08 Jun, 2010


By: Michelle Smith

San Francisco, CA, June 8, 2010 – Today a coalition of Japanese and U.S. publishers announced a coordinated effort to combat a rampant and growing problem of internet piracy plaguing the manga industry. “Scanlation,” as this form of piracy has come to be known, refers to the unauthorized digital scanning and translation of manga material that is subsequently posted to the internet without the consent of copyright holders or their licensees. According to the coalition, the problem has reached a point where “scanlation aggregator” sites now host thousands of pirated titles, earning ad revenue and/or membership dues at creators’ expense while simultaneously undermining foreign licensing opportunities and unlawfully cannibalizing legitimate sales. Worse still, this pirated material is already making its way to smartphones and other wireless devices, like the iPhone and iPad, through apps that exist solely to link to and republish the content of scanlation sites.

Participants in the coalition include the 36 members of Japan’s Digital Comic Association, Square Enix, VIZ Media, TOKYOPOP, Vertical, Inc., the Tuttle-Mori Agency and Yen Press. Working together, the membership of the coalition will actively seek legal remedies to this intellectual property theft against those sites that fail to voluntarily cease their illegal appropriation of this material.

“It is unfortunate that this action has become necessary,” said a spokesperson for the group. “However, to protect the intellectual property rights of our creators and the overall health of our industry, we are left with no other alternative but to take aggressive action. It is our sincere hope that offending sites will take it upon themselves to immediately cease their activities. Where this is not the case, however, we will seek injunctive relief and statutory damages. We will also report offending sites to federal authorities, including the anti-piracy units of the Justice Department, local law enforcement agencies and FBI.”

The coalition stated that it has currently identified thirty sites targeted for action.

Participant members of the Digital Comic Association include: Akane Shinsha, Akita Shoten, ASCII Media Works, East Press, Ichijinsha, Enterbrain, Okura Shuppan, Ohzora Shuppan, Gakken, Kadokawa Shoten, Gentosha Comics, Kodansha, Jitsugyo No Nihonsha, Shueisha, Junet, Shogakukan, Shogakukan Shueisha Production, Shodensha, Shonen Gahosha, Shinshokan, Shinchosa, Take Shobo, Tatsumi Shuppan, Tokuma Shoten, Nihon Bungeisha, Hakusensha, Fujimi Shobo, Fusosha, Futabasha, France Shoin, Bunkasha, Houbunsha, Magazine House, Media Factory, Leed sha, Libre Shuppan

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including the popular monthly manga anthology SHONEN JUMP magazine, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and website at www.VIZ.com.


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1 | WC

June 8th, 2010 at 2:06 pm


In other words, it used to be such a small thing that they didn’t worry about it. Then sites started popping up that provided easy ways to not only share scanslations, but also become a scanslator or join/create a group of them.

It became so easy to do that it really became a thorn in their side, and now they’re doing something about it.

On the other hand, they’re forgetting that it’s free advertising and nets them a TON of fans that they would never have otherwise.

Let me put it this way: Without scanslation groups, I would NEVER have gotten into manga, and the same on the anime side. Now, I have 4 bookshelves of manga and another shelf with anime. All legit.

They’re going too far and shooting themselves in the foot, here.

2 | Michelle Smith

June 8th, 2010 at 4:05 pm


I think scanlations have changed a lot in the past couple of years. I’m sure they definitely played a part in introducing manga to Americans and creating fans who would later go out and support the industry. But there’s a new crop of fans these days who’s accustomed to getting it all for free. When a website posts millions of monthly hits, but physical editions of manga aren’t selling at anywhere near those levels, there is definitely a legitimate problem.

From their article, it really does seem like they’re going to be taking aim at the aggregator sites and leaving the groups themselves alone. For now, at least.

3 | Kate

June 8th, 2010 at 11:56 pm


One of the questions is, are they really losing sales over this? I suppose they assume that they are, but… how many of the people who read scanlations would buy the actual manga?

I agree that something needs to be done, but I think they’re going to find that this is probably the wrong way to do it. It didn’t really do the RIAA any good.

I love manga and I don’t read scanlations, but there’s no way I can spend that much money on as much manga as I might otherwise buy were it less expensive. Obviously there is a market for e-manga in a convenient format. I might even consider buying an ebook reader if there was some of it available — why haven’t they released their back catalog in electronic format for 1.99? That’s what I want to know. I’m not saying they’re going to get a lot of scanlation readers, but they might get -some-, and that’s the best they can really hope for here.

4 | Michelle Smith

June 9th, 2010 at 10:59 am


How many of the people who read scanlations would buy the actual manga?

Yeah, that’s the real question. Some publishers (like DMP) have released titles for the Kindle and have made titles available on their website. TOKYOPOP made mention of doing something similar a while ago, but it hasn’t happened yet. I guess they’re working on it, but there are obstacles we don’t know about.

In one of the articles about this coalition, the author asserted that iPhone apps for the scanlation aggregators were the reason that some legitimate publishers’ apps got rejected as duplicate services. I don’t know whether that’s true, of course.

5 | Erika

June 9th, 2010 at 3:18 pm


I saw this and can agree that scanlations are a problem, but also the price they charge for manga is a bigger problem. Come on, most are 9.99 or higher. Sure you can go on Amazon and get deals, but it is still a lot of money for something that takes 30 minutes to read. Do I buy manga, YES. Do I read scanlations, YES! I often want to read into a series before investing funds to make sure I really want it. I am very broke these days and to spend money on books, any kind of book whether manga or a good paperback, is a very big decision. If they did offer manga electronically like on the Kindle, I would be buying the Kindle since I love to read. I am also mad at the industry since many of my series were just dropped and never finished, plus they license something that takes years to come out if ever. They need to not just blame the scanlators but look at what they are doing wrong.

6 | Michelle Smith

June 9th, 2010 at 9:06 pm


The thing is… the reason series get dropped and never finished is that not enough people buy them. Maybe they read them online and decided they didn’t really want it. That affects everyone, ultimately.

7 | Rocky

June 12th, 2010 at 9:31 pm


I have one question. if they do take such action where like the FBI is involved. Are they going to just shut down sites or go after members of those sites. I am just worried that they are making a big deal of this. There are other ways to control to the spreading of free mangas.

8 | Michelle Smith

June 12th, 2010 at 10:47 pm


The details of what actions they plan to take haven’t been discussed. I think this is sort of a “shot across the bow,” if you will, warning folks that they might want to consider voluntarily shutting down before repercussions ensue. That said, I figure the sites will be the target, not the users.

9 | Rocky

June 13th, 2010 at 12:54 pm


Thank you Michelle Smith. And i agree with u. There are so many mangas that have great artwork but no story. And if i did buy such manga. than that would have been waste of money. After reading them online, I found out weather i like one mang or not.