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Japanese publishers to sue U.S. firm over manga piracy


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"All the profits made from those manga piracy sites go straight to their illegal operators, with nothing going to the bookstores, publishers and manga artists who have dedicated their lives to creating these works," he told AFP.

Do these publishers make it easier for people outside Japan to get manga?

"We must put a stop to piracy sites in order to protect the Japanese culture of manga."

They must stop blaming piracy, while those publisher not doing good job in making those manga available aboard. All they do just blaming piracy all the time.

25 ( +43 / -18 )

Ha! Busted!

-18 ( +5 / -23 )

The saddest thing is these companies are worth millions of dollars the creator of the Manga may make a decent amount once famous but these publishing companies are notorious for paying next to nothing to the illustrators doing much of the work.

They do this by dangling what is often false hope the illustrators original works will get published.

These illustrators are paid for piece work many barely making enough to pay the rent where the work from home.

Piece work in most other industries have long been either stopped by the industry itself or by laws.

Before complaining about piracy perhaps they should clean up their own sad industry.

25 ( +41 / -16 )

The Japanese never learn. The music industry did the same and virtually killed jpop globally.

-2 ( +31 / -33 )

All good points above. Japanese artists and creators are behind the curve, allowing themselves to be owned by big publishers. I am surprised that very few of them even know what an NFT is - and it's their ticket to freedom and a great income if they make manga that people want to read. Go direct to your readers and get paid, or go through these companies and get shafted.

6 ( +20 / -14 )

Maybe if Japanese manga publishing companies offered online subscription based manage reading website/app services there would be less piracy. Generally, a lot of fans who pirate anime/manga would gladly pay to support their favorite franchises if the service for reading online was available.

16 ( +25 / -9 )

Sue those US manga pirates and get every penny out of them..

-22 ( +6 / -28 )

Ever heard of the game Whack-a-Mole? The music/movie industries tried similar tactics and look what eventually happened to them.

7 ( +19 / -12 )

Japan has no choice but to look overseas for ways to make money since Japan is having a rather difficult time being innovative. Going after cartoon sharing people is their only opportunity to get some cash back to Japan, Inc.. It's going to be a hard sell but if Japan has no choice, it's better to try this than to go hungry I guess.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Where have these companies been for the last 20 years?

are they new?

Adapting. Look into it.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

I am surprised that very few of them even know what an NFT is

Since it's a ponzi scheme designed to part the gullible from their money, this is probably a good idea.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Since it's a ponzi scheme designed to part the gullible from their money, this is probably a good idea.

Ponzi schemes use US dollars and other currencies as well. Try learning about NFTs rather than just swallowing the fake news. They are a godsend to artists and other creators.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Netflix is the model these publishers need to follow. Prior to Netflix, illegally downloading content was easier than buying it. People didn't feel good about doing it, but it was so much easier.

Even today, 30 minutes after a movie/TV show finishes, there is an online version in 1080p/4k with 5.1 DD+ audio, all commercials removed, ready for free (illegal) download. There will always be a subset of people unwilling to pay anything. Not much really can be done, especially with audio files or images, since getting everything for the last 20 yrs would take someone less than 15 minutes of time online.

But Netflix made it possible, and relatively convenient, for people to be legal and have access to the content they wanted for a price they were willing to spend.

Before Netflix, the movie houses had a $80/month plan which was DoA for everyone except the super wealthy. Sure, the audio and video quality was much higher, but not everyone cares about that. "Good enough" is all they want for 1/10th the cost.

Disclosure: I was a Netflix DVD subscriber for a few years, but have never been a Netflix streaming subscriber. The Netflix DVD catalog was huge, perhaps 100x larger than what they offer to stream and because it was DVD, the access rights never end. The USPS changed their mail delivery for Netflix which added days each direction, which nearly halved the value of the subscription, so we canceled.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

I didn't see any of them complaining when the "My Hero Academia" film was a surprise hit in the US.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Suing over piracy about manga & anime where the protagonists are pirates and soldiers attempting to bring down titans by using their own powers against them:

- “One Piece" and "Attack on Titan," -

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

So hypocritical! - And what if the four titans themselves, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa devouring the creators, artists and ‘slaves to the machine’:

“All the profits made from those manga piracy sites go straight to their illegal operators, with nothing going to the bookstores, publishers and manga artists who have dedicated their lives to creating these works," he told AFP.” -

5 ( +13 / -8 )

An effort is done to publish abroad more artists and soon an English version through app etc.

However, usually on each manga, 5% of the price is going to the mangaka....only 5%!!! And assistants of mangaka are fully paid, including lunch, by the mangaka himself!

For such hard work, permanent pressure, responsabilities, 5% is totally unfair. That's why many mangakas are trying to escape or escapted to such system set since decades. Some of them prefer to publish at comiket, other online, and some famous mangakas bought copyright of their works to their previous publishing company. The best example are Hojo Tsukasa (City hunter) and Hara Tetsuo (Fist of the north star) running away from Shueisha, getting back copyrights of their own works and launching their publishing companies Bunch comics to be finally FREE and obviously paid fairly!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So behind the curve Japan...."piracy" is out the bag and there is no putting it back into what it was before...the internet has changed that. Artists should ditch these dinosaur publishers anyway and distribute their content themselves. Embrace the new technology instead of pining for the old way. These publishers are putting themselves across as defending the artists but actually they've had them over a barrel for years, they are only interested in defending THEIR profit.....the artists now don't need such companies. Plenty hosting sites that the artists can deal with direct and keep the profits of their work.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I think it has to be determined how the piracy site was profiting. Were they selling digitized versions of the manga or was it all ad revenue from traffic? How can the publishing companies determine the amount of lost revenue if there's no guarantee the pirates would buy the products without easy access in the first place? (Domestic pirates vs. international pirates)

There are a lot of e-book versions of manga now, but are they translated into other languages fast enough to out-pace scanlation groups? Maybe the publishing companies should go for a global approach to reach the billions of potential consumers around the world instead of just focusing on the 125 million people in Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Piracy,  Infringement, and Copying has long been a problem and Japan had it fair share of doing it, from Automobiles, to motorcycles, to Cameras, to washing machines, CNC machines, CPU processors and more, so just look in the mirror first.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Why not join Cloudflare and make even more money instead of fighting in courts, it a win win situation

3 ( +10 / -7 )


Not only to the original artists I'm afraid...


Again, these are the things that happen in a brand new space. There are kinks that need to be worked out. This is an echo of early Bitcoin news. It was a "scam," etc. The usual assault on revolutionary technologies that threaten established and powerful interests.

NFTs, working with laws on IP protection, will provide much stronger protection for artists than the current system. And as always, when there is a new technology, the media runs with these scare stories. Look past them and see the potential, or get left behind. That is my message to artists I work with, Many already get it.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

"We must put a stop to piracy sites in order to protect the Japanese culture of manga."

..which we refuse ti sell outside Japan creating a black market to begin with"

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

They must stop blaming piracy, while those publisher not doing good job in making those manga available aboard. All they do just blaming piracy all the time.

That's along the lines what I usually write under such articles. If people would not buy their manga anyway (too expensive to import in some parts of the world, they don't speak Japanese, etc.), how are they losing money? This has been ongoing for ages now but it doesn't seem like anything has changed at all. Most of the times I just read about them complaining that someone else is profiting from filling a void they are unwilling to fill themselves. People absolutely should pay for the content they access but for that you have to give them the option.

Also concerning paying people, it would also be nice to pay the people actually creating those pieces better. I've heard about a dormitory project for animators a few years back that provided a cheap place for animators to live since they earn so little. From the GoGetFunding page of the project:

According to a 2015 survey conducted by JAnicA , the average monthly salary for an animator in their 20s is around ¥90,000, making the yearly salary about ¥1,100,000.

*¥90,000→about $800

*¥1,100,000→about $10,000

It is not uncommon that the monthly salary for the first year animator is less than ¥30,000.

*¥30,000→about $270

The reason why the earnings are drastically low despite of the hard labor, overtime work, and long working hours, is because in most cases, animators are hired and paid according to the piece-work system.

Sure, that's about animators but I'd expect that it's not much better for the small fishes involved in the creation of the manga either.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First of all, Cloudfare IS NOT a hosting company. Pirated material is hosted somewhere else while Cloudfare provides CDN (buffering of the data closer to the consumer), and DNS (pointing to the servers where web sites are hosted). It is almost like pressing charges against phone book publisher because drug dealers are inside and against the post office because they delivered the drugs which were in the package.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Isn't it time to leave the comics behind once we graduate from grade school? Pursuing this hobby into adulthood is so immature.

I guess you don’t watch Marvel, since they were originally comics.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Maybe Caterpillar should sue Komatsu.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And if they win they get their manga back from the pirates. lol

No, really, I don’t understand why they not just try to better secure their artwork, using pre-payment, secured websites etc. Or is it just a false flag, pretending it’s rare and super popular and even object to widespread piracy, to promote it a bit while in reality nobody really cares about it so much overseas?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Manga artists don’t even get royalties. This industrybis just messed up and only the shareholders of these publishers gets to benefit from the sales.

You know what they tell the artists when their work gets a little popular but don’t get royalties? “This is good for your career as you will be famous”. Meanwhile, the publishers are swimking in cash. The artist is homeless.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Did you know that Shueisha has an app called "MANGA Plus" that delivers the latest stories in multiple languages for free as soon as they are released in Japan?

It's available in English, Spanish, Thai, Indonesian, Portuguese, and Russian.

These contents are something that Japanese people have to pay to read, but foreigners read them for free.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Manga artists receive a 10% royalty.

And Manga artists have expressed outrage over piracy.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I'm confused because there are so many supporters of pirated editions. The Japanese anime and manga industry hates Westerners so much that they don't actively engage in overseas business. Most of the sales in the Japanese anime and manga industry are in Japan, so it can't be helped.

Japan : Stop pirated

Western : Then, prepare a site that we can legally watch.

Japan : Why does Japan have to act towards Westerners? Japanese anime and manga are not produced for Westerners.

This loop is repeated.As mentioned earlier, Japan doesn't care about Western customers because most of the profits of Japanese anime and manga are in Japan. What they do in the West is always about piracy and copyright. Just as people who are crazy about Japanese culture are called weaves, people who are crazy about Japanese anime and manga are called thieves in Japan.

In recent years, Japanese anime and manga culture has become very popular in the West, but it is ironic that Japan, its base, hates Western anime and manga fans.lol

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I mean, there is obviously a market for manga online.

The problem is that to get officially sanctioned manga in English in a timely manner is just way too slow. If these companies were smart, they would set up a Netflix-like service for fairly cheap and pay for fan-translators who typically do it for free to do it for them legitimately and for cash. If the fan-translators can get paid to do it, even a small amount, it would dry up freely available translations.

If it was “all you can read” for like 5 bucks a month I might be interested, otherwise what’s the point when I can just go to the bookstore for free.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A vast majority of Manga scanalations I read online are ones that never got officially translated and published in my country. Meaning the Manga publishers aren’t losing any money on them. I think they should focus on making it less risky for them to publish more of there Mangas in different languages.

I’d recommend for any manga that isn’t popular enough to normally warrant international publications, that they translate & publish them online only, and for a cheap per manga cost, or for a subscription service. That way they don’t have to worry about the risks of overprinting books to where they don’t sell all of them.

And let’s be honest, the people who read manga scanlations online are used to not pay anything, so the only chance to get them to pay for it is it is super cheap.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"All the profits made from those manga piracy sites go straight to their illegal operators, with nothing going to the bookstores, publishers and manga artists who have dedicated their lives to creating these works,"

Just a moment, didn't they earlier say that:

*Piracy sites, where copies of graphic novels are distributed *for free

So the piracy sites do not make any money, therefore what profits are the publishers talking about?

0 ( +2 / -2 )


Do you know affiliates?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan detests competition.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

In the field of advertising and promoting Japanese culture and media abroad, Japan unfortunately sucks. Here I must give the advice: Follow Korea, make Japanese media products available abroad - widely! Korea produces local dramas and movies, also targeted at the international audience. They carry two entertainment TV programs around the world free to watch with subtitled segments from national TV. Japan has nothing like this, NHK World is rather a special culture channel and if there's an entertainment channel like TV Japan, JSTV or NHK Premium, it costs a fortune to subscribe and still it's not really made for the international audience. Make those productions like TV, music and manga available to the international consumer, not just a small selection. Embrace the international market, offer online subscriptions, get out official translations to mangas, if done electronically, people could even switch between Japanese and their language, bringing more people to become interested in Japanese. Then those piracy servers won't need to exist. What are you currently losing with pirated manags not available abroad? Open up to the world, see the opportunities.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

They think Naruto or Samurai X would have been popular in other countries without these pirates? That's cute.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Manga artists receive a 10% royalty.

No they're not. That's only true for mangaka's of super famous manga. Common artists are paid per page.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

it's disgusting to see how many people is defending piracy in the comments... you can read the mangas for FREE on Manga Plus and Shonen Jump. if you love the author's works, why don't you support them? this is not love, it's disrespect, theft and ILLEGAL

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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