granted a context of whinging about JManga on certain internet discussion forums that not everybody hangs out at and (2) is making a point which is (2a) elliptical and (2b) not obvious why it would be such a big deal outside of that whinging about JManga context.

    @anonymous ~ use a handle. You don’t have to add a url in the Name/URL option if you don’t want to.

  30. @Anonymous at 1:16 – I’m not surprised at all. They’ve never had a situation like this. Copyright in the US always puts the burden of proof (and and enforcement) on the rights holder and, as a result the takedown policies presume that the rights holder will be involved.

    This is something quite alien to Amazon and any other distributor. Google also doe not have a method by which a non-creator/rights holder can place a complaint.

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