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New Poll - Scanlation Ethics
One of our site admins, Toto, suggested this poll. It's a question of whether you think it's morally or ethically wrong to scanlate. This isn't about the legitimacy of scanlations.

On another note (this will probably never be a poll question) but is it morally/ethically wrong to pirate music, movies, games, and/or software? Even if the said thing you are pirating is not sold in your country and/or is not in your native language? Where would you draw that moral line?

You can submit poll ideas here (and try to keep them manga/anime-related):

Previous Poll Results:
Question: How do you like your manga?
Hot and steamy - votes: 2233 (20.8%)
Cold, salty, and/or teary - votes: 469 (4.4%)
Spicy and exciting - votes: 2924 (27.2%)
Medium with a bittersweet aftertaste - votes: 1185 (11%)
Chewy and necessary to ponder over - votes: 1156 (10.7%)
Sweet and heartfelt - votes: 1977 (18.4%)
Quick like a sugar rush - votes: 207 (1.9%)
Hard and blunt - votes: 464 (4.3%)
Bland and typical - votes: 139 (1.3%)
There were 10754 total votes.
The poll ended: September 8th 2012

I dislike spicy foods. Tongue can't handle it. (And that comment has nothing to do with the poll results)
Posted by lambchopsil on 
September 8th 1:32am
Comments ( 80 )  
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Comments (limited to first 100 replies)

» sophie0 on September 8th, 2012, 1:45am

I voted "no", but I would like to add the caveat, "as long as it isn't for profit".

As for reading and downloading and pirating stuff, I'd say it isn't wrong if there isn't any other option. Like, if I don't have the option of obtaining something legally (and for a sensible price - that goes for out of print books, for example) I don't think it's morally/ ethically wrong if I pirate it. The condition I set for myself, at least, is that as soon as it does become available I do have to obtain it. (Although whether I do or not does depend on whether I like it - I won't buy every manga I've read the scanlation of, obviously. But in that case I'll only have read the manga once and for me that's like having borrowed the book from a friend. If I like it, I buy it.)

If I download something instead of paying for it - even though I could pay for it - it's stealing. Which is morally and ethically wrong, in my opinion. Although I would like to add that I'm not so deluded as to believe that every download equals a lost sale.


» TRMshadow on September 8th, 2012, 2:25am

This poll topic is undoubtedly going to be a hot topic!

I vote "no" but it isn't really a stern "no" but a soft "no." When it comes to series like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece (or most any popular SJ work for that matter) where high quality and relatively affordable copies are easily available, I don't think that scanlators are essentially in the clear.

Other cases like with Emma (Mori Kaoru) where the only way to get the series is by paying 30-50$ for a volume, it is just crazy to expect fans to pay for that. For me, it all depends on the series I guess...


» JustPassingBy on September 8th, 2012, 3:05am

Definitely yes. I think scanlating a chapter of a manga is definitely morally wrong, assuming:
1. The chapter that is being scanlated has already been published.
2. It is still available (i.e. not out of print or something like that).

Note that I am talking about chapters. Stuff like the popular WSJ manga do not satisfy the assumptions above and I do not think it is morally wrong to scanlate them, considering how long the publishers had time to establish a business model which publishes the weekly chapters at the same time as in Japan, yet failed to do so.
I do think that the scanlated chapters should be removed once the volume is out though.


» sarah-eats-cupcakes on September 8th, 2012, 10:01am

i also think it is morally wrong...OFCOURSE ITS WRONG regardless of whether the scanlators are making profit or not
the only reason i bought not simple and SAKURAZAWA Erica's manga is because they're not scanlated...i definitely wouldnt have bought them if they were available on the internet in english

i only recently found a good manga store that has a huge variety of manga(not just the popular mainstream stuff) but i would have to drive about 200 km to reach it...not only that but since they dont get many copies of every series, they run out of stock quickly. BUT STILL that doesnt make it ok for me to read manga on the internet, i admit that what im doing is wrong because i can still buy them online if i really wanted to

i imagine there are a lot of people like me who wouldnt buy manga if it was scanlated which means that the mangaka are not getting their well deserved profit, which therefore leads to my conclusion that scanlating manga is morally wrong


» sophie0 on September 8th, 2012, 10:11am

Well, no - sorry, but that reasoning is faulty. Because in this case you're looking at what you are doing with the scanlations. That has nothing to do with whether scanlations itself are morally wrong or not.

What is a scanlation? Well, people take someone else's work and scan them - but then they make it available for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to read it. And they don't do it for profit (or shouldn't, anyway), but so they can share the awesomeness that is said work.

The condition for this to be "right" rather than "wrong" is that it's something that wouldn't be available otherwise. And the scanlation teams whose work I read always appeal to their readers to buy the work as soon as it becomes available, and they cease distribution when it becomes licensed etc. If someone is doing that - that is, doing their best to make sure that people will buy and support the manga they're scanlating rather than just freeloading it - I find it impossible to say it's morally wrong.


» sarah-eats-cupcakes on September 8th, 2012, 11:02am

Quote from sophie0
Well, people take someone else's work and scan them - but then they make it available for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to read it.

well if you're talking about manga that wasnt published in english legally...then i guess i should remind you that publishing companies are now probably aware of the effect of scanlations on the manga industry...i dont think they would be dumb enough to start translating a manga that is already available to the public on the internet


» sophie0 on September 8th, 2012, 11:18am

Actually, I think the opposite is the case. In my country, on the publisher's message boards there are threads dedicated to "which manga would you like us to publish", and I doubt they think their readers are basing their decisions on wikipedia entries. The people I know who read scanlations always buy the translated work once/if it becomes available, and I for one always hope for the scanlated stuff I like to become licenced, because I want to own it, I want to recommend it and I want to give it to my friends. In my opinion, most scanlations work *for* the publishers, not against them.


» Kitteh_13 on September 8th, 2012, 9:15pm

Here's the deal:
When I'm looking for something to read I RARELY take a gamble.
Especially when it comes to manga. It's expensive to play russian roulette.
If I see something new on the shelves I usually check it out online first.
I don't like it? I stop reading it altogether.
I like it? Start buying the series and drop the scanlations.

Most current published works gained a following online first before being published.
When these works are published the publishers instantly have a "built in audience"
It's the same reason why every single movie made these days is based off of a book or is a sequel.

Although not EVERYONE will buy the release, they at least know that SOMEONE will.
Many people PREFER hard copies, some people are collectors.
Most Publishers now a days do an excellent job with translations and graphics as well. eyes

When Luv Luv Press came they began releasing stuff never scanlated before they absolutely BOMBED. No one wanted to risk buying something they had never heard of, from authors they never heard of.

Some of my favourite series became HUGE due to scanlations before becoming wildly popular through english publishers.
IE: Vampire Knight, Maid-sama, Shinobi Life, Dengeki Daisy (I apologize for my obvious shoujo bias)

And even if not one person from the online community buys the series, there are plenty of people who don't read online who will buy it. Because large interest online shows that english people in general are interested.

Tl;dr you're wrong.


» kyashi39 on September 19th, 2012, 9:57pm

this comment, i totally agree.


i think it's NOT morally or ethically wrong to scanlate.
as long as the main purpose for scanlators to do it,
is to SHARE it to public...and not to profit from it. bigrazz
ALSO, because certain manga is mostly not popularly-known
AND of course, not yet PUBLISHED to any language aside from its origin.

it really helps a lot to help certain unknown/new manga
to get known by larger number of readers
it determines if it can get viewers/buyers enough
for english publishers to take these titles or not. wink


» Unknown on September 9th, 2012, 11:00pm

Post Deleted


» SinsI on September 8th, 2012, 3:11am

Absolutely "no" - as long as you don't take money for it. Spreading the joy of something you liked (otherwise, why waste the effort?) is good for both author (he has a chance to get new fans that might buy that published material) and society. Otherwise, we might as well close all public libraries that have that "published material".


» connerity on September 8th, 2012, 3:26am

Most difficult poll/topic ever.

I voted no, but I don't think it applies to all scanlations.
Things like one piece, naruto, bleach, etc. are all widely available in many different languages.
However, for me, the delay is not acceptable.
If I had a way to get a physical copy of a (for example) translated WSJ in less than a week after it hits japan, I'd buy it. I wouldn't even be picky about the language, it can be german, english, french or spanish, I'd be fine with all of them.

There are a lot of mangas I've read that will never see the light of day outside of japan, so scanlations are needed for them.

About the pirating: People who pirate stuff wouldn't buy it in the first place, anyways. If anything, it increases sales from people who want to buy it after pirating.


» Dionaea on September 8th, 2012, 1:58pm

I completely agree. Scanlations are necessary for some manga because they simply won't get published and the delays are just awful sometimes... I opted for learning Japanese to get around this, but it's gonna take a while for me to be able to read anything decently. X( I see scanlations as a way to 'try before you buy', like flipping through a book in a bookstore. Nobody is crazy enough to blind buy an expensive item they can hardly even afford. Yeah, I have a large 'illegal' collection of manga, but a large part of that collection is on my wishlist to buy. Now I just need to find a job and get money to spend, being fresh out of college in this economy is no fun. -_-'


» nowyat on September 8th, 2012, 3:58am

Absolutely no, in the case of manga, because it's 99% of the time leading to the author making, rather than losing money. It's different from say movies or music. We are the most devoted of viewers, and I am of an age to buy what I read or watch, if it's available in English. It's not available until translated at all, so it's a separate market requiring extra work. Most mangakas never expected to have overseas fans, or to be published in other languages. If I was an author I'd be happy to see my work getting exposure. Technology is changing so fast, that things like language barriers and publishing hardcopy limitations will someday disappear, hopefully. How we receive manga may change in amazing ways, (and how it's created). I believe there are companies attempting to bring the online scanlating talents into their businesses.

I know that younger readers will be happy to buy their favorite mangas when they become members of the working world. Manga isn't something you grow out of. I buy ALL the mangas I read that are even halfway decent and available, and I bet a lot of other people do too. Sometimes it's like one cent for the book and 3.99 for shipping, so it's an affordable hobby to start. Manga lovers love the book and the umm.. digital manifestation. I wouldn't have purchased any of my ten foot long filled bookshelf, if I hadn't read them first online. (Sometimes I take a chance and buy a manga I haven't already read and it only occasionally works out.) So thank you scanlaters. I love and adore you. I've dropped a load of money on this hobby and would buy ten times more if the things I wanted were available. If I hadn't found it first on the internet, I wouldn't have had any idea manga even ever existed. Sorry for being so enthusiastic about this. (jeez, I sound like such a nerd, but I'm a heartfelt nerd...) The shocking cost of Kindle books and the inability to read manga on Kindle are another issue.

P.S. Now that the public is getting tired of super-hero movies, it's only a matter of time till Naruto, DeathNote or FMA becomes a Hollywood blockbuster... Then they will make their money back in spades. Plus, I am excited to try some of the pay-to-read manga sites. I've heard about them but haven't found a good one yet.

P.P.S. The most I ever paid for a paperback manga was 65 dollars plus shipping. But I HAD to have it. There are a couple mangas I would pay 150 dollars to own, if I could ever get them, but can't. How long will the book and magazine, as we knew them, even be with us before technology renders it obsolete? How long before translation engines become sophisticated enough to instantly translate manga? Scanlating is so cumbersome but it could all be done instantly in the sci-fi future!


» caitnap on September 8th, 2012, 5:42am

I vote for "no",as long as it's not for money

Reason i consume pirated stuff:

Most of the manga I read here is not avaiable in my country,most of manga/novel that has "fanservice" /mature content is not allowed. many of newer manga at least has fanservice.... that say a lot of manga is not published in my country,like: ubel blatt , dance in vampire bund, etc.
*insert rude word* all those fanatic religion follower who will throw a massive protest to almost about anything that offend their religion, sadly that's the majority of the people living in my country

I have very limited budget for luxury things such as games,manga,books (novel), so I am not likely to buy things I don't really really like, the publisher gain/lose nothing from people such as me, who often not buying whether I like or not due to budget. If there is a pirated version, then that's fortunate and I thank them, but if not well, it's not like I will buy them either...

I DO BUY occasionally when I have save up the money for manga that I truly love and would want to keep. I will buy more when I do earn my own money.


» Wargumm1i on September 8th, 2012, 5:45am

I would have voted both, since I would vote "no", since there are people who cant get there hands on the manga to buy it or even order it. And "yes" to the people who live not to far from the next comic store that has the series they read for sale!


» thevampirate on September 8th, 2012, 6:23am

the question is about distributing and scanlating not the readers. personally i think it is not immoral or ethically wrong despite being illegal. If the companies that obtained the licences had half a brain they could either shutdown scanlation on a massive scale and force scanlators back to IRC and other hard to find places. so if they're too lazy to even make an effort to shut down scanlation then they really must not be that affected by it enough anyways.


» julia36 on September 8th, 2012, 7:25am

Morally, no. Legally, yes.


» Cessc on September 8th, 2012, 7:41am



» legowaffles on September 8th, 2012, 7:44am

This, in my opinion is a bad question.

As the true answer depends on multiple different variables:

Is it for money? Is it currently being Translated to <insert your language here>? How far behind are the official (if any) translations? As well as others I am missing.

In the case of manga/manwha/light novels/what have you, being scanlated and distributed for money, then it is definitely wrong regardless of any other answers.

In the case of manga/manwha/light novels/what have you, that have not been translated and published to <insert your language here> and likely never will, I would say, no.

In the case of manga/manwha/light novels/what have you, that have been translated and published partially to <insert your language here> and likely never will be completely, I would say again, no.

In the case of manga/manwha/light novels/what have you, that have been translated and published paritally to <insert your language here> and will likely be completed, however are vastly behind the untranslated version, Yes and No. Yes: If you scanlate/distribute material already translated and published. No: If you scanlate/distribute material that hasn't been translated and published, and likely won't be for months.

In the case of manga/manwha/light novels/what have you, that have been translated and published in their entirety to <insert your language here> already, then again, Yes and No. Yes if it was scanlated and distributed after it was translated and published. No if what was scanlated and distributed was done before the official translation was published.

I'm sure I missed cases. Regarding reading scanlated material. . . Assuming it's not for profit, and you buy official translations when (if) they come out and you have the money, I see no problems with it.

EDIT: I almost never use these forums so I couldn't find a button to reply, and just hit reply wherever I did. Expected one at the bottom of the thread. Oops.


» figjam on September 8th, 2012, 7:45am

Culture should be freely accessible to those that want to access it and scanlations make this possible.

Piracy is a political stance against the unethical industry practices and immoral aspects of contract / copyright law. There's abundant information at EFF, Ars Technica, Torrentfreak etc.

If the manga/anime industry does not take the same path as RIAA and IFPI, it has a strong chance of achieving success. However, if they pursue aggressive methods, they stand to lose, because the number of people involved in scanlations is significantly larger than the number of people in publishing groups. Furthermore, there are vast amount of uncensored, unlicensed and fan translated content, which are already very popular and more is made available every day. Emerging markets such as webcomics remain untapped by English distributors and the current paper based distribution model has limited capabilities. Hence, distributors that are unwilling to change their economic, distribution model will lose in the free market where supply and choices offered by scanlation groups and volunteer individuals serve consumer demands better than publishers. This site's popularity and the growing debts throughout the world should be a testament.


» Dionaea on September 8th, 2012, 2:08pm

So true... The lack of availability of digital editions (especially downloadable ones without DRM) is sad. Most gatekeepers are simply refusing to cater to their customers.


» sophie0 on September 8th, 2012, 2:17pm

Tell me about it. I actually ended up ordering a Nook because from the sound of it it was a good ereader for reading manga. Since I don't live in the US, I imported it, set it up to buy and download some manga - only to discover since I don't live in the US, I can't buy them. We're talking about downloads, here. There was much frothing at the mouth until I discovered a website where you could purchase manga without DRM. Great, I thought, and bought one. but then it turned out the special enhanced PDF format isn't compatible with the Nook. THAT'S when I gave up.

Seriously, here I am, willing to pay for stuff and no one will let me. That's ridiculous.


» thevampirate on September 8th, 2012, 7:39pm

I'm sorry but that's mostly BS. First of all we are pirating their intellectual property, no ands, ifs or buts about it. Our ability to get the material out there is hinged upon readers being able to find it, and they can easily shut down public access to the material. As much as I hate the RIAA and the other media moguls that fight piracy they do a damned good job at protecting their property as much as they possibly can. On the other hand the manga industry hasn't been protecting themselves and it hurts them. Sure you can blame their stupid distribution and what not but scanlation does far more damage than good to them. For example when you google "Naruto Manga" the entire first page of links is all online readers and scanlators. If the industry had any sense they would first start by cracking down on online readers and then moving on to the individual scanlators. sure the number of people out number the Viz team but I bet 2 people working full time at 'loss prevention' could essentially protect an entire companies properties. Scanlators would be forced to go underground like the good ol' days (which sucked btw). Also don't start talking about freemarket BS, because in general free market principles don't account for piracy and illegal distribution.
That would be like if someone stole millions of Iphones and gave them out for free, Then you blame apple for having a bad business strategy of selling their products to the consumer while there are thieves giving away their product for free.


» figjam on September 8th, 2012, 8:37pm

You're advocating protectionism, FUD and NOT free market. Scanlations are a direct response to serve people's demands. The battle is about freedom to distribute content(without censorship), choice, price, ownership, distribution and most importantly control.


» Grumpy on September 13th, 2012, 2:14am

In free market, ie sans regulation, the very notion of intellectual property, piracy or illegal distribution wouldn't exist. Although made up in such way to mislead, intellectual property is a single definition that cannot be separated into two words. It's not a property that is of intellectual value. In fact, it's not really a property at all. So, you can't compare against iPhones. Here's an example why. Let's say you made a pencil. If that's property, that is yours. If I then made a pencil, then that is my property. Now if it's not a property but intellectual property: if you make a pencil, you don't own the pencil itself but the form which the pencil makes. If I then make a pencil, I've committed a crime thanks to copyright -- which is not a right to property, but a right to exclude others, viz a demand of monopoly. So by definition, intellectual property goes against the principles of free market, which property tends to thrive under.

It is because the notion of intellectual property is not natural, but a governmental mandate, this argument exists at all. If you feel that is is something that's fundamental, well... welcome to 21st century.


» pitopeanut on September 8th, 2012, 8:00am

When I look at my closet full of manga and the boxes of it under my bed I can't think of scanlations as morally wrong. I would not have given hundreds of dollars to American and Japanese publishers if I hadn't fallen in love with the stories first when I read the scanlations.

Also it's hard to be a published only BL fan when most of it is out of print. No I'm not buying a used copy for $50 thank you very much.


» Here_And_Now on September 8th, 2012, 9:26am

It's a fine line, but no I don't think it is morally/ ethically wrong to scanlate manga. Especially if there is no one publishing it outside of the native country, and even in that case often times publishers drop the manga or never bother to complete it. With the exception of Naruto, manga isn't even available in my area. The closest place that sells it is an hour drive away and the selection is relatively limited, and then often it seems the manga is so Americanized it isn't the same anymore. I mean, isn't just as morally wrong to try and sell people a product that isn't as good as the consumer deserves? But it is still done anyway.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Why would I pay for a product (including gas or shipping) that is inferior to what I can obtain free online? If publishers were really serious about shutting down the scanlation community they would try to employ these people who do such a great job for themselves and then get them to promote that they have joined the publishers. I mean seriously, these guys do such a great job for usually free, imagine what good work they'd do if they got payed? Right now I'm still in school but I should be working in about a year, maybe then I'll reexamine my stance.


» T1 on September 8th, 2012, 10:12am

I voted Yes. I find it to be totally wrong in the scanlation community we got these days. In the old days it would have been a No but not today.

Ask yourself: Donations...isn't that the same as making money on the scanlations?

Another question to wonder about: What about Online mangareaders that do it for "free" but earn money on adds when people visit their site to read titles?

We have had authors out saying that they don't want their titles to be scanlated or distributed through the net but still we see those titles being scanlated. So morally wrong? TOTALLY. Anyone who says No to morally, should get their head fixed. I mean how can you decide on something that the creator herself says no to and say that it's morally correct to do/scanlate it anyway? Yes, yes the big bad company takes their money and the author gets nothing in the end...that's not us to decide. It's their work, to get famous and earn money they went to the big bad company themself. They didn't come to us to ask us for scanlating it so we could earn money on their titles. bigrazz

Saying that you can't wait a week is also a lame excuse. Does that mean that if you are an Iphone buyer then you are going to make a copy for yourself or steal it since you can't wait for it to be released in your country? No, you would buy it from USA directly if you really felt the need, right? Then you can also learn Japanese and then buy it directly from Japan, if you really feel the need to not wait that long. Heck, just move to Japan instead.

Movies, music and so's also pirated if you don't pay for it to the ones who makes it; directly or indirectly.

About people who are too poor, young or the manga isn't released in their country. Well you can't just buy car or a house either, that doesn't mean that you "steal" them, right? You collect money, get older or buy it through another country.

Last, I would like to mention that I am not against scanlations. I find it a good way to promote titles that you want others to read too since you love it. Sad part is that this is not what's happening with "donations" "ads" and so on. We find people with lots of excuses for their reasons but in the's just excuses. At least hentai groups don't use those and cleanly states they take money for their work cry

Now start the discussion, heh. biggrin

Source: Been in many scanlation groups, also founded and ran one. cool


» khaledias on September 8th, 2012, 10:35am

I guess some people have never heard of the right to science and culture. Or the right to housing.


» wotonito on September 8th, 2012, 11:29am

I think it's unethical if the title is already licensed in English. However if it is not licensed in the language it is being translated into then I think it's a good thing as you are allowing those language speakers to be entertained by the stories without harming anyone financially. Also, I'm sure the author would be quite happy to learn that his or her story is popular even outside of Japan.


» ilovebhong on September 8th, 2012, 11:53am

^ agreed.


» Oddwaffle on September 8th, 2012, 12:07pm

IMO moral is dictated by what the society thinks is 'right' rather than being practical/effective/good/better. It was once thought that having no children was morally wrong (for the woman) and a crime against the ancestor (for the man). Or a wife who did not summit to her husband (head of the house) would be thought as morally wrong sometime ago. Or marrying a person with different skin colour.

It's not unethical if the title is not available in the scanlated language for the same format for whatever reason. The same thing with translations or fan art works - both are illegal with translations sometime ignored and fan arts barely tolerated. Art works are mend to be spread around. Not put into a box waiting for cash. It is only unethical if you take the credit for someone else's work, fake your work as someone else's or intentionally harm the business/profits of the author.

Imagine if there was no scanslations at all. There would be little to no manga market outside of Japan and how little would Japan culture spread.

One would think that scanslations are undermining the manga business. Scanslations certainly affect the manga market. The manga market outside of Japan isn't exactly pretty (even in Japan, it's failing). There are a lot of reasons for that but one of the main reason is that a large portion of people reading manga also read scanlations. Manga publishers soon realize that they are in the same market as the 'free' scanlators and it's a losing battle for books vs digital. They are facing the same problem as newspaper, book publishers and other paper publishing companies. People are getting their stuff in digital instead of paper. Hardest hit are the newspaper, then the magazine, then the books. The more daily the product, the harder it is to get sales in paper.

So the core of the problem with scanslations being 'piracy'-like is more with manga having problem reaching people who wants to read manga for the right price (who would pay $8 for a single digital book restricted to one device?) rather than its market is shrinking.


» Sdarts on September 10th, 2012, 12:59pm

I actually agree with most of what you said, morality and ethic are 2 differents things.
But on the subject, people sometimes forget what any scanlation, be it of mangas or animes, is based on: "From fans, for fans".
This was the very foundation of scanlation, to be able to make know a work that would never be done so otherwise. And in doing so, make more fans of said work.
I see a lot of people say that scanlanting hurts the business, well, if it wasn't for scanlating, those very popular series like Naruto, Bleach and One Piece wouldn't be popular.
Just ask yourself, has scanlations made you aware of how much great mangas/animes that you like/love exist?
The answer will always be "Yes!", because it is the very scanlation, the act of making available to people who would never be able to access it, which made people aware.
Me, I was almost oblivious to the manga/anime scene, I only saw chinese manga in chinese from a neighbour once and to me, animes were something unaccessible/unavailable.
Since I didn't knew it, I was oblivious/ignorant to it, no mangaka would ever receive my praise, attention and/or my money if there was no scanlation.

Here's the real question: "Would you pay for something that you don't even know, and therefore, ins't even aware of it's existance?"

That's a fact for me, and I believe it is the same for most people who read mangas and watch animes.
But after starting reading manga and watching anime, a culture that I myself didn't even knew existed and would never have had access to was available, and not only the culture of manga and anime, but also the culture, tradition, knowledge and understanding of Japan, which I love it.
I discovered japanese culture and started to see a whole different kind of culture BECAUSE of mangas/animes, and that wouldn't have been possible without scanlation.

Another question: "Has the manga market been hurt by scanlation?"
The fact is that the answer is "NO.", because if a work is not know or not even available to a person, then it absolutely won't be sold to said "potential" customer and therefore it won't be consumed/sold.

If there's anyone who still think that scanlation hurts business, I live in Brazil and we have quite a lot of really great comics, brazillian made just like "Monica", which is the most know.
People from other countries are extremely oblivious to this fact, so do they help the brazillian market in any way? Does the brazillian companies make less profit because of it?
Do they even know these comics exist?
The answer to all those questions is "No."
If someone were to make them available in english, making it aware to people and in doing so, increasing it's fan base and making it so that people who would never have had access to it enjoy and like it, even if of 10 people who read it, only 1 bought it, that would be great.
The community/fan base of such work would increase exponentially and the author and it's works would be more famous tthan ever before.
And the number of people who would stop buying to read for free online would not be on the scale of 10:1, but something more on the scale of 20:1 or maybe even 30:1.
To those that wouldn't pay for it since it's free, they wouldn't pay for it in the first place, they wouldn't even know.

Mangas and animes are only very successful today because of scanlating, where was today's success before the late ´90s and early '00s?

Not to go in another direction, but I see a lot of very talented people having a chance of a carreer because of their success in Youtube.
If they didn't have a place that was easy and free to show their talents, outside of their communities, family and friends, no one would know them and no one would have cared.
Because of their success in Youtube, now a lot of them are making tours, sellings songs and in some cases, even whole albuns on iTunes or on their official sites.

Awareness means more people start to know your work and in doing so, you get more fans and become more recognized/successful at what you do.
It's not always black or white, but for the most part, scanlating is the best way to make fans of a manga or anime.


» yarn on September 8th, 2012, 12:23pm

Of course it's wrong. When an artist creates a work (in this case, a manga) they deserve to get a reward for their work making it. They sell it to the manga publisher, and hopefully get royalties for it. If 50,000 people are reading their manga without paying for it, then it's that much less in royalties that the artist DOESN'T get. That's where the wrong-ness really comes in.

Of course, we can go to the next level and say, "Well, this volume isn't available for me to buy in my country (at least, without spending $XXXX for price + shipping to import it from Japan;, which I won't be able to read anyway). But what about manga that HAS been licensed where you live? I've seen lots of people actually DIRECTLY ASK English licensors: "Why should I buy the [insert title] manga? I can already read it for free online." Others say they never intend to ever spend ANY money to read manga, EVER. Why would they need to? They can already get most of what they want free, online.

I just wanna kick those people in the teeth. Their precious mangaka is so poor that he/she can't afford to buy a printer, but they still insist they shouldn't be rewarded for their work.

Scanlations are unethical. But I still read them. I attempt to atone somewhat by buying new, official licensed releases for many of my favorite titles. I cannot afford to buy them all. But I do buy some. Because the mangaka deserve it.


» Dionaea on September 8th, 2012, 3:01pm

Oh please...

Most of those 50k people you're talking about would never have read the manga without scanlations, it's not 50k lost sales, it's 50k more potential buyers. It's been shown by a lot of artists who actually try promoting their stuff by occasionally releasing something for free that 'piracy' increases sales, simply by getting the work to more people, which gives authors new fans who normally would never have come across their work. This increase in exposure is especially true for scanlations as these open the work up to people who don't speak the original language. Sure, there is the occasional bad apple who just wants everything for free, but most people want to support the artists they like. Freetards have always existed and will always exist, they are the people who read entire magazines in bookstores without ever buying anything and always copy DVDs and CDs from friends (I know people who own only illegal stuff but never downloaded a thing), they're not lost sales because they never buy anything. It's not those people that matter, it's everyone else, who do buy the stuff they liked a lot after hearing/reading/watching. I've bought tons of things I'd never even have known without piracy (even some Japanese manga volumes I can't even read yet).

As long as something remains unpublished in a language I don't think it's immoral to produce a scanlation as it increases exposure for the manga and potentially also sales of the original Japanese volumes.


» yarn on September 10th, 2012, 2:51pm

I'm talking about the artists here. Maybe you're not an artist, so you don't know what it's like to hope to make a living off your work. Scanlations are unethical because the artists aren't getting their due money. Sure, you can borrow a manga from your friend, but that's not the same as your friend simultaneously loaning it to 10,000 people who have no intention of ever paying for it because they are saving their money for video games.

I agree that for many people, it gives them a preview before buying. That's what it is a lot of the time for me. But that still doesn't negate the fact that it IS immoral. Intention doesn't define immoral or not.


» Kitteh_13 on September 8th, 2012, 8:59pm

So much passion.

Scanlations are unethical. But I still read them. I attempt to atone somewhat by buying new, official licensed releases for many of my favorite titles. I cannot afford to buy them all. But I do buy some. Because the mangaka deserve it.

Hypocrite. You call out people who admit they can't afford it, yet make the excuse of not purchasing everything due to cost.

roll eyes


» MangaGhost on September 8th, 2012, 4:18pm

A conditional no. See, If I get my guitar and cover a song from let's say Alt Japanese band The Pillows and upload it to YouTube are the police gonna come knocking? Are The Pillows going to send me a cease and desist (well maybe if I suck)? I don't think so as long as I'm not making a profit off it, otherwise you could throw people in jail just for singing on the bus. Same goes for scanlation. If the work is scanned and translated, but its not available in your country and the scanlation group is not making some kind of profit then I'm ok with it. On the other hand, if the work becomes available then scanlating that work should stop or if a creator or their representative tells you to stop. I think what scanlation has done has brought more attention to manga and that there is a wider audience now to distribute works to if companies get their acts together. Sure, you will always have people who will not pay a dime for anything, but you wouldn't be getting anything from them anyways. The rest of us who do buy manga want the opportunity to own and collect it. I wouldn't mind reading comics/manga from around the world be it Japanese, Korean, French, Russian, etc. Just give me a chance to buy it and I will.

Pirating music, movies, games and software is a different issue. These are usually sold in most places around the world. There is the opportunity to purchase it. It is ethically wrong to download this stuff. However, its also a complicated issue in that prices in some places are ridiculously high for legit copies. Those high prices encourage pirating and the selling of copies at cheap prices in those countries. This does not mean being poor is an excuse for unethical behavior, but i think that some companies could do a better job in pricing in some markets. If you look at statistics of where pirating happens the most its not in the United States where most media is reasonably priced, but in countries where these items are expensive. Then of course there are countries that theft of IP is becoming a part of their culture and is actively encouraged by their governments, but that is another issue...


» Badkarma on September 8th, 2012, 4:32pm

Scanning and cleaning copyrighted materials with your pirated copy of Adobe® Photoshop® CS6 so you can freely distribute it all over the internet and squee with your dorky friend(s)?


Nawwwww, we're in the clear........................... *snirk*

u mad, Japan?



» LilyNanami on September 8th, 2012, 4:41pm

not being punished doen't mean you are not guilty. The right thing to do would be to buy the original volumes of each manga. It is true that there are some not available in our countries for several reasons, but we should go buy them to those places, like Japan or others, in which they are being printed or to just buy those who are available where we live. that is fair for the mangaka who deserves to have that money.


» mewarmo990 on September 8th, 2012, 5:01pm

It is wrong, but not hard to sympathize with those who do. It sucks for people who can't get the media in their region at a reasonable price, and have to resort to piracy.

Yeah, there will always be pirates and people who will do anything to get stuff for free but these are the minority IMO. Most of the problem would be a non-issue if affordable and good quality localization releases are available.


» Dionaea on September 16th, 2012, 11:54pm

Or DRM-free digital releases. I don't really get the Japanese publishers in that matter, if they themselves published their materials online in english in a format readable on computers and e-readers at an affordable price they'd own the global market. Then when something becomes a huge success in english online they could do a paper release. Seriously, fans would eventranslate for free (or for credits to buy more manga). The reasoning gatekeepers use eludes me...


» geowrian on September 8th, 2012, 6:16pm

I don't want to summarize or restate what everybody else has already done above me, so don't take this as my entire argument. I would say it is not morally wrong as long as it is worth paying the price they charge. If it's not legally available (also note that most manga, games, and even anime do state "Not for Sale outside Japan"), then the charge is $0 (or whatever the currency is in your country). I would say the same goes for something that is not usable as-is, such as a Japanese manga when you only understand English and it's only for your own use.

Why would I I have these broad beliefs? In addition to all the points above, and probably more to follow in the posts below, it's because I do not believe there is direct damage being done, and many times I believe it encourages sales. Somebody that wants something for free is going to get it for free or not get it at all. The rest of the readers can be converted into sales under the right business model. Make something they want to buy and they'll buy it. If a company is unable or unwilling to do so, then people aren't going to buy your products and you're in even worse shape. For most people, I strongly believe that if they were forced to either pay for it or not have it at all, they would choose to not have it at all. It's entertainment, not a necessity of life. There are a handful of fanatics who likely would disagree, but I think the vast majority of people would just find their entertainment elsewhere. Find a way to sell to them and they can and will become customers. Labeling them as "pirates", or adding mechanisms that decrease the usability or enjoyment of legitimate customers is not going to work well.


» crimsonsnow00017 on September 8th, 2012, 8:52pm

Wow, first poll I had to really think about!

I picked no in the end, after some pretty thoughtful debating decided that my ethics had a bit more variable on the "no" side than the "yes" side.

But still, quite the serious question compared to last week!


» Kitteh_13 on September 8th, 2012, 8:54pm

Scanlations are definitely legally wrong, and I understand that.
Ethically/Morally? As long as no one is making a profit then no.
Subtitles and fan translations bring light to projects that people would never get to see/read in different languages.

Personally I love scanlations, I even worked at a scanlation site for a bit.
That being said, I also BUY all my manga.
As soon as a series is licensed I stop reading the scanlations and stick to the published works.
Supporting the authors is important.

When it comes to music and movies ect I pay for everything. If I really like something I like to show it with buying power. Supporting creators and artists.

I do recognize that 90% of media is owned by six companies, and yes they make money off of talented people but I do see that changing in the next ten years.


» x0mbiec0rp on September 8th, 2012, 10:05pm

I forget sometimes that libraries are a thing, and are legal. If I think of scanlation as analogous to libraries, it seems that it should be okay as long as the readers don't hold onto their copy.


» dosetsu on September 8th, 2012, 10:12pm

Apparently it isn't morally wrong to steal. I guess I'll go rob a Barnes & Noble tomorrow and give all of you the books for free. I'll be the Robin Hood of scanlations.


» ZL11 on September 8th, 2012, 10:24pm

One of the worst poll questions ever. Like this hasn't ever been a topic in the forums forever, and all it does is get people mad. It's like talking religion or politics. Change the topic SOON.


» neonkitty on September 8th, 2012, 10:28pm

Yes but I don't feel guilt for reading published material nor do I feel like scanlators should feel guilt either. I just don't have the money to buy all the manga I read but I've made it a life goal to buy all the manga that I have liked that is published in English. But I would much rather learn to read and understand Japanese so I can buy the original work because I hate it when stuff is censored and changed *cough*naruto*cough*.


» gwkimmy on September 8th, 2012, 10:52pm

all the people complaining about the manga industry losing potential customers because scanlations let people read for free...let me remind you: i can walk into any barnes and noble and sit and read allllll the manga they own there and NOT PAY A DIME. this is a non-issue. if i love a series i will buy it, regardless of whether i've already read it or not.

scanlations have been excellent---and FREE---PR for mangakas and their works. not that it doesn't have its drawbacks, but really that amounts to the companies simply failing in terms of quicker distribution and easier distribution.


» xhixhi on September 9th, 2012, 12:18am

Why is this even a debate on a scanation site? Why would anyone be here if they disaproved? most of the stuff here is hard to find, and would be untranslated if not for scanlations.

Obviously I think most people have the sense to know if it's something like Naruto they should be buying, but for a lot of people ease of use comes before thinking about how some mangaka on the other side of the planet, or publisher will make a profit, and I personally think that's part of the 'free market' in a sense (not to justify anythng).

If someone has a better product then you, even if it's illegitimate, you may lose money, like the music industy. So you may be competing against yourself as well as technology. People don't care about correcting for technologys shortcomings, or to know where it came from, they just want to consume.

And that's the excuse Apple gives for taking advantage of some poor kid in Africa, or China who they know isn't getting proper wages, or your neighbor when he downloads some old song from the 1950 that's somehow still copyrighted by some record industry behemith, or when you download some obscure [insert genre of choice] dj from comiket that's never gonna be seen as marketable. and how would the mangaka possibly know there was a market? In fact how would there be a market in the first place outside of Japan?

Edit: Call it the anarchaic market if you prefer, my point is still the same.


» Axis on September 9th, 2012, 2:09am

Reading scanlations is a cheap man's manga, basically. Of course it's immoral, but there are exceptions.

Back in the day, there were things like "fansubs", regarding anime that hadn't or wouldn't come across in to English, to American shores. Fans wanted their fix, and fansubbers were trying to spread the fandom for various series. It was a small niche, at first. Over time, anime became more renown and had a growing industry overseas.

Now, you can buy anime on dvd or watch on tv, the various anime that has been made into English. Bootlegging or downloading anime is considered piracy, as would downloading Hollywood movies.

Anyhow, time passed, and manga became a big thing as well.

I view it the same way as I viewed the anime industry. They're both the same in regards to sales, profit, and copyright. "Bootlegging or downloading" manga is considered piracy, "as would downloading Hollywood movies". Even books have that excerpt that if you find the book without a cover, it's been "stolen".

You watch movies that come out in theaters in the theaters or on dvd, or vhs, and that's how they make huge sales/profits. Same would go for something as simple as buying manga books.

I can't see why the same people who wouldn't pirate a movie like Harry Potter turn to pirating a manga like Naruto. Personally, they're both forms of entertainment. Maybe it's just because anti-pirating of movies is more enforced than anti-pirating of manga.

The gray area is "not licensed in English yet", which I understand somewhat. Some scanlaters are desperately wanting their favorite series to be picked up by a publisher.

But, when the series is published, it's got its own copyright. That's why purchasing the volumes that are coming out lets the series and makers make profits, which lets them release more of their series.

The major problem with scanlators and readers of licensed series is that one day, the series will disappear from the net. Sites go down, downloads are deleted, or all that scanlated materials disappear. That's what usually happens to small-time series.

It's the fans who purchased the manga in book or legitimate form that would be able to enjoy it. However, if there's so many scanlations and scanlation readers, how will the series thrive (if there's no one to purchase it legitimately)?

You buy, you help. Don't buy, don't read. In addition, there is such a thing as the library.


» cmertb on September 10th, 2012, 7:01am

The question is very poorly phrased. There are different types of scanlation, some of which are unethical, while others aren't. Same goes for distribution channels used. So the answer here is neither yes nor no.

Additionally, why is this about scanlation only? If something is morally wrong to scanlate, then it's also morally wrong to read. Those who read Naruto scanlations are as guilty as those who try to make a buck from scanlating it.


» Zina on September 10th, 2012, 7:55am

I voted yes and meant no. Whoops.
I buy manga sometimes. Without scanlations I'd never have bought any.


» felix_the_beast on September 10th, 2012, 9:21am

If it wasn't allowed then it's wrong
Otherwise, it's not.


» NWDD on September 10th, 2012, 9:57am

Didn't people in Middle Ages copy books by hand and spread stories mouth to mouth?
Though It might seem wrong to steal an artist work by distributing to everyone without license and making profit, is there really something ethically wrong in allowing everyone from the world to read a good story? It is not as if they were stealing, just duplicating and giving away free.

Lets say you are from x country and there is only mainstream manga available for purchase, which costs ~2 lunches per volume and is ~300 chapters behind the original work. Is It wrong to use progress to grant access for the same stories to everyone? It might be licensed in the US/UK but why should that matter? Internet connects people from x that might know english...

In my opinion It's the manga/book business that should adapt to new technologies, why not offering a few bucks monthly subscription to read pretty much every manga out there (with ads) in the most spoken languages? Scanlators offer a service that third party publishers don't cover.


» BlackOrion on September 10th, 2012, 10:39am

Quote from NWDD
Didn't people in Middle Ages copy books by hand and spread stories mouth to mouth?
Though It might seem wrong to steal an artist work by distributing to everyone without license and making profit, is there really something ethically wrong in allowing everyone from the world to read a good story? It ...


That was an excellent speech and i agree wholeheartedly, you read my mind.


» TaoPaiPai on September 10th, 2012, 11:12am

about ppl in the middleages copying stuff

monks did that...on mostly holy scriptures to have and keep in the monestarys
not to sell for profit
they where made in most cases for spreading in these religious places

with manga you take something that does not belong to the whole world
it belongs to the magazine who publishes the manga first and secondly the mangaka
these stories are made for that company to function

the mangakas gain nothing from scanlation
the publishes gain nothing from scanlation
all the workers who are involved in the whole buisniss to produce these volumes,magazines gain nothing from scanlation

by putting up sites that let ppl read their manga even if it is official would still hurt all the workers in the process since then the publishes can just skip the middle hand and go for a much larger profit[that is the problem with all online reading sits...evil profit]

of course its morally wrong to scanlate for 1000more reasons than can of course say that leagally its ok to scanlate,dl and so on as long as the series is not being published in your country
but it is still morally wrong


» Grumpy on September 13th, 2012, 2:24am

Quote from TaoPaiPai
about ppl in the middleages copying stuff

monks did that...on mostly holy scriptures to have and keep in the monestarys
not to sell for profit
they where made in most cases for spreading in these religious places

Actually, copying were their main source of income.
And copyright was made to prevent spreading of the uncontrolled bible copies.


» nowyat on September 21st, 2012, 5:18pm

Wait, wait, monks also copied the great heroic, political and philosophical texts of Greece and Rome. Without them darn plagiarizing monks we wouldn't have "The Illiad", "The Odyssey", and many great ancient historical and adventure treatises as well as later works. Maybe some future generation a few hundred years from now will be thrilled to discover that these present day highly fragile paper books and magazines have been saved in an indestructible digital format...


» NWDD on September 10th, 2012, 12:55pm

Scanlator don't sell, they take nothing; just duplicate, original is still there.
Don't they have the right to make profit of their work without selling/charging for someone's work?

Given that most popular series sell licenses, they might even make more profit thanks to scanlators.
What do they actually lose? If scanlators didn't exist I (and most people here) wouldn't read manga, cause It's plainly insane to import manga and pay someone to translate It.

Official online-readers would hurt no-one on the short run, check out steam.
In the long run... Progress and evolution imply adaptation, people should start focusing on art,development and new business models rather than in a mechanical process that could be automated.

It's as If x chef could duplicate food for all the world and benefit with ads or subscription.
Who would be ethically wrong, the chef that refuses to provide such a service or the scanlators that uploaded chef's work so that everyone could eat free?

Of course nothing is completely morally/ethically right, but Is It so difficult to spot the lesser evil? No one loses, nothing is taken. Just requires adaptation.


» yarn on September 10th, 2012, 3:12pm

I think a lot of you are making the mistake of thinking that manga comes out of some nebulous void called the "manga industry". Every manga is a literary and artistic piece is made by individual PEOPLE.

Let's say you go write and draw a comic book, and sell it to a publisher. It sells 15,000 copies. You get some money by selling it to the publisher, and a bit more from royalties for the volumes sold. But it's not enough to make a living, so you're still flipping burgers at Macdonalds. And then you find out that 100,000 people across the world are reading your book in other languages because someone scanned, translated, and uploaded it for the world to see. And maybe...10 of these fans actually liked it enough to buy an official copy of your book.

Sure your book gets exposure. But if that were me, I'd be kinda upset, because foreign popularity alone isn't enough to keep me fed. And it's certainly not going to get a domestic publisher to buy more of my future comic books.


» Unrequited on September 10th, 2012, 4:13pm

Hmm... I'd say it depends, but I lean more on the side of it being immoral. There's a good example for a music industry comparison somewhere. (I'll have to find it later) Basically it amount to the exposure argument. Stealing work online may help propagate the work of popular to mildy-popular artists, but plenty of lesser known artists struggling to make it never get to see that side of the deal. People put a lot of effort in their works only to never receive proper benefits. It straight up does unfairly undermine many of the less popular artists.

A better way to reward the artists would be for those artists and magazines to set up their own sites and adopt something like hulu. Chapters would be available for viewing and ads would help support the artists. Maybe even reward paid subscribers with extra content/etc. I dunno, try and advance their business models in some way or another.

Yeah I participate by reading scanlations, but at the same time I acknowledge that I'm stealing and have no problems when companies try and take down sites (especially profit-making sites) or set up new services like wsj alpha. It's their right to try and protect what's theirs or to attempt to test their alternatives to unofficial scanations. (Plus I purchase most of the stuff I read that ends up officially translated anyway)

However the "too expensive" excuse is the worst reason ever. These are fucking comics. As in they're luxuries, not necessities. Heck, they're not even on the same level as textbooks. Nobody is entitled to entertainment in the same way that they're entitled to food, water, or housing. "People are going to steal them no matter what." Whatever, douchebags will remain douchebags. But clamoring that availability is somehow the right of the reader? Fuck that shit. These people are trying to make a living out of their work. The very least a person could do is admit that they're stealing. Providing entertainment (comics) is a sale/service and should be acknowledged as such.


» Hell_Clues on September 10th, 2012, 8:58pm

I used to feel a lot stronger about this but I tend to ignore it nowadays. It is wrong but as long as you don't over do it, if 9/10 of what you pay for is legit, then that's probably good enough.

With music, you can pretty much try most songs with streaming and buy a single song cheaply.

I think it's much worst with games and movies. Some people don't even make an effort to get a simple streaming service or try to track down the game.

Scans are a bit different because it'd be impossible to ever understand it or view it. I think if an artist or company ever have a problem with it, then it's a totally legitimate problem but there's usually no other way.

I do think it's important to keep in my mind that it isn't the best thing to do. In case you're at a point in your life where you're really poor or some other situation where you have to rely on these choices a lot. Because you have to be able to wean yourself out of it as time goes on, and you won't be able to do that if you over justify it to yourself.


» Blique on September 11th, 2012, 8:35pm

A lot of manga I've read is bad. I would not spend my money on them. So I read a few chapters online, then stop reading and don't buy it. On the other hand, if it's good, I'll spend money to add it to my collection. That's my code of ethics, and my conscience is relatively clear. I only stop buying manga when my bank account says $0.

That would be my ideal image of scanlation. Scanlate anything, buy what you like. I know a lot of people can't do that. But the concept still stands that scanlating and distributing published material isn't inherently wrong.

The problem lies with the people who (1) have money, (2) have access to manga volumes, and (3) refuse to buy in favor of reading for free.

If people can't afford manga or don't have access to it, then they won't be buying it either way. But when people have the opportunity to buy it and still refuse to, I think that is the only morally wrong part of the whole system.


» Jooles on September 12th, 2012, 8:49am

Let's see, morally wrong? No. Shows like Suits, Buffy/Angel, Miami Vice and Boston Legal are all something I downloaded and am planning on buying once I have the cash for it. Would I ever had bought $100~ boxsets if I hadn't seen them and loved them from beginning to end? Not a chance.

And that's the thing - by "allowing" me to download them, they've actually made Future money.

As far as the guys who make shows and movies that I have seen and I feel isn't worthy of owning - well, I'd say it's their own fault for making shitty TV. Buying movies, shows and games isn't supposed to be a fucking lottery, a high-stakes one at that, since we're not talking about a $1-ticket.

We have the technology, and they're the ones in the wrong for not utilizing it properly.

And as far as scanlations go - the internet is global, thus culture is now as well. The days of teadrinking englishmen being flabbergasted by the ways of peyote-smoking native-americans are long gone, and a land's culture [used in its broadest term] should be accessible to all and everyone. Otherwise, get off the internet and shroud yourself from everyone like NK, because it's not a one-way street.


» KaoriNite on September 12th, 2012, 5:01pm

I voted yes.

Reading scanlated manga is stealing. There are many great justifications for it, but at the end of the day its still stealing because we are not paying for the manga.

Do I care that it is morally/ethically wrong: Hell No. I steal it because I honestly wouldn't pay to read it. Unless it's a series/author that I've read before and loved.


» Turbophoenix on September 13th, 2012, 6:50am

I buy almost all my manga and pretty much never read scanlations, but it's not because I think it's "morally wrong". I just like having physical books, and supporting English manga publishers.


» Ashoka on September 13th, 2012, 9:59am

Mangaka write manga for a living. They profit from each sold magazine and from each sold tankoubon, (as well as eventual merchandise).

Writers and Publishers have a monopoly on the stories they make, because it is their unique work, and nobody is entitled to free shit when over people have to work hard to make it.

You can argue that copyright law gets twisted a lot, but fact of the matter is, it simply doesn't apply to manga and scanlations the way it applies to software, source codes and gene-sequences (where misuse of copyright law has produced some horrible abominations).

For instance, Bleach gets published in the US, is properly licensed and people translate it for a wage and probably because they love manga. Where do some people get the idea from that it is okay to just read it online whenever they want to?

Granted, some situations are different. First time reading a series, for instance, to check it out, or reading the newest chapters that just came out in Japan, as they aren't translated and published in the US or UK yet. But if you are going to reread it, why not buy it? Those who think it's okay to just take it, even if they could walk to the next store and buy it, or god forbid, order it on the net, show just how much it is worth to 'em. They are basically saying that authors don't deserve money for their work. You aren't really supporting a series when you are not really paying for it? What's the point of a popular series when the authors and people who publish it get little financial support?

So, my take on this:
Scanlations are okay, when a work isn't reasonably available in your country, you want to check it out or when the parts you are reading aren't published yet.
If that's not the case, pipe down and give them your money.

Quote from Grumpy
In free market, ie sans regulation, the very notion of intellectual property, piracy or illegal distribution wouldn't exist. Although made up in such way to mislead, intellectual property is a single definition that cannot be separated into two words. It's not a property that is of intellectual valu ...

Grumpy, I agree with you on in principle, ideas and models and creations have always been the the bases and mix-platter of creations and ideas following that, which is why copyright law enforcement recently has been getting ridiculous, since they are interfering with the basic idea of creative thought.

But scanlating really has little to do with this problem. It's basically taking the work of an author whose pay usually depends on the sales of that, translating it, and bringing it to the people for free. Now usually, if that work isn't sold in that country, it's fine. But once it does get licensed in that country, if people keep reading scanlations instead of buying the books en masse, not only will the licensor, who risks quite a bit of money with every title it gets, lose quite a bit, the author and original publishers also does not get money that we have to admit is rightfully theirs.

Though, with your field of translation it's a bit different. But what if someday someone publishes Tower of God volumes in english, will you take the respective chapters from batoto and The Company? Sorry if I phrased that a bit rudely.


» Grumpy on September 23rd, 2012, 8:45pm

Well, since you asked, though late, I suppose a response is in order. (I don't really check MU news...)

To the question at the end: you draw a line in a different place than I do. You draw the line of what's acceptable vs unacceptable where exchange of money takes place. I draw the line at respect. I believe in a system where one can respect another. Regardless of any english publication, regardless of what sells more or less, regardless of agreement or disagreement. If the author tells me that I should stop, that I should take it off of Batoto, it will be stopped and offline. We have already been doing this and following requests to a tee from both the authors and scanlators who have approached us. We have even take further steps to aid them achieve their wish in areas out of our control. I might disagree with them, but I still do it, out of respect.

Now, why is my philosophy different from yours? Here's why.

First, you appeal to the issue of impossibility of sale vs free. How can you sell anything when there's something for free? This is the question repeatedly asked rhetorically by the groups like RIAA. But not only are there answers, the question is actually not that relevant. Take a look at the recent craze: Gangnam Style. It's available for free on the internet. Yet, it's the top seller world wide. Literally thousands of derivatives of gangnam style are now on the net -- some of which are parodies, some of which are translations in both subs and dub, much like scanlations, and many of which are for sale. Psy or YG (pub company) does not complain about them because they help them in the end. It increases popularity even more. They are loving the fact that people are sharing their work and making derivatives of it. In turn, they made it easy and convenient to sell the song and music video. The increase in popularity also makes easier sales on works to come.

But what if we put a traditional thinking and old models of sales at place? The video would have been geo-locked to Korea, the derivative works would have been shut down, the MV clones also shut down. The fame that it has would never have come to be. They'd be happy time making one percent of the sales they're currently making.

So, while I understand where you are coming from, from a philosophical point, I cannot agree with it. If they want to make sales, they should make it easy to buy. Not make lots of restrictions.

I am all for authors exploiting their works to the fullest extent. But I am against such restraints on everyone else. I am not a anti-copyright person, just a copyright reformist. I do not believe the copyright, in today's form, helps the artists or the consumers; it only helps selective publishers.

P.S. I wrote what I wrote that which you quoted biggrin because someone on the internet was wrong. Not because I was advocating a fully free market world.


» AHLMW on September 13th, 2012, 11:08am

Simple fact for me is if I like it I will buy it if it is available where I live, anyone who follows that philosophy is fine by me.

Since January 2005 japan's weekly shonen jump has published 85 manga in its magazine.
only five of them have been licensed.
Ral Grad, Bakuman, Toriko, Psyren and Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Nurarihyon no Mago)
I own all five of them up to their current english release.

so what should you do? sit and hope that these 80 missing series will get licensed or read them online?


» sophie0 on September 13th, 2012, 3:02pm

I think a lot of people are misunderstanding the question. There actually is a difference between the morality/immorality of scanlating and of *reading* said scanlations.

If you assume that the scanlation isn't done for profit and not against the expressed wishes of the mangaka I really don't think it's immoral. In 99.9% of the time the scanlation is done when there isn't any official alternative, and that does include unpublished (in English) chapters of licensed manga, in my opinion. Because usually it takes an extraordinary long time until an official translation of any manga becomes available, and it's understandable if people want to share the manga with as many people as possible. And I think that is what scanlating is about, for the most part.

Scanlating itself doesn't stop anyone from purchasing the work of the mangaka - most scanlators actively encourage readers to buy the manga as soon as it becomes available. However, the actions of the readers don't have any influence when it comes to the morality/immorality of scanlating.


» KaoriNite on September 13th, 2012, 6:12pm

Quote from sophie0
I think a lot of people are misunderstanding the question. There actually is a difference between the morality/immorality of scanlating and of *reading* said scanlations.

If you assume that the scanlation isn't done for profit and not against the expressed wishes of the mangaka I really don't think it's immoral ...

I think that a mangaka has to deliberately express that they don't mind people scanlating, since I think most people would want to be paid for the work that they do rather than have people obtain that work for free


» sophie0 on September 13th, 2012, 11:59pm

The problem here is that most people who read the scanlations usually wouldn't buy the manga in the original Japanese anyway, *because they wouldn't understand it*. That is something a lot of people seem to forget. So, rather than taking away sales I would argue scanlation actually creates them (looking at my bookshelves and 80odd manga in Japanese after 1 year, that certainly happened in my case). It may be different when it comes to the big series who have official translations, but even there I think the fans end up buying the volumes anyway. (But that last part is about the readers again.)


» pikokola on September 13th, 2012, 6:30pm

not about scanlation, but relevant in general piracy

btw I vote no.


» Damnedman on September 13th, 2012, 10:03pm

By western standards, scanlations are definitely wrong morally and ethically. You are taking copyrighted material and distributing without the holders' permission. Then again, I don't really care whether it's illegal or not; I will continue doing what I love for the least amount of money, even if it is going against the public's moral standards. Piracy will never die! Yarrr!


» mysstris on September 14th, 2012, 2:29am

Well for one, this is not exactly a fair poll since you are asking a very biased body of people who do read scanlated material.

But it's just difficult to get a hold of any mangas these days in english in america especially when there are so many publishers that have gone out of business.

When I came to know that CMX closed down, I literally cried because they published some of the best mangas that I thought were classic. Plus the manga that mangas that I wanted so much weren't be scanlated at all. This was probably 4 years ago. Just recently a group picked up one of the mangas that CMX published 15 volumes of and this group is starting from chapter 1 of volume 1! I'll be dreaming of the day when this group gets to volume 15 if ever!

Recently I was in the mood to read a manga whose first volume was scanlated but was published by CMX. It did not look like anyone was going to scanlate it so I decided to buy it. It was completely published but it's out of print. OH NO! Luckily someone had just decided to sell the complete series. Thank god I was able to scramble for all 7 volumes for just over $40 on ebay. I cried out in joy because of that.

I would totally buy manga in a completed series but at this rate, that's not likely. Plus most of the series being published in english aren't ones that I want anyways (except skip beat and maybe gakuen alice). A lot of the series that I thought Tokyopop published weren't really my cup of tea. They often discontinued publication of certain mangas that had great storylines too. (geez this is like how FOX network tv has cut a bunch of good shows) As for series that I reread online over and over again, sadly they're not being published at all......or are out of print and can't be found being sold anywhere online for a reasonable price x0

I don't have the time to learn japanese either. Maybe someday when I'm raking in a living, I'll go out and buy raw mangas (ebook style?) but it's not possible at the moment.

However I am most grateful for my amazing local library system. Where I live there is a huge library system with an amazing main branch and good secondary branches spread out all over the city. They have a good manga collection so I've been blessed to be able to read some completed series free of charge for 17 years--now I've got overdue fines to pay if I return them late since I'm most certainly not a minor anymore xp Truly grateful for this privilege and for the fact that the city I live in cares so much about libraries. (Even without manga, I love the library because I love read novels too) But...I'm rambling here.....

All in all, no, it's not morally wrong. People scanlate for the sake of spreading good word for stories that they themselves enjoy. They wish to share the good feelings of these stories that they have the chance to read so others may enjoy with them. There's nothing wrong with that. If scanlators were getting paid for the work though....hell no. That's messed up. But in doing so for free, people enjoy the mangas and if it just so happens to be published in a language readers are comfortable with reading in, then it increases the probability of buying them. In a way, scanlating is good publicity since japan has only so many people compared to 6 billion global. But I guess the huge problem here is getting it published internationally too......


» Obxist on September 14th, 2012, 7:02pm

If you went through some ethical evaluation based on theories. If we are assuming that manga is from japan (with japanese lang) and scanlators make scanlation for readers outside of japan (with english lang) without any formal published on english lang than most likely it is still ethical. Couple of ethics theories such as kantianism, utilitarianism will see that actually it is not wrong, it is still ethical.


» a_v on September 20th, 2012, 10:49am

Realistically, I expect fairly soon the market will begin changing more as well...

Think embedded ads and product placement - It already happens to a small degree (think Pizza-Hut with Code Geass) but I think the trend will begin to expand and accelerate as well.

As an example, AK49 is based off a real idol band, and references many of the songs, idols, and albums. But that's not what I'm referring to here. It's extremely simple to embed html links in pdf and epub documents, so within a few years I don't think it will be terribly uncommon to have image tags that link to particular characters, songs, albums, or artists.

Example: A click on Takamina could bring up her wikipedia page, but even more likely AK48's real webpage or her blog or something similar.

A click on a panel where they are doing a performance

Clicking on a panel showing them doing a performance could also have the same effects...

Example: This page could have a link - /5.html

To something like this:

(And on the linked page, there would be somewhere a reference on how to purchase related goods).

Keep in mind, this wouldn't take place overnight - and I sincerely doubt all products would incorporate this type of embedded advertising (I have trouble believing many of the mangas where characters drink / are addicted to urine would lend themselves to this type of advertising would work well).

But it is something to keep in mind.


» pknoctis on September 21st, 2012, 6:01pm

It's wrong if it's possible and likely to be licensed in english

It's not wrong if you know it's never going to be licensed

This is of course assuming that publishers/authors merely want wide circulation of their books + desire profit in cases possible