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Nick Simmons/Bleach Manga Plagiarism Scandal Rocks Comics Twitterverse

By February 26, 2010

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IncarnateFrom Robot 6 and Anime News Network: The big manga news that hit the web yesterday involved Bleach , the hugely popular manga series by Tite Kubo (from Shonen Jump / VIZ Media) and Incarnate, a recently-released comic mini-series penned by Nick Simmons, the 20-year old aspiring rock star/cartoonist son of Gene Simmons of KISS fame.

Images surfaced on this LiveJournal site that provided pretty compelling comparisons between artwork and character designs in Incarnate with images from Bleach, One Piece and even a fan art image from Deviant Art, leading many fans to conclude that Simmons is guilty of plagiarism.

Radical, the publisher of Incarnate responded fairly quickly to the controversy by announcing that it halted plans to publish the graphic novel compilation of Incarnate "until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties."

A VIZ Media representative also responded with this comment:
"We appreciate all our fans bringing this matter to our attention and we are currently investigating this issue."

BleachEven Tite Kubo got wind of this, and responded via Twitter:

"A LOT of foreign fans have contacted me overnight about a comic book plagiarizing BLEACH. I don't really understand English, but I went and looked at the website, and apparently it was something about a comic that Gene Simmons' son is writing."

"I'm more interested in the fact that Gene Simmons' son is a manga-ka than whether he's plagiarizing me or not."

Needless to say, the reaction from across the web was swift and largely negative, and possibly only inflamed by some Facebook posts credited to Simmons that many have concluded was written by an imposter, looking to troll for insults.

Nevertheless, the faux Simmons quotes "I've never read a Japanese comic book or 'magma.'" and "Why would I name a comic after laundry detergent!" lead to the renaming of a 4chan bulletin board to "Detergents and Magma". Heck, some folks have gone as far as to call him a "douchebag plagiarist and a moron." But that wasn't all that was said online -- I jumped into the fray on Twitter and got a whole lot of fascinating responses from comics fans and creators.

PLAGIARISM IS BAD - BUT ISN'T PIRACY A WORSE VIOLATION OF A CREATOR'S RIGHTS?

Incarnate So granted - things do not look good for Simmons. The examples posted are too numerous and too similar to be a pure coincidence, in my opinion. But the sheer feeding frenzy, where fans are rushing up to bash Simmons and defend Tite Kubo's rights as a creator got me thinking about another related issue: copyright infringement and online piracy, which is a far more frequently committed and far more damaging violation of Kubo-sensei's, and many other manga and anime creators' rights.

So I did what I usually do. I tweeted about it. Here's what I had to say:

"Before you get all self-righteous about how you're standing up for Tite Kubo, ask yourself how many Bleach scanlations/fansubs you download. The sales lost to mass consumption of Bleach fansubs/scanlations hurts Tite Kubo far more than any half-assed Nick Simmons comic."

"It's fine that you love Tite Kubo's work & want to defend his honor -- but while you're at it, buy his damn books instead of downloading it."

I later added:

"I'm putting out there that some of the fans who are piling on Nick Simmons are throwing rocks from glass houses. It's not about the money so much as asking people to really ask themselves what "supporting" an artist you love really means."

This got lots of follow-up comments from other manga /anime / comics folks on Twitter. Here's a sampling of what came flying my way:

  • Eva Volin ( @funnypages) - manga reviewer, librarian: "I pointed this out to a scanlator once. His response: 'Well, it's not like Kubo needs the money.' Sigh."

  • Kazami Akira (@kazami_akira) - Japan-based comics blogger: "(There's) no punishment for stealing hundreds of contents (including manga/anime)... that's the biggest problem."

  • Sean Kleefeld (@skleefeld) - comics blogger: "Hurts financially in the short term? Yes. But Simmons' knock-off hurts the Bleach brand on more levels over the long term."

    "Plus, it's a HECK of a lot easier to target Simmons instead of the largely anonymous scanlators. On the part of Bleach fans perhaps, but there wasn't any legal actions considered until it was brought to Radical's attention via fandom."

  • Kasey Van Hise (@spacekase) - comics creator: "What's really gotten me about all these plagiarism stories is the attitude. Some are very cavalier about art theft."

  • Erica Friedman (@Yuricon) - manga/anime blogger, publisher: "Anyone who has never created a thing and had it stolen really doesn't understand the issue at all. And even if Kubo told them, they'd just find a different way to make themselves the injured party. They are sharing love, you know."

    "Very few people realize how little comic artists make, in any country. If you really ask them, they'll say they don't care about "supporting" whatever - they really just want what they want."

  • Hisui, Reverse Thieves (@hisuiRT) - anime blogger: "Well, (these fans') love is shallow enough that when it comes down to any sort of sacrifice the love ends and the excuses begin. The only problem is 90% of the guilty will not care anyway even if they were listening. But that does not mean it does not need to be said."

Meanwhile, at least one bookseller found an upside to the Incarnate controversy:

  • Elin Winkler (@doronjosama) - comics publisher and comic shop bookseller: "Have taken to upselling Bleach to customers who buy Incarnate. Working well so far!"

PLAGIARISM IS NOTHING NEW, PLUS IT'S FUN TO CRITICIZE THE FAMOUS & UNWORTHY

Incarnate #1Several people pointed out that plagiarism in manga isn't new - in fact, many Japanese manga artists have been accused of plagiarism. Yaoi artist Youka Nitta was accused of tracing from fashion magazines, and subsequently 'retired.' Artist Yuki Sugetsu was caught for plagiarism in Eden no Hana, and those books were pulled off the market. Even Katsura Hoshino, creator of D.Gray Man and Takehiko Inoue, creator of Slam Dunk have been accused of plagiarism. Comipress has an overview of past manga plagiarism scandals that's well worth checking out.

And as Kelsie (@bicyclefish) pointed out, there have been plagiarism/tracing scandals related to artists copying Jack Kirby's work as well.

There's also the schadenfreude (e.g. taking pleasure in others misfortunes) aspect of this story. The Simmons controversy attracts lots of attention and bile because he's young and famous, and because he is perceived as being stupid enough to think he could copy one of the most popular manga series out today and think that no one would notice.

Here are more choice comments from the Twitter-sphere:

  • Hisui, Reverse Thieves (@hisuiRT) - anime blogger: "I also wonder if this was a) Not a the son of a celebrity doing it and b) An amateur doing it, would we have anywhere near the outrage?"

  • Maximo Lorenzo (@MaximoLorenzo) - comics creator: "It's not what (Simmons) has done that makes it out of hand, it's he's a celebrity and people love a good witch burning. It's fun. As someone who is gleefully picking on Simmons, No. I work really hard to stray from my influences, and pay for good comics. Whereas he's a spoiled rich kid, riding on daddy's success and probably deserves this, it'll last what? A week? we'll get bored."

However, as Kelsie (@bicyclefish) pointed out, "I wonder about the roles of "assistant artists" Nam Kin, Ben Harvet & Shi Hua Wong (Studio IL) in this Incarnate matter."

Hm. Good question - surely at least ONE of these artists involved in this project would know the story behind the artistic similarities pointed out, wouldn't they? Curiouser and curiouser.


WHERE'S THE LINE BETWEEN TRIBUTE AND COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN ARTISTS ALLEY?

Artists Alley - FanimeNow here's where things got even more complicated, when I tweeted THIS comment:

"I mean, if we're all outraged at Nick Simmons' copying Tite Kubo's artwork for profit, what about those people selling Bleach fan art at cons?"

One reason that fans cite for being angry at Simmons act of 'copying' another creators work is that he's getting paid for it. But aren't artists who create "fan art" of other creators' characters without permission also being "paid" when they sell those works at cons? So where's the line drawn there?

Most people were quick to point out that the differences between the two scenarios. The most frequently cited rationales for "fan art is not the same as plagiarism" were:

  1. Fan artists readily attribute the original characters as the work of the original creator, whereas Simmons' artwork, several plot points and character designs in Incarnate did not credit Bleach or Tite Kubo at all, and therefore, it was deceptive to sell it as "original work."

  2. While the "fan tribute art" are sold in artists alley, most artists don't make any profit from it.

  3. Artists who create 'fan tribute' art are doing it because that's what sells. Buyers at anime conventions are largely uninterested in artwork that depicts original creations.

  4. The Japanese comic scene has a long tradition of a fan art / doujinshi culture, where pro and amateur artists alike create "fan tribute" artwork and stories for sale at huge shows like Comiket.

  5. Tracing and direct plagiarism is frowned upon in Artists Alley too, so even by that standard, Simmons' art would be vilified if shown/sold in that context.

However, not everyone was willing to say that derivative fan art is totally okay. Here's a sampling of the many, many comments I got from fans and comics creators alike:

  • LKK (@LKK6144) -comics fan: "To me, the issue is this. Simmons sold his art under the claim that it was original. The publisher bought his art believing it to be original. Simmons potentially committed fraud in doing so. It's the fraudulent aspect that bothers me. "

    "Fan art seldom claims to be wholly original art. No fraud. When fan art is copied & claimed as original, other fans will come down on them just as hard as now."

  • Cetriya (@cetriya) - comics creator: "Copying off of others' hard work instead of learning to draw cheapens the manga style, making it hard for us to find decent paid jobs."

  • Infinity Shark (@infinityshark) - comics fan: "Doujin, despite not having original characters, are fan-made. (The examples of Nick Simmons' artwork that we've seen) were painfully obvious trace-overs."

  • Yidi Yu (@Kiriska) - comics creator: "As a creator, I don't think I'd mind people selling fan art of my characters all that much, but tracing my stuff? That's not cool."

Doujinshi, or fan-created comics are a big part of comics culture in Japan - many creators get their start by creating and selling doujinshi / comics featuring their interpretations of characters and stories created by other creators. Meanwhile, it's unlikely that an American comics publisher would tolerate an artist publishing and selling an unauthorized Superman / Batman yaoi manga story at a convention, much less at the level that it is tolerated in Japan. So if it's okay in Japan, is it okay here? When is it NOT okay?

  • Carolyn Urban (@agdeeds) - comics fan: "Manga makes up a huge part of Japan. Doujin has been established and serves its purpose there. Different ballpark in the US."

  • Emil Petrinic (@strangegoat) - comics creator: "The Japanese publishers are very smart to tolerate doujins. They create new artists, and keep fans involved. It creates a much livelier creative comics culture than the Western approach."

  • Hisui - Reverse Thieves (@hisuiRT) anime blogger: "To throw out another layer that only makes things more complicated: Doujinshi artists in Japan make money off copyrighted material."

  • A.T. (@ATborderless) - Japan-based comics fan: "Making money from non-original doujinshi used to be hated among fan artists. Now young people in Japan don't feel bad about it."

  • Rebecca Hicks (@RHicks) - comics creator: "It's a heck of a line to walk: Wanting fans to feel connected to the work without letting them feel that they own the work."

  • Heidi Kemp (@zerochan) - games reviewer/writer: "I'd say at least half of doujin artists at Comiket aren't making profit & many even lose money. If you're doing a more obscure doujin subject, then you run the risk of losing a lot of money. But you do it because you love it. Doujin printing isn't cheap, and if you don't completely sell out of a print run, you're likely in the red."

  • Rowan McBride (@RowanMcBride) - writer, anime fan: "Creating a dounjin to make money is the worst life-plan ever. That's like planning to make it big as a Spandau Ballet tribute band."

Bleach doujinshi by Studio in LabourSeveral artists pointed out that one reason why artists create fan art to sell at anime convention Artists Alleys is because fan art is what sells.

  • Kelsie (@bicyclefish) - comics creator: "From my personal experience: At anime cons fan items sell more. At comic cons, people seek original art & stories more."

  • Maximo Lorenzo (@MaximoLorenzo) - comics creator: "I know plenty of brilliant artists who can't sell original work because no one knows who they are, fan art circumvents this dilemma."

  • Emil Petrinic (@strangegoat) - comics creator: "Plagiarism and Piracy are both significant issues, but quite separate, in my opinion. Piracy damages the original creator but Plagiarism rips off consumers as they're unknowingly paying for something not new. Remakes and lack of originality in fiction aside, that's the point of buying creative works; you're paying for new original works."

    "Fans aren't professionals, so different rules of artistic conduct apply."

  • Kevin Church (@BeaucoupKevin) - comics creator and graphic designer: "Did they create the thing they are making money from? No? 'Different rules of artistic conduct' -- That is the most loaded phrase I have ever seen. It's a bit of cheap semantics to justify 'fans' making money off something they didn't make."

    "If I can make new comics with people that can draw, someone that CAN DRAW ALREADY can make new comics. This might be why I don't particularly like 'fan culture' that profits/piggybacks on someone else's work. I don't see how 'they lost money' justifies creative theft."

  • Christopher Butcher (@Comics212 ) - comics blogger and manager, The Beguiling: "I think selling fanart and 'plagiarism' are pretty close together. One gets a pass cuz of fan entitlement. I'm paying tribute to the artist by selling bad copies of their work' is the same as 'I'm helping by spreading scans."

    "Simmons is ripping off Bleach, but he's funneling it into something new. It's derivative & shows very bad judgement, but it's SOMETHING. Selling fan art that rips off Bleach just to rip off Bleach under the guise of 'tribute?' Far, far worse in my estimation."

    "I think fan creations are great, I truly do. I think profiting off of the work of others under the guise of a tribute is gross. No, they're claiming that they love Bleach and then selling work that rips it off. That disconnect is even more fucked up."

    (Christopher expands upon this thought at his blog, Comics212.net.

  • Zac Bertschy (@ANNZac) - Editor in Chief, Anime News Network: "Though I will say the folks just drawing Naruto's head and making hundreds of buttons and selling them for $3 a crack in the alley isn't 'fan art' any moreso than bootleg Bart Simpson tee-shirts."

  • Mochi Momo (@mochimomo_HI) - illustrator: "Maybe Artists Alley is not a good place for an artist to make their mark; customers don't care for original work. Tributes and homage is what drives the market at artists alleys. Artists may be stuck making those instead of making their own."

  • Kelsie (@bicyclefish) - comics creator: "Cons have various rules regarding fanworks. Otakon limits number fan pieces to 200. (See Otakon's Artists Alley guidelines) Fanart at Ohayocon cannot exceed 50% total number of unique pieces & must be 40% changed from the original design." (See Ohayocon's Artists Alley guidelines)

  • Dan Hess (@dansaysstuff) - comics creator: "Me, I'm fine with Artist Alley fan art as long as the artist is doing it in their own style - a fresh take on the work. It's just the blatant copying of someone else's style AND work, that bugs the heck outta me. You're an artist! Do your own thing!"

  • Beverly Wagner (@djwaglmuffin) - comics creator: "Hey, if artists want to sell themselves short by doing zilch but fanwork, let 'em. They'll learn nothing and go nowhere in the end."

So Twitter-storm though it was, the responses I got to the opinions and questions I threw out there on Twitter on this subject was fascinating to read -- and I'm sure there's more out there to be said and heard. Want to add your two cents? Chime in with your comments below, or send 'em my way via Twitter.

Also, check out more noteworthy commentary across the web about this controversy from Johanna Draper Carlson, Simon Jones (Icarus Comics), Gia Manry (Anime Vice) and Brad Rice (Japanator).

UPDATE: For more on the subject, also check out Melinda Beasi's article, "Confessions of a Former Scan Junkie" and Beverly Wagner's take on "The Art of Copying."

MORE UPDATES: Nick Simmons released an official statement about the controversy.

Image credits: © Nick Simmons, © Tite Kubo, © Deb Aoki, Bleach doujinshi by Studio in Labor

Comments

February 27, 2010 at 1:09 am
(1) R.Smash says:

Great article, Deb.

February 27, 2010 at 1:16 am
(2) Brittany says:

As being an artist that sells art in the artist alleys at conventions, I agree with most of the comments said on the issue of selling fanart. I am one of those that is guilty of selling fanart and my reason is the same as some listed: Original artwork just does not sell. If the con-goer cannot find a piece of art of their favorite character from you then they move on to the next person, more times than not. Every con I go to I am guaranteed to have just about every other person come up, not even look at my art and ask something like: “Do you have any pictures of Cloud?/Naruto?/Whomever?” when I tell them “No” they tend to scoff, give me a dirty look, or just walk away. Then, at this point, you kind of have a mini-dilemna. Because in most cases, it’s somewhat expensive to sell your art at a con. Theres the cost of the pass into the con itself, the cost of the table, the cost of printing and other supplies, and in most cases the cost of travel and hotel as well since a majority of serious artists in the artist alley go to bigger conventions in other states. Myself, being one of those people as I live in Colorado and go to a convention in California every year. So the dilemma comes down to whether or not you want to bend to these people’s wills and draw what they want even though you don’t really want to.

And I’m afraid to say that 90% of us do it. I know I do. I’ve drawn quite a few pieces just for the sheer sell-a-bility not because I had any real interest in it. It seems that the general understanding of the buyers is that the artist alley is the place to get copies of fanart. In fact, I couldn’t count the number of times that I have had someone look at my original art and go “Which anime is this character from?” because they can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that the sellers sell original artwork as well.

But anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that even though a majority of us are making money off of someone elses character, about 99% of us never claim these characters as our own. And as I mentioned above, the buyers know the artist alley is filled with Fanart so they automatically know that most of us did not create these characters.

The issue with Nick Simmons is the deceit. He’s passing off something that he (to me) clearly copied from someone else as his own. The fact that he’s attempting to make money off of it is a double-edged sword. It kind of automatically makes the issue much more scandalous. I think if he was just posting this for free then people would still be angry but not nearly as much. I guess that comes down to the fact that, say he was posting this online for free view, he could just take it down and the issue would be resolved. But in this case, people have already spent their money on it; others have been thinking for months that his comic is innovative and only to find out that he didn’t seem to have any original input. Burn people like that and they are going to come back and try to burn you twice as hard. And i guess the other issue is that he probably only got his comic this far because of his social standing. If he wasn’t the son of someone famous, would he of really gotten this far? Would someone of maybe noticed this earlier and laughed him off? We really don’t know, but the general way that things work in this society is that you can go pretty far if you have someone famous backing you up. I think that it’s a combination of all of those things that is really getting people riled up about it.

February 27, 2010 at 1:53 am
(3) Dee says:

Two wrongs don’t make a right. You’ve made some very valid points about other transgressions…

but just because other people do it with fan art for profit, Doujinshi and what not… does NOT make what Simmons did less offensive or easier to defend.

What’s wrong is wrong, and what he did is wrong. On a legal standpoint… there is a slippery slope when it comes to Fan art/Doujinshi that makes it “legal” while not necessarily “okay”, to sell for profit. Whether you like it or not, Right or wrong, if they meet the criteria of being on this side of legal, they have the right to sell their fan art.

However, what Simmons did is wrong from the start to the finish. It’s more than obvious he traced images right out of other artists’ panels, he traced images from other artists he found online, He even stole written content… and he’s claiming it all to be his original work – and has a disclaimer on his Deviant art site to not steal his art work under penalty of being sued basically. Ironic hey?

People also have a very flipant attitude about what goes on in Japan. Do people rip off other manga artists in Japan? To some extent yes. A similar theme here, a look-a-like character there… Tite Kubo himself has a manga previous to BLEACH called “Zombie Powder” which can be likened to Trigun meets full metal alchemist.

however, he didn’t copy every character from someone else, the designs were not traced from another artist’s manga. Whatever similarities there are, he takes them in their own direction, with only his own talent as a mangaka to guide him..

That’s what goes on in Japan’s world of Manga frequently.

However when it comes to blatant plagairizing like Nick is accused of… they are intollerant in Japan. One Mangaka’s career was ruined when he admitted to having stolen a few panels from another manga. It was only a few panels, and he claims everything else was legit… but he lost future contracts, the manga he had on the shelves were removed, and he lost his reputation.

So the Japanese are not so flippant about blatant Plagairism despite what people think.

The main problem here, even if you don’t like fan art because you feel it’s stealing someone else’s work… at least you know it’s fan art and you know what you’re getting into.

With Simmons… he’s not drawing fan art, or art inspired by Bleach… he’s tracing his comic right out of the manga, then trying to pass this off as his own original work, he’s trying to dupe people out of their money.

You can’t defend him by saying “Well fan art”, “well Doujinshi”, “Well it happens all over Japan.”

again, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because someone else did it, doesn’t make this LESS wrong.

February 27, 2010 at 2:40 am
(4) Laurie says:

“Which anime is this character from?”

thats something that I keep getting. now I just give them the title of the comic its from (my own IP) and hope they internet search and stumble on my site.

Artist Alley has gotten to the point where people expect high priced fan art so when some just happens to pass by my table, they dont really know what to expect. I always try to get a table at the entrance of AAs now. I’ve gotten a few people that come in buy my stuff and walk out.

February 27, 2010 at 2:48 am
(5) manga says:

Oh, make no mistake — I’m not defending Nick Simmon’s transgressions against art here. If true, what he did was stupid, lazy and just plain old wrong.

My main point is that I see a lot of fans feeling pretty smug about how they’re standing up for Tite Kubo’s rights as a creator without looking at how their consumption of fansubs/unauthorized scanlations is actually more harmful to Tite Kubo because of 1) how much more prevalent it is and 2) how many fans justify their consumption and distribution of illegal fansubs/scans as an “act of love.”

You can’t just support “creators’ rights” when it’s fun and sexy to dump on a rich, famous and unworthy celebrity.

February 27, 2010 at 4:19 am
(6) Maximo V. Lorenzo says:

A brilliant blog on how Fanart is not comparable to tracing.

http://www.icaruscomics.com/wp_web/?p=4319

It really isn’t even close.

February 27, 2010 at 6:50 am
(7) lala says:

Enjoyed your article!

Everyone brings up good points. It’s a 50/50 situation.

Everyone’s commenting on fanart, but the real question is: Did Nick Simmons plagarize Bleach?

Not, what is the difference between what he did and what fan-artists do.

February 27, 2010 at 8:51 am
(8) moritheil says:

Selling fanwork is a bit more like selling doujin manga. One can surely argue that this is revenue that rightfully belongs to Tite Kubo, but the intent to deceive is not there. What makes the Incarnate issue outrageous is that it offends on multiple levels – it’s done for money, and it’s a tracing, and it’s presented as Simmons’s original work.

February 27, 2010 at 8:56 am
(9) Elin Winkler says:

Um, I’m guessing my tag of “comics fan” is technically accurate, since I do love comics. (And manga and Euro comics and comic strips…) But I’ve actually worked in the comic industry since 1993. I started at Antarctic Press as a copy editor, then took over editing duties on some of the anthologies, then eventually was doing the English rewrite for every manga title Antarctic Press published, as well as the editing of said books. (About six to eight a month, at one point.) In 1997, I formed my own comic publishing company after being downsized, and took over the anthologies I edited at AP. Radio Comix also has published a few manga, but mostly from friends of ours in the doujinshi scene. Our biggest manga releases were Tsukasa Kotobuki’s Mechanical Man Blues and Shuzilow Ha’s Alice in Lostworld (he did the Solty Rei anime). We also used to publish an anthology called Mangaphile, which was dedicated to covering the American manga scene (news, comics, how-to’s and interviews)- long before TokyoPop ever conceived of OEL manga.

While I know I’m not the biggest or most well known person in the comic industry, I do still publish comics. I just also have a day job in a comic store. The economy isn’t kind to the small press these days.

February 27, 2010 at 10:14 am
(10) Melinda Beasi says:

I appreciate Dee’s argument up there, because that’s some of what I’ve been thinking while reading all of this.

It’s great that this incident has provided impetus for new conversation about piracy and plagiarism. But none of that conversation makes Simmons any less a plagiarist. Whether or not the fans are *more* wrong than he is… he’s still wrong. Regardless of whether his crime is more or less damaging to the artists he’s copied from than what scanlators or fan artists do, it’s still a crime, and a fairly odious one at that.

My personal reaction to the evidence of Simmons’ plagiarism has mainly been pity. In the words of Boris Lermontov from the classic film The Red Shoes, “It is worth remembering, that it is much more disheartening to have to steal than to be stolen from.” It seems pretty likely that Simmons is a long-time comics fan with real dreams of being taken seriously as an artist. What hollow kind of happiness must he feel, knowing that the pages of his own published work provide such glaring proof of his inability to do so?

Even if he’d continued to get away with what he was doing, he’d have to live with the knowledge that he couldn’t succeed without stealing from other artists. The fact that he’s stolen from such popular works, almost certain to be discovered, somehow makes it even sadder. I wonder if the excitement of being published was really worth it in the end.

February 27, 2010 at 10:29 am
(11) Steve says:

Interesting you basically presume in your tweets that anyone that flames plagiarism downloads bleach content.

For the record the difference is piracy hurts the distributor, plagiarism hurts the consumer (nobody wants to see the same thing rearranged in a different order).

February 27, 2010 at 10:57 am
(12) Jake says:

I agree with Steve, what makes you think that everyone standing up for Kubo downloads scanlated manga?

Besides much of the scanlated manga is downloaded by fans because there is usually quite a long wait before it is available for purchase in English. Most people I know who read manga online eventually buy the actual book when it is published in English anyway, even if they did download it.

Often scanlation groups are kind volunteers who give up their time to translate and provide hardcore fans with an early version of the story, it’s not like they get paid for their hard work and most of the time I even see a note asking people to buy the official release when it is out and support the artist. I don’t like that you try and vilify these people yet seem to be attempting to belittle the plagiarism of Nick Simmons. I don’t care who his father is, anyone who blatantly copies someone’s work and then tries to make money off of it should receive their due criticism.

I think people already pointed out why fan artists are different, not that I see why it needed clarification in the first place. Obviously labelling something as “fan art” is quite different to tracing something and then passing it off as your own original work.

February 27, 2010 at 11:19 am
(13) Agito says:

A very well rounded aproach to the current matter.

One can’t take a position unless it is a 50/50 one.
However one cannot forget the main problem. Aka simmons blatantly ripped of on tite kubo.

He (simmons) stole the manga-ka’s artwork and characters and without mentioning tite kubo’s name he passed it as his own story.

As i understand he (simmons) not only stole from tite kubo but from deviant art based artists and who can possibly know maybe he (simmons) stole from others as well, as it is customary to these kinds of people.

My take on the matter is that we diverged from the subject at hand. Simmons’s ilegal actions.

Before we can stop fanart or doujin we must start with those on top. If we cut the roots vis a vis the current matter we will not reach any conclusion.

The way to go is from the head down.

February 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm
(14) Beep Beep says:

>PLAGIARISM IS BAD – BUT ISN’T PIRACY A WORSE VIOLATION OF A CREATOR’S RIGHTS?

Just because you haven’t purchased any of the writers works, and look at them for free, doesn’t mean that you can’t support them. Are libraries stealing from artists, when they lend out books to children? Are you pirating from Leonardo Da Vinci when you look at a picture of the Mona Lisa online, and save it onto your computer?

Half the people who read Bleach online would’ve been unlikely to pay for it in the first place. I read BLEACH, and many other manga online, and would have never paid for them, or even have started getting interested in Anime/Manga altogether if it wasn’t for Fansubs or scanlations. If anything, it supports the artist, by giving them more exposure to a wider audience.

>WHERE’S THE LINE BETWEEN TRIBUTE AND COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN ARTISTS ALLEY?

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with creating Fanworks at all. The difference between those that sell doujins, and what Nick is doing, is that they’re drawing the characters themselves, and it is clear that what they’re doing is a fan work.

What Nick is doing, is plagarizing. He blatantly TRACED the images, and tried to pass it off as his own work. That is what’s wrong with the whole thing. Him being a celebrity is part of it ( He’s also been using his dad’s fame/connections to try to promote his comic lol ) , but the big issue here, is someone trying to make money off of something that they clearly didn’t do themselves.

I hope Nick enjoys his future as an artist. I doubt anyone would take any of his works seriously anymore because of this fiasco, even if they’re original drawings.

February 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(15) cwfgrtb says:

I agree with Beep Beep. The more people familiar with the brand makes them more likely to be a customer. Publishers are just not seeing the picture.

Instead of considering online contents as a service to customers, they see each as a separate good that demands to be bought.

If they can’t come up with ways to get customers to *want* to purchase things that *can’t* be copied online then they deserve to go bankrupt.

Evolution, either you’re adapt or you die off. Simple.

February 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(16) Kieran says:

Well, Piracy and Plagarism, both of what Nick is doing,

And even then, I WAIT for the English books, Heck, i dont even knew that you could download them, but still, Nick is aiming to be the innocent party.

and fanart, So if i draw a Bleach title, im violating copyright? No, Claming it as my creation, Yes. carry over the same idea to this and…..

SUE SUE SUE!!!!

GUILTY!

Good article, Kudos to who wrote it.

February 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm
(17) cwfgrtb says:

I agree with Beep Beep. The more people familiar with the brand makes them more likely to be a customer. Publishers are just not seeing the picture.

Instead of considering online contents as a service to customers, they see each as a separate good that demands to be bought.

What was the business model with TV and anime? People pay for a cable subscription to watch tv, watch a show, and buy goods based on the advertising. Why is the internet anything different?

If they can’t come up with ways to get customers to *want* to purchase things that *can’t* be copied online then they deserve to go bankrupt.

Evolution, either you’re adapt or you die off. Simple.

February 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm
(18) Maria says:

Wow thanx Deb, youve really opened my eyes . ( no, im not being sarcastic) ive never thought about the difference between selling “fanart” “doushinji” and profiting by plagiarizing. Im even more inspired to create something that is original and fun to make.

I only have a question, is drawing an art style that is based or created off another’s original artstyle “plagiarizing?”

February 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm
(19) Eddie Perkins says:

Very good article. I enjoyed reading it and it brought up some really good points.

One thing though, I saw Elin Winkler listed as “comic fan.” She’s actually president and editor in chief of Radio Comix which has been publishing comics for quite a long time. My guess is you didn’t realize this. Just seemed kind of a slight to list other people by their title or what they do and then just refer to Elin as “comic fan.”

Anyway, just wanted to tell you I enjoyed the article quite a bit and bring the thing about Elin to your attention.

February 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm
(20) Eddie Perkins says:

Whoops. I should have read the comments. I see Elin already brought this up herself.

Well, anyway, like I said, I enjoyed the article.

February 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm
(21) cwfgrtb says:

If publishers are so afraid of putting their content online, for free – and then looking at ways to give the new audience a reason to buy – then it just goes to show how far apart publishers are from fans.

If they can’t come up with ways to get people to buy things that can’t be pirated then they need a new marketing director~

February 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm
(22) Diana says:

An interesting article about Plagiarism vs Piracy. I read scanlations every week. You know why? Because the newest chapter won’t be available for several years in the USA. I don’t think you can accuse someone of piracy when the product is not available to buy. I own twenty three volumes of bleach. When I compare them to the scanlations of those volumes, I perfer the scanlations. Why? Because there is no censorship, Japaneses words are kept when tastfull, color layouts are not removed and you never have to deal with the dreadfull page flipping by some American Publishers.

Also, if these companies with projected losses due to fans reading things as they’re published in Japan they should realize they have to cater to that need to make money. If armatures can clean and translate within a day, why can’t someone like VIZ do so as well? How hard would it be to come up with their own web site that charged maybe a buck per chapter or a ten bucks for unlimited download? The truth is if VIZ really looked into it they could overtake sites like onemanga with design and extras. Fans would be willing to pay a few bucks for conviences.

Now, why Nicks Plagiarism is worse. This artist used panels and claimed they were his own. That’s why he’s in the dog house right now. This isn’t an issue of a company not correctly fulfilling the market’s demands, it’s an issue of someone not being honest about their product.

February 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm
(23) Duffy says:

Yea, I see your point actually but I buy my manga’s so I don’t think I will affect Kubo in anyway, but it’s 50/50 here and there.

February 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm
(24) Melinda Beasi says:

“I don’t think you can accuse someone of piracy when the product is not available to buy.”

Diana, I think Japanese publishers and artists who put a lot of time and money into creating manga and making it available for sale would take great issue with this statement. If you want to try to make an argument for why you think this type of piracy is acceptable, so be it, but arguing that it is not piracy at all is simply ludicrous.

February 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm
(25) nijibug says:

I appreciate you making the effort to present a multi-faceted view of the issue in spite of where your own opinion lies.

I understand it’s a very complicated matter at stake here; I myself follow licensed manga as the volumes are released in the U.S., but at the same time volunteer as a scanlator of doujinshi.

February 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(26) iola says:

Hey Deb, I totally agree with your stance about buying the original works. I’ve purchased all the manga I’ve read, however…

How is getting comics from the web different from borrowing them from a library (or friend) or buying the comic used? The original artist does not get profit from this either.

February 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm
(27) cwfgrtb says:

Why hinder what people could come to love by locking it up in some format that they wouldn’t like. Encourage the manga to be spread around like wild fire – and then from there, find out how to offer them something that can’t be spread.

There’s money to be made, but not from infinite goods. Try looking at the finite ones.

(well you *could* make money from infinite goods too, but you have to beat pirates that are well, often better at customer satisfaction and price. So good luck with that.)

Oh, also – if you’re worried that the digital market would compete with your physical one. You’re seriously lacking in research and knowing how to please your customers (by offering things that they’d consider purchasing instead of expecting them to buy whatever)

February 27, 2010 at 4:39 pm
(28) manga says:

My apologies to Elin — i’ll make the tweak to her title when i edit the post. i was going off the bio she had posted on her Twitter homepage & links, which didn’t provide the info that was provided here in the comments. So lesson here? If you have a Twitter page, please use your real name and pimp up your accomplishments! I can’t/don’t know everyone in the comics world by name!

February 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm
(29) manga says:

Okay, let me make this one thing REALLY clear: Reading manga for free in a library IS NOT PIRACY. Why? Because the library BOUGHT the book from the publisher. That means at some point, the comics creator got paid for creating the work, and approved how it’s presented, including the graphics, the translation, etc. I’ll say it again: If the book is in the library, the book was purchased and the artist got paid. Okay?

This is WHOLLY different than reading an unauthorized scanlation of a manga online, because 1) the manga is presented and distributed without the creators’ permission, and is read by many, many people who may or may not ever pay to buy the official version.

So please, people. Don’t go on saying “what about libraries giving manga to read for free” argument ever again. It shows your ignorance of the publishing business, okay?

February 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm
(30) T.Z Harmon says:

Some people actually DO buy the manga, once it’s released in their language, even if they’ve already read the online fansubbed versions. Just assuming all non Japanese fans are ripping him off is pretty far off base and an insult.

February 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm
(31) 7thoughts says:

As a fan of manga and indie art I find it frustrating that a book like Incarnate was even published in the first place. The best part of this whole debacle is that fans, read; consumers, are saying to the comic industry, “Give us real art. Not the traced, poorly realized attempts of some rich kid.”

You may talk about Japanese artists like they plagiarize all the time but that simply isn’t true. The Japanese manga artists are some of the most hard working people in the comic industry. Many of them go for years with even a vacation and they work very hard to hone their craft.

In the States there are many wonderful manga style artists but unfortunate it’s the likes of Incarnate that are published. This needs to change, American publishers.

Also, blaming the other artists on the project shows an ignorance of the comic process that borders suspiciously on spin doctoring. If Simmons was the head of this project, which according to the credits it certainly looks like, then he is in a position to push things though.

February 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm
(32) manga says:

If you want to talk insulting, ask yourself how you’d feel if you spent years honing your craft as a comics creator, created a comic book, and someone translated it into Japanese without your permission, translated it horribly, and thousands of people read it and you didn’t get a dime. How’s that feel?

February 27, 2010 at 4:49 pm
(33) Apple says:

On the scanlation issue:

I think that publishers should tackle scanlations from another angle. There is no way to stop it–it will never stop. But isn’t it possible for the publisher to use scanlations to their advantage? I think that if they approached it with this attitude, it might make more money from them in the long run while still making fans happy.

For example, sigikki.com ~ from a fan’s perspective, it seems to be working out for them. Titles that would otherwise be hard to sell in the US market are getting more exposure. We need abstract methods such as this if you want to make more money at this game.

February 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm
(34) cwfgrtb says:

@T.Z Harmon – agreed.

Actually I’d like to see if the success of ~~ manga would have been as great as it was had it not have been for all the word of mouth from fans reading scanlations.

Take for instance – a poor person reads a scanlation, enjoys it – tells their friend that is rich. The friend reads, enjoys, then determines he must have it.

Why cut out such a possibility? If free is such a dangerous field then why aren’t you experimenting to know for sure? If you are, are you utilizing all the right fields? Fields fans know about?

February 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm
(35) cwfgrtb says:

@deb
“If you want to talk insulting, ask yourself how you’d feel if you spent years honing your craft as a comics creator, created a comic book, and someone translated it into Japanese without your permission, translated it horribly, and thousands of people read it and you didn’t get a dime. How’s that feel?”

If you were only in it for the money then maybe it could burn a bit. Or maybe you could take it upon yourself to inform fans of better translations – or heck, even take part of the process. Then once TONS of people know of your work, offer them something they would buy. Perhaps a signed book, perhaps an original scene made specially for them. If you want people to buy something – something they can easily get online (regardless if it’s right or wrong) then why not try to offer them something they can’t pirate.

Connect with fans, give them a reason to buy. Stop expecting it. Stop making rules to protect your old business model when a new one could actually benefit you a WHOLE lot more. Try changing your business models to take advantage of both the online and physical book market. Piracy won’t be stopped until every pc – in every country – is under the same rules – laws and monitoring so if that’s the way the future is going to be, you might as well as try to take advantage of the technology, connect with fans and offer them something they’d consider buying especially with the way the economy is right now.

February 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm
(36) cwfgrtb says:

RT @LostPhrack: People shouldn’t be expected to get paid for their work! That’s the old business model! Good lord.. people are dumb.

So in a world that can pirate your stuff, what are you going to do? Sit back and hope people buy it? Or take part and try to offer more value?

“remember, if EVERYONE read the manga for free and the publishers go out of business, where are you then?”
Again, with the assumption that people are all out to steal. As well as admitting you’re doing nothing to answer the real demands of fans. Giving a person a chance to fall for your creation is better than having your book out there without anyone even knowing your name.

The free model has been proven effective. Do you know your customers well enough to make it succeed for you is the question.

http://techdirt.com/articles/20091119/1634117011.shtml

February 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm
(37) lostphrack says:

We live in a world where it’s possible for lots of crimes to occur, that doesn’t mean the victims should be the one’s making the conciliatory gesture.

February 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm
(38) cwfgrtb says:

If taking down sites that pirate it is the answer, how long can you keep it up? How much can you afford to throw at it without seeing any progress all the while pissing off people that enjoyed your content.

A happy fan can be a loyal customer – what steps can you do to encourage that?

Example of closing / blocking a torrent site…

http://torrentfreak.com/blocked-pirate-bay-users-flock-to-other-torrent-sites-100216/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20Torrentfreak%20(Torrentfreak)&utm_content=Google%20Reader

February 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm
(39) cwfgrtb says:

And I’m not saying it’s the right and or wrong thing that is happening. I’m just saying the way material on the internet is viewed should be changed. Digital content is best viewed as a service, not a product.

Separately and together, the Internet, mobile telephony and iTV are opening up a range of value opportunities. Six key opportunities stand out (thanks to Jonathan Peachey of consultants Digital Public for input on this).

The first is localisation: the ability to access and receive information relating to where I am right now, such as services that inform me of restaurants, taxis or friends close by.
The second is personalisation and customisation: the ability to tweak information sources and services according to my personal circumstances and preferences.
The third is richness: an enhanced ability to access much more relevant and detailed information about the things that matter to me.
The fourth is rarity: the ability to access information that people on other channels and devices can’t.
The fifth is immediacy, such as text messages that alert me of events that concern me.
And finally is interactivity, which allows me to take part in conversations, events and processes in a way that adds value.
Step back and look at these emerging dimensions of new media value and you’ll quickly see they’re united by one theme: information as a service (as opposed to information as content or marketing message).

Information as a service helps me plan, organise, co-ordinate, administer, transact – in short, do all the things I want to do with less hassle and effort and in less time. As Calum Chace of KPMG’s media practice says, it’s about the triumph of context, where what really adds value is whether it’s the right information at the right time, at the right place, in the right circumstances, in the right form, via the right channel.

February 27, 2010 at 5:39 pm
(40) 7thoughts says:

@cwfgrtb

You are right on all your points, imo.

It was through seeing certain manga art online that I determined that I HAD to own that art and purchased the manga.

Many images from manga are fine art quality that I would be pleased to hang on my wall. In fact, I wish mangaka would sell original art from time to time. I would probably bankrupt myself to become a collector.

For the creative there are definitely many new potential sources of revenue to be pursued in the New WOrld.

(the online one)

February 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm
(41) cwfgrtb says:

Furthermore, it’s up to the publisher to see the value in their product getting exposure. If they play their cards right pirates can be allies.

If it’s going to happen anyway, why not make a business model to work in your benefit.

February 27, 2010 at 5:54 pm
(42) manga says:

Publishers are listening and are trying their best to respond to your requests. ShonenSunday.com, SigIkki.com, VIZanime.com, Funimation.com, Crunchyroll.com, Netcomics.com and eManga.com are trying to offer free or low-cost options to read manga and watch anime legally online.

I know i can never convince hardcore scanlation addicts to wean off their habit, but I urge you to support the legal online sites that are up and running now — because if these companies can make it work, then we’ll see more of it.

Publishers are trying to meet you halfway. The least you can do is try to support what they are trying to do for you.

February 27, 2010 at 6:07 pm
(43) Melinda Beasi says:

From LostPhrack: “We live in a world where it’s possible for lots of crimes to occur, that doesn’t mean the victims should be the one’s making the conciliatory gesture.”

I thought that was really well said.

From cwfgrtb: “If you were only in it for the money then maybe it could burn a bit.”

Seriously? Wanting to be paid fairly for hard work so that you can afford things like food, clothing, and shelter constitutes being “in it for the money”?? Artists (of all kinds) want to get paid for their work just like anyone else, because it costs the same for them to live as anyone else. Suggesting that this makes them shallow or violates some kind of altruistic ideal is deeply insulting.

February 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm
(44) cwfgrtb says:

@Melinda
Well those that sit back and wonder why piracy can’t be stopped and ruin their business because they don’t know how to adapt will – well, like businesses that fail to see trends, will disappear.

Those that can recognize where the market is heading will come out on top.

February 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm
(45) cwfgrtb says:

@deb
It’s a start, but still – you don’t fight piracy by going about it in a fashion that pirates will have you beat.

Hopefully someone in the offices out there will be willing to take a chance and put an end to piracy the only way possible – by making it redundant.

February 27, 2010 at 6:24 pm
(46) Melinda Beasi says:

@cwfgrtb:

I haven’t argued that publishers don’t need to find ways to adapt to the realities of online distribution (nor would I). In fact, I haven’t commented on that issue at all.

My purpose of my comment to you was to express disbelief and disgust over your statement that artists who wish to be paid fairly for their work are “only in in it for the money” (your exact words). There is no argument you can make that would render that statement as anything but insulting and inexcusably naive. My reaction to your statement stands.

February 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm
(47) cwfgrtb says:

@Melinda
yet comments from deb go:

“remember, if EVERYONE read the manga for free and the publishers go out of business, where are you then?”

It’s doing the same thing, making an assumption, that people are doing nothing but stealing.

Fans don’t like to be considered/treated as thieves (thus why people are highly against DRM) Yet publishers like to treat them as such. So using the same logic, shouldn’t a fan naturally have the same view of a publisher? – not saying I do, just saying this probably is a case with a lot of people.

However, if the creator created it for the soul purpose of making money (and nothing else) then that is indeed sad. That is in my right to believe so as well.

But still, you’re assuming artists are not getting paid for their work. Who is to say that through the finding of their work online they got a customer. That material online is working as a service to promote further purchases.

As well as seeing as the goods are an infinite one, previous business models of supply and demand work differently. The authors that recognize this and make an effort to answer the needs of fans will come out on top.

February 27, 2010 at 6:50 pm
(48) cwfgrtb says:

“@debaoki Wow, I’m regretting it though. It’s like talking to a wall. No, worse, because at least a wall does not talk back.”

So for one person to assume the worst of fans it’s not “insulting” nor “inexcusably naive”. But if the same is assumed of the way publishers treat fans it is?

Though yes, further going into insults is by far the easier thing to do. My bad~.

February 27, 2010 at 6:53 pm
(49) Melinda Beasi says:

“However, if the creator created it for the soul purpose of making money (and nothing else) then that is indeed sad. That is in my right to believe so as well.”

Sure. Except that’s not what you said. You said that the only reason an artist would be upset upon learning that their work has been distributed without their permission and without compensation is if they were “only in it for the money.” That is a very, very different thing.

If what you said is not what you meant, just say so, apologize, and move on. If you did mean it, then own it instead of trying to talk your way around it. Right now, you’re just making things worse by continuing to sidestep responsibility for your own words. Frankly, I suspect the reason you’re not defending your actual statement is because you realize that it is indefensible and you can’t bring yourself to admit it.

February 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm
(50) cwfgrtb says:

@Melinda

Er, that is exactly what I said. If they aren’t getting a kick out of people enjoying their work (be it uploaded without permission or not) and are more worried about the fact that they aren’t getting a piece of payment for the enjoyment of such material – then seeing that material on the web would and could be an inconvenience to them aka burn.

Putting them together -

“If you were only in it for the money then maybe it could burn a bit.”
and
“However, if the creator created it for the soul purpose of making money (and nothing else) then that is indeed sad.

There, saying the same thing – at least, to my extent of knowledge of the English language.

It ties into the whole “assumption” mess I’ve been talking about. Publishers (and even fans) assuming the worse of people.

February 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm
(51) Melinda Beasi says:

@cwfgrtb

I’ll apologize for expressing (to Deb) my exasperation over talking with you if in fact it actually hurt your feelings. You just let me know.

Word choice aside, however, it really is the truth. I’ve found this exchange exhausting because you have been consistently unwilling to respond to my actual complaint, but have instead pelted me with unrelated arguments. The experience has indeed been much like talking to a wall. A really talkative wall.

February 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm
(52) cwfgrtb says:

@Melinda
*shrug*
I see no difference in my comment – and Deb’s comment in assuming the worst (of opposite parties).

That aside, being called a wall isn’t insulting. It’s considering one assumption is OK over another that got under my skin.

February 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm
(53) Melinda Beasi says:

“Er, that is exactly what I said. If they aren’t getting a kick out of people enjoying their work (be it uploaded without permission or not) and are more worried about the fact that they aren’t getting a piece of payment for the enjoyment of such material – then seeing that material on the web would and could be an inconvenience to them aka burn.”

And I am disgusted by your suggestion that caring about being paid (again, something everyone else expects from their hard work, including you, I assume, if you in fact work) is tantamount to only caring about being paid. You’re holding artists to a different standard than every other working person on earth, and that’s insulting.

February 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm
(54) cwfgrtb says:

@Melinda
Again – it’s assumptions. Deb made an example that assumed that fans would rip off publishers to put them all out of business in the same way as I made an example that assumed all publishers/artists were in it *only* for the money.

And I state again – they are assumptions.

February 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm
(55) Beep Beep says:

>Okay, let me make this one thing REALLY clear: Reading manga for free in a library IS NOT PIRACY. Why? Because the library BOUGHT the book from the publisher. That means at some point, the comics creator got paid for creating the work, and approved how it’s presented, including the graphics, the translation, etc. I’ll say it again: If the book is in the library, the book was purchased and the artist got paid. Okay?

How do you think the pages get online in the first place? Someone purchased the actual work, scanned the pages, cleans them up, translates, and passes it on.The publisher got paid, which means at some point, the creator got paid for creating the work etc. etc. Okay?

If you don’t like that analogy, then is it pirating when you borrow a box set of DVDs from your friend, and watch them? Is that pirating too? You haven’t paid the publisher a cent.

I like how companies complain all the time, saying things like “WE’RE LOSING THIS MANY IMAGINARY DOLLARS THAT WE COULD’VE EARNED BECAUSE OF PIRATING”. The majority of people who pirate, would’ve never bought the product in the first place, if they wanted to, and/or could afford it, then they would buy it. If anything, the people who pirate spread it around, with word of mouth, to others who would buy the product.

>This is WHOLLY different than reading an unauthorized scanlation of a manga online, because 1) the manga is presented and distributed without the creators’ permission, and is read by many, many people who may or may not ever pay to buy the official version.

>is read by many, many people who may or may not ever pay to buy the official version.

Is the key phrase here. You’re thinking in imaginary dollars. The people who would not buy the official version, wouldn’t buy it regardless if they couldn’t get it online for free. The people that would buy it, they get exposed to the work, when they wouldn’t normally get exposed to it at all, and then they can buy it if they like it or not.

>So please, people. Don’t go on saying “what about libraries giving manga to read for free” argument ever again. It shows your ignorance of the publishing business, okay?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, okay.

Anyways, in conclusion, the publishing businesses are the ones that are the ignorant ones, and are too busy thinking about what money they COULD HAVE earned, rather than thinking about who is holding the money, and what they would pay for.

February 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm
(56) Beep Beep says:

>If you want to talk insulting, ask yourself how you’d feel if you spent years honing your craft as a comics creator, created a comic book, and someone translated it into Japanese without your permission, translated it horribly, and thousands of people read it and you didn’t get a dime. How’s that feel?

It depends. Did you work hard throughout all those years, just to make money? Or did you do it because you enjoy drawing, creating stories, and letting other people read them.

February 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm
(57) manga says:

i throw up my hands in despair. If this is what fandom is all about, then I sincerely hope that you never get paid for a day of work in your life.

February 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm
(58) Apple says:

But aren’t both points of view correct?

1. Artists should get paid.

2. There are ways in which piracy is beneficial to the artist. (Which is not to say that it is WHOLLY beneficial, but to say that is is not wholly detrimental, either.)

Take, for example, Fruits Basket. Amazing series, lived in the best seller charts, etc. I remember reading once upon a time that Tokyopop didn’t want to bring it over initially, but did finally after a couple of the editors were all like “HOLY SHHHHHT LOOK AT HOW POPULAR IT IS ONLINE.” So if not for piracy, Fruits Basket may not have seen a US release.

Which is not to say that piracy is perfect, or that it is even okay. But instead, maybe we should look at how (free) digital distribution can have a positive impact on reception, and ways that publishers can use it to their advantage.

February 27, 2010 at 8:10 pm
(59) cwfgrtb says:

@Apple
Exactly.

If the publishers make it legal – then it’s no longer piracy.

By taking the dive into free online digital distribution publishers can stop worrying about how to stop pirates, and start focusing on how to encourage the mass need for more content and goods from their IPs.

February 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm
(60) Kevin Melrose says:

“If you don’t like that analogy, then is it pirating when you borrow a box set of DVDs from your friend, and watch them? Is that pirating too? You haven’t paid the publisher a cent.”

The key word is “borrow.” You’re not copying the book when you check it out from the library, and you’re not copying the DVDs when you get them from your friend — you’re borrowing them.

February 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm
(61) Beep Beep says:

>Seriously? Wanting to be paid fairly for hard work so that you can afford things like food, clothing, and shelter constitutes being “in it for the money”?? Artists (of all kinds) want to get paid for their work just like anyone else, because it costs the same for them to live as anyone else. Suggesting that this makes them shallow or violates some kind of altruistic ideal is deeply insulting.

>If you were only in it for the money then maybe it could burn a bit.

Looks like you’ve completely misunderstood cwfgrtb’s comment. If they only cared about making money, then it would hurt. Most artists out there, aren’t drawing because they want to make millions of dollars. It’s because they want to make great pieces of art, and want everyone too see what they did, and if people like it, then they will pay for it. You’re acting as if all artists, are scrapping at the bottom of the trash for scraps of food, just because someone looked at their art, and didn’t pay for it. If they just wanted to make money, then they should probably look for another profession. If people like the work, then they will pay for it. Forcing someone to buy your art is a silly idea IMO.

>And I am disgusted by your suggestion that caring about being paid (again, something everyone else expects from their hard work, including you, I assume, if you in fact work) is tantamount to only caring about being paid. You’re holding artists to a different standard than every other working person on earth, and that’s insulting.

cwfgrtb didn’t say anything about it being wrong for artists to care about being paid, he/she stated that it was wrong for an artists to ONLY care about getting paid.

I’m not sure about you, but I for one hold artists to a different standard. IMO, true artists care more about spreading their art/ideas, rather than making money. Again, if they wanted to make money, then they should’ve decided on a different profession ( There are other jobs that you can do art in, and make money, Graphic Designer for one ).

>Sure. Except that’s not what you said. You said that the only reason an artist would be upset upon learning that their work has been distributed without their permission and without compensation is if they were “only in it for the money.” That is a very, very different thing.

>However, if the creator created it for the soul purpose of making money (and nothing else) then that is indeed sad.
>“If you were only in it for the money then maybe it could burn a bit.”
>created it for the soul purpose of making money
>only in it for the money

I don’t know what kind of english you’re speaking, but that sounds like the exact same thing to me.

>If what you said is not what you meant, just say so, apologize, and move on. If you did mean it, then own it instead of trying to talk your way around it. Right now, you’re just making things worse by continuing to sidestep responsibility for your own words. Frankly, I suspect the reason you’re not defending your actual statement is because you realize that it is indefensible and you can’t bring yourself to admit it.

This paragraph seems more like a personal attack, rather than adding anything to the discussion, and didn’t needed to be added on.

>I’ve found this exchange exhausting because you have been consistently unwilling to respond to my actual complaint, but have instead pelted me with unrelated arguments. The experience has indeed been much like talking to a wall. A really talkative wall.

Again, another paragraph plainly for the purpose of attacking cwfgrtb, simply because you misinterpreted what he/she was saying.

February 27, 2010 at 8:27 pm
(62) Beep Beep says:

>The key word is “borrow.” You’re not copying the book when you check it out from the library, and you’re not copying the DVDs when you get them from your friend — you’re borrowing them.

Nit picking. Also, you’re missing the point of that analogy. You’re still enjoying what ever work is being presented, without paying any of the publishers. Which is a point I stated numerous times through out my reply.

Borrowing from a friend/library to watch, and reading it online… It’s pretty much the same thing IMO.

Someone bought the original work in the first place, and there are others enjoying it without paying for it.

What difference does it make if someone decides to make a copy of it for themselves? If they were going to pay for it, then they would have done so in the first place.

It doesn’t matter if you’re borrowing it, or downloading it online either way, they’re not paying for it, and it’s unlikely that they will pay for an official copy, at least by giving them a chance to see, then there’s a chance, perhaps that they WILL be interested enough in the work to buy an official copy.

February 27, 2010 at 8:33 pm
(63) Kevin Melrose says:

“Nit picking. Also, you’re missing the point of that analogy. You’re still enjoying what ever work is being presented, without paying any of the publishers. Which is a point I stated numerous times through out my reply.”

It’s not nitpicking, as the violation of copyright is at the core of the argument about piracy. Borrowing/lending doesn’t violate copyright; making/sharing copies does.

February 27, 2010 at 8:38 pm
(64) William Flanagan says:

@Melinda @Deb
Your purpose in arguing with the serial downloaders is not to try to convince THEM that their piracy hurts the creators. They are not open to changing their minds It’s to talk past them to those who may be on the fence to convince them that the pirates arguments are simply rationalizations to justify not paying money for a product that *should* be worth paying for.

To those who think Deb said that all readers of Bleach are downloading it, she didn’t. You inferred it — just like some of you are accusing others of doing to your words.

To those who think that piracy does or can help the creator or industry, the reality doesn’t bear this out. There are some who would never have bought the item, and some who will buy the item after reading it for free online. But the focus of anti-piracy is not on either one of these two groups. It’s on the third group that would have bought the item except that they were able to read it for free online. This is by no means a small group of people. This group murdered the anime industry and is murdering the manga industry as well.

Am I saying that the companies should *only* fight piracy? No. But fighting piracy as part of the business strategy is both morally and economically the right thing for the creators and companies to do.

February 27, 2010 at 8:43 pm
(65) Beep Beep says:

>It’s not nitpicking, as the violation of copyright is at the core of the argument about piracy. Borrowing/lending doesn’t violate copyright; making/sharing copies does.

Right, borrowing a copy, isn’t the same as sharing a copy… Sure..

February 27, 2010 at 8:55 pm
(66) Beep Beep says:

>To those who think Deb said that all readers of Bleach are downloading it, she didn’t.

>”Before you get all self-righteous about how you’re standing up for Tite Kubo, ask yourself how many Bleach scanlations/fansubs you download. The sales lost to mass consumption of Bleach fansubs/scanlations hurts Tite Kubo far more than any half-assed Nick Simmons comic.”
> “It’s fine that you love Tite Kubo’s work & want to defend his honor — but while you’re at it, buy his damn books instead of downloading it.”

She may have not said, all, but accused a lot of the fans of just reading it online, while not paying for any official copies. ( Not that I disagree with her statement )

>But the focus of anti-piracy is not on either one of these two groups.

Focus of anti-piracy is to stop ALL of it, not some, and force those that do want to enjoy the product to buy it. So that they can get every single penny they can, for what ever they’re trying to selling ( Not that trying to make money is wrong, or anything, that’s what businesses are trying to do in the first place, but rather, IMO their business practices are flawed ). Not specifically target some group of people that MAY have bought the product if it weren’t available to them online.

>It’s on the third group that would have bought the item except that they were able to read it for free online. This is by no means a small group of people. This group murdered the anime industry and is murdering the manga industry as well.

I highly doubt such a small percentage out of the people who pirate things would be able to kill an industry, rather than a few businesses trying to continue on with flawed business practices. Again, the majority that DO pirate, do so because they can get it for free, and would not pay for it anyways. Some people are just cheap.

February 27, 2010 at 8:56 pm
(67) William Flanagan says:

>>It’s not nitpicking, as the violation of copyright is at the core of the argument about piracy. Borrowing/lending doesn’t violate copyright; making/sharing copies does.

>Right, borrowing a copy, isn’t the same as sharing a copy… Sure..

Sigh. When a library lends a physical book to a member, it is lending only one copy which is then returned, and the member no longer has it. The library also has records of who it lent the book to, and can track down the person is the book is not returned. The creators know and approve of this system.

When you put 1 copy of a book online, you are actually inviting people, as a part of the download process, to make a copy for themselves. So one copy suddenly becomes thousands. The creators also know of this system and disapprove of it.

The fact that you, personally, only receive one copy from both systems and are able to read it for free (to you), doesn’t make the two systems the same or even remotely equivalent.

February 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm
(68) Apple says:

@William

What I am proposing is that we (the creative community, and publishers) should give a shot at thinking outside the box. There is no way around piracy; people are going to do it. But let’s look at ways to work it to our advantage, beyond getting people to read something that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

For example, a lot of independent musicians are giving out their music for free download. Then, later, when they put on a show, people will think “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of them, let’s go hear them play.” They also make money from merchandise/CDs sold at shows (more than they would would see from record stores).

So let’s apply the same logic to manga. The artist releases their content for free digital distribution, but retains the right for print. They can then sell copies of their work, art prints, and merchandise online to people that would not have been exposed to their work otherwise. They can also tour conventions, selling their work there, and making a higher profit margin per item than they would see from publishers.

These are abstract ideas that haven’t been proven yet (except for certain webcomic artists that have made it work), but I would be interested in seeing more people try out this idea and how effective it is against fighting piracy.

February 27, 2010 at 9:10 pm
(69) William Flanagan says:

>Focus of anti-piracy is to stop ALL of it, not some, and force those that do want to enjoy the product to buy it. So that they can get every single penny they can, for what ever they’re trying to selling ( Not that trying to make money is wrong, or anything, that’s what businesses are trying to do in the first place, but rather, IMO their business practices are flawed ). Not specifically target some group of people that MAY have bought the product if it weren’t available to them online.

No, it is to target that group. The others are either already supporting the product or unreachable — and therefore a waste of time to target. The people who are unreachable — the publishers have already written off. The people who are purchasing the product — the publishers are grateful for their support no matter where they found out about the product. The group that is on the fence are the ones who the publishers hope to reach. The fact that everyone who wants to read for free a product that should be paid for is simply a happy biproduct.

I also know, for a fact, that the publishers sell their product for the lowest price that they can. If you think they’re raking in the profits hand-over-fist, your opinion is incredibly uninformed.

February 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm
(70) William Flanagan says:

@ Apple

I never said they shouldn’t try to think outside the box. As a matter of fact, nearly every one of them is desperately trying to. But as you can read nearly everyday, trying to make any sort of business model on the Internet work in any industry is a difficult proposition at best and a bankrupting proposition at worst.

The companies have to have fighting piracy as a part of their model. At the moment, there’s no choice.

February 27, 2010 at 9:18 pm
(71) William Flanagan says:

>The fact that everyone who wants to read for free a product that should be paid for is simply a happy biproduct.

Whoops, that should read:
The fact that everyone who wants to read for free a product that should be paid for are denied the chance is simply a happy biproduct.

February 27, 2010 at 9:34 pm
(72) Jennifer Balfour says:

I just can’t believe that Nick Simmons could get away with this. I am so mad at him because he did not notify the original artist before he made the comic to sell. I wont talk to him because of this.

February 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm
(73) cwfgrtb says:

@William Flanagan
I find the whole “Unreachable – waste of time to target” thing part of the flawed business models. Here we have the net, with great word of mouth. With a legal venture it could go even further. Team that up with a specific method to target the audience to where you want them to go – or targeting them through clever ads through the product you’re allowing to be distributed online, ads for products that can’t be “pirated”, then you have yourself a working business model.

Researching your name shows you have some major ties to publishers – see if they wouldn’t be willing to try out something with a series. Everyone is craving #s but none are making the effort to get them – nor playing the field in the right way that it’d work.

February 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm
(74) JessSeph says:

First off, I love the article because there is a 50/50 view. Kudos!

There is only a few issues I have with it and one if them is about fans reading and downloading. Yeah, its bad in some ways but here’s my biggest pet peeve about Anime/Manga in general- it is TOO EXPENSIVE and covered in a coat of sugary family friendly content!

I read scans of translated comics for many reasons. First off, the dialogue isn’t changed and all of the good stuff is left. Its amazing how parents have a problem of seeing the word ‘shit’ in a book. Yet, they probably say it at home all the time and the child probably hears it around peers all the time. Am I right? Lol.

As for downloading animation, if it wasn’t so darn expensive to buy horribly subbed anime then I wouldn’t have a problem buying it. I am not paying for $30.00 dvd of 3 episodes. I mean seriously, the good scenes and dialogue are mostly cut out and most episodes are fillers. Whats more hilarious is that I found a ton of Bleach, Death Note and Inuyasha dvds for sale at my local 99 cent store. That just shows how much they are really worth.

You know what I do buy though? Shirts, wallscrolls, action figures, statue busts, plush dolls, stickers, buttons, hats, stationary, etc. This is merchandise I can buy knowing its not complete crap. I can justify spending my money on these and still help my favourite series out.

But enough of the flaws on anime/manga, were talking about Nick here! HE claimed that he drew a majority of the comic, that it was HIS story. He is being harshly punished because he can be set as a example. Just as many celebrities have been set as examples before him. Its because people can look up to celebrity’s and rip them apart easily. Its like a ‘don’t do this, don’t do that because you will end up like so and so.’ I don’t have sympathy for him because the tracings were so obvious, but I just wonder how his family is taking in all of this.

Anyways, that’s my thoughts on the issue. Lets see how this plays out. He already logged into his Deviantart account and ran away without saying anything. Guilty feelings perhaps?

February 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm
(75) Apple says:

To add to cwfgrtb’s idea–
Case in point, the manga NANA increased sales of Black Stones, which are now banned in the states because they appeal to the same audience that read NANA (teen females).

There are mangas being paid to advertise products.

@William
There is at least one company that is using this idea to their advantage (VIZ), and so far it seems to be working out for them. They allowed people to read their “alternative” titles online for free, which exposed people to titles that they wouldn’t have read otherwise. I’m pretty sure this helped along print sales of the books, as well. It did from my point of view, although I have no numbers to back that up with, just observation.

February 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm
(76) Arun says:

>Connect with fans, give them a reason to buy. Stop expecting it.

I agree that we should be taking advantage of the new ways people obtain works. It’s the only way to really survive this new world where you don’t have to goto your local shop to buy your book/comic, or get it off the rack from the checkout line of the grocery store, etc.

However, placing the blame on the *author* is a bit ludicrous, as taken from the tone of your posts. There’s already an enormous investment in time, study (especially if you went to college to hone your skills), blood, tears, etc. in producing something of quality. They do attempt to make their livelihoods out of it, and anything you spend your time and passions on will require some dough to not only survive, but also enjoy your life. Everyone to some degree is ‘in it for the money’ no matter what profession they pursue- let’s not be blindly idealogical about this.

And obviously, to survive, you also have to learn to adapt to what your fans and others do. But asking them to rewrite the entire book on the comic business model in an instant is a bit of preaching from the pulpit, especially if they can’t manage financially while they’re trying to find that magic answer.

However I do agree with the general ideas present though. If the cash wants to really come in then there needs to be some other way of generating funds outside of just selling a book. The ‘reason to buy’ used to be that the content/art of a book/story interested you, and the only way to view it was to purchase it (outside of a library of course). Now that there’s plenty of ways to get your entertainment without paying for the work put in, funds come in from people who genuinely want to support the brand/author, possibly don’t know about scans, are just used to it, etc.

But now the ‘reason to buy’ has to ascend beyond simply creating a great story with great art. I’m sure models to do so will come out eventually, but let’s not get mad at the artists for instantly failing to ‘adapt’ :)

February 28, 2010 at 12:10 am
(77) William Flanagan says:

@ cwfgrtb
I’m not sure exactly what you would like me to say to them. I don’t have any groundbreaking ideas for how to make today’s environment a success for the translation companies. There is no real reason to work with pirates because from a knowledge base and technological standpoint, there is nothing the pirates do that the companies can’t do — and aren’t doing. The advantage the pirates have is that they need no contracts or approvals, and they work for prestige and not money. Those are two things the legit companies can’t do and survive.

@ Apple
I hope Viz has much transferrable success with test cases like Sig Ikki and Rinne, but I don’t expect it. And, at least for Sig-Ikki, I doubt that Viz does either. They want it. They probably started it with big hopes, but I doubt they’re betting the farm that it will work. Sig-Ikki (and before that, Signature, Editor’s Choice, Pulp, etc) were all done for the love of it — never expecting a big return. They would have welcomed a big return, but they went into it knowing it probably wouldn’t happen. Even so, there were some of those experiments that sold so badly, even love wasn’t enough to keep them afloat. I doubt that Sig-Ikki will be able to be held up as a commercial success when all is said and done.

February 28, 2010 at 12:23 am
(78) William Flanagan says:

@ cwfgrtb

Ah, on rereading your post, it seems your business model is to use the manga as an advertising vehicle for non-pirateable ancillary products. First, none of the publishers own the series. They have no rights but those specific and limited rights specified in the contracts. The creators expect the manga itself to make money and send the royalties back to them, and I don’t blame them since their manga makes money in and of itself in Japan.

I’m not saying it can’t work, but were I a Japanese creator, I wouldn’t want my series to be that experiment. Maybe somebody would be willing to bet their profits on it, but it would take a very special series of circumstances and alignments of the stars to make such an experiment happen.

Either way, I certainly don’t have the background, influence, or expertise to push such an idea on my bosses.

February 28, 2010 at 5:26 am
(79) cwfgrtb says:

@William
Well there’s bound to be some artist out there willing to take the chance. We’ll see though ^^.

Thank you for your insights!

February 28, 2010 at 6:45 am
(80) Areo says:

Good article; well written and taken from lots of sources with varying opinions.

On the other hand, I think the problem that most people from western cultures/(American) comic artists have with fanart (when they themselves are not the fans) is that they are looking at it from a western culture standpoint.

In Japan fanart and/or doujinshi are a way of promoting a series (manga or anime) through the most reliable representatives you could ask for: the fans themselves.

Don’t say that things are different in the US. They might be, to an extent. But at the same time, fanart and doujinshi are part of that cultural phenomenon. You can’t look at something and say it’s okay for half of it, but the other half is not morally upright. Especially when the original artists and publishers are fine with it.

As I, myself am not very eloquent, I’ve decided to cite a very good article by Simon from Icarus Publishing that says, far more clearly, what I’m getting at. http://www.icaruscomics.com/wp_web/?p=4319

February 28, 2010 at 8:28 am
(81) Erica Friedman says:

This conversation fascinates me, because it echoes every single other conversation on the topic that I’ve ever seen, with one persistent person claiming all sorts of benefits for piracy, like it helps promote a story, and publishers should work with them (not the other way around) in order to leverage what has already been proven to be a really unsuccessful model.

Giving people stuff for free and some of them might pay for it, ala Radiohead – or giving people stuff for free and if it becomes popular enough, then maybe you can make a case for printing it – ala SigIkki – hasn’t yet worked as a viable distribution model, because once you’ve given people something for free, they want it for free.

I’m a publisher and in the course of discussing licenses with several Japanese artists, they have unanimously stated that they loathe digital distribution. They don’t want their books read online, they dislike people who distribute their books digitally and in at least a few cases, demand that there is no electronic equivalent for the book. Because they know that once a thing is digitally available, someone will crack the device and steal the work.

One artist said to me, “I draw this story to be read on paper.”

Another told me that they put every line in place so that when people read it, it has a visual impact. Digital reproduction does not do that.

So, if the artists themselves hate and despise the noble fansubbers, who are only trying to help, what’s a publisher to do? Are we really supposed to give stuff away for free, just to get five more people who might want to buy it eventually, you know, when it’s on sale? That’s not a viable business model, but fans don’t really care about a viable business model. They keep saying that scans are “helping” the creators when, absolutely across the board there’s not a single iota of evidence to support that.

You’re right, cwfgrtb, scans spread the word of a series…to people who want to read stuff for free, with no concern about how the creator feels. The creators do not appreciate your “help.” If Kubo emailed you directly and said, “Please stop scanning my work. You’re stealing, not supporting me in any way,” would you stop?

To all those people who say that they don’t like the gaps between when volumes come out – even a top tier title in Japan, like One Piece only comes out one volume every 5 months. The fact that you want a book/chapter a month, but aren’t willing to buy the magazines that *do* run that series, is an indication that there’s no basis to your arguments about support.

February 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm
(82) Silly says:

Hey, Erica, aren’t you pretty close friends with those dirty thieves at Lililicious? They are pathetic, thieving pirates too, you know? Or are you excusing it in their case?
Isn’t that a bit of a double standard?

@Topic:
People who bash Simmons don’t necessarily know who he is. I’m european, for example. I never heard of the band he was supposed to be in. I don’t care, either. All I care for is reducing plagiarism, because plagiarism actually hurts real artists – just like piracy does.

Pretending that all the people bashing Simmons enjoy a celebrity witch hunt (when most aren’t American and thus have no idea who the heck he is) and/or are Bleash pirates (a lot don’t even like bleach) is pretty silly on its own.

I guess the japanese anthologies I buy are just illusions and that I saw the similarities just because I pretended I import them!

February 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm
(83) Kickerman28 says:

I agree with Erica. An online reader/fan translator/fan subber can argue the benefits of what they’re doing all they want ~ those arguments IN NO WAY, legally OR morally, override the rights of the copyright holders.

Let’s not forget what “copyright” means ~ the “right” to “copy”. Fan translators and subbers do NOT and have NEVER had that right in respect to the works they provide freely on the Internet. NO jurisdiction would ever uphold the idea of “perceived benefits to the original creators” or “I don’t like waiting too long” as being a valid argument for unauthorized individuals to hold the same Rights to intellectual property that morally and legally belongs to the original creators and copyright holders.

February 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm
(84) cwfgrtb says:

“@debaoki It is fascinating that your comments thread has one guy defending piracy. And it always does seem to be just one guy.”

Wait a sec, you think I’m trying to defend piracy? Uh, no? Where has any part of my comments say that I believe piracy should happen. I’m trying to get businesses to realize that trying to combat piracy by battling it on the net isn’t doing anything but making it worse. If they change their business model to what fans are wanting – access to manga for free on the net, then make a business model that supports this (From advertising to subscriptions) then who is to say it will fail? All i takes is a few people (artists) willing to try something new to see if it’s worth it or not.

And I state again – when the publishers agree to it – it no longer becomes piracy – and “pirates” with their “sharing” are actually allies with VERY good people skills advertising your brands and IPs for free.

February 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm
(85) cwfgrtb says:

It would be more beneficial to yourself and the future if you stop assuming everyone to be fighting for piracy. Here each one of my comments are trying to get businesses to try and work on something that will be successful – yet you pass me off as a pirate. For shame.

February 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm
(86) Deb Aoki says:

if you bothered to look, that comment you attributed to me from Twitter was said by someone else and was directed to me. so i didn’t say it — i only re-tweeted that statement. so you’re misquoting *me* in your recent comment. just wanted to point that out.

and you inferred that you’re that “one guy” — i didn’t. defensive much?

February 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm
(87) Deb Aoki says:

by the way, i find it quite telling that you prefer to hide behind a pseudonym when you’re making all these comments.

February 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm
(88) Areo says:

@ Erika Friedman “You’re right, cwfgrtb, scans spread the word of a series…to people who want to read stuff for free, with no concern about how the creator feels. The creators do not appreciate your “help.” If Kubo emailed you directly and said, “Please stop scanning my work. You’re stealing, not supporting me in any way,” would you stop?”

Personally, I read scanlations. But at the same time, I own more than 250 graphic novels bought from the actual publishers. Yes, even the series that I read online. Why do I do that? Because I know that the scanlation is an illegal distribution of the work in question and I feel it’s only fair to pay for something I use. Generally though, the series that I do read the scanlations for tend to just occupy space on my shelf while I go to read the scanlation; because it’s just that much better.

The thing with scanlations is that sometimes they translate the story more accurately than the official translation. And really, saying that everyone who reads scanlations want only to read it for free without caring how the creator feels is called stereotyping. Granted there are people who just read it because it’s free and honestly don’t care. But others read it because the official publishers take too long to put it out there. Look at where Bleach is in the Japanese manga and the American manga; it’s a huge difference.

Some (read as some, not all) companies edit the work (not so much manga, more so anime) so that it’s more suitable for a larger range of (western) readers/viewers. Those companies see the market range for “cartoons” as primarily little, 10-to-13-year-olds and translate as appropriate for that age group. Anime/Manga that are scanlated are kept for the older age group that can’t stand to see a story they like/love/admire being marketed to preteens and thusly censored.

Another thing which bothers me with official publications is that sometimes honorifics are dropped, and names, titles, etc. are changed. (Ex: Yachiru calling Kenpachi “Ken-chan” in the scanlated version of Bleach, is translated to “Kenny” in the official version. And how Orihime calls Ichigo “Kurosaki-kun” in scanlations and “Ichigo” officially.) It irks me because you can tell a lot of how characters relate to each other by how they address each other. Changing it loses a lot of unspoken information.

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