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Japanese authors/publishers dont seem to care about blatant ripoffs?

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Post #777131
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12:30 am, May 21 2020
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How is it that so many series are basically blatant ripoffs of each other, with minor details changed? Even the synopsis reads almost exactly the same.

Main culprits : all those isekai series that are about a MC getting OP powers and a harem, or a "villainess" that isnt a real villainess at all.

In the west, if you just copied something like, say, harry potter or LOTR with minor details changed, there is no way a publisher would accept your work for obvious reasons. In Japan, this doesnt appear to be an obstacle at all?

Post #777132
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12:50 am, May 21 2020
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Well, for one thing, they're usually published as web novels first, which don't have some strict editorial bar to pass. Then, once the web novel is popular enough, that's all the publisher is really going to care about. If they were really IDENTICAL aside from one or two things, plagiarism would be an issue, but they're mostly just re-using (popular) concepts from existing works.

Which happens a lot in the west too. Notice how after Harry Potter came out there was suddenly a massive number of YA fiction where the protagonist suddenly finds out they're magical in some way and has to go to magic school/camp/etc?

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Post #777134 - Reply to (#777131) by Question2
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2:14 am, May 21 2020
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Quote from Question2
In the west, if you just copied something like, say, harry potter or LOTR with minor details changed, there is no way a publisher would accept your work for obvious reasons.

Uh, wait, wasn't Sword of Shannara literally just a LOTR ripoff with the names changed? And the Charlie Bone series was a very thinly veiled HP ripoff imo. Though both of these series did start gaining their own identities once they got far enough along -- and the same is true for a lot of isekai too.

Like, JK Rowling herself even basically ripped Dumbledore wholesale from The Once and Future King's Merlin... I'm not going to be like "nothing's original these days", but it is true that there's no copyright on ideas. It's ultimately up to the authors themselves whether they just want to be part of a passing fad or make something that'll actually be remembered.

Post #777135 - Reply to (#777131) by Question2
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3:03 am, May 21 2020
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Quote from Question2
In the west, if you just copied something like, say, harry potter or LOTR with minor details changed, there is no way a publisher would accept your work for obvious reasons.

You do realize that you're unironically saying this when literal Twilight fanfiction has spawned an entire media franchise, right? Along with Twilight, itself, ripping elements from The Vampire Diaries, which is also ripping from The Vampire Chronicles.

Also, unlike in the West, in addition to their copyright laws working differently, the Japanese see derivative works as free advertising, which is the reason why they don't crack down on doujins.

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Post #777142
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Seinen is RIGHT
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5:14 am, May 21 2020
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Harry Potter isn´t that original (look up DC´s older The Books of Magic comic) and LOTR is one of the most copied texts of ALL time. You can make similar cases for Batman (hardly an original IP), Donald Duck, Star Wars (hardly an original IP), Superman, Tintin, Twilight (hardly an original IP), etc. Chasing trends is also half the point of Hollywood. Buddy cop films come to mind but there is a line between ripoff and plagiarism and you are only protected from the 2nd. Use you own assets and names and tada. A new IP is born. That´s why game design is mostly impossible to copyright and why many (but obviously not all) high profile music lawsuits about being ripped of went nowhere: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/10/entertainment/led-zepp ellin-stairway-heaven-lawsuit-trnd/index.html
There are only so many notes you can play. You can push things too far, hello Doom 1/2, but writers face the same problems. You can´t expect a writer to come up with wholly original plots after thousands of years of human writing/culture. Especially in a market that asks for genre writing. Even Shakespeare didn´t do that. Romeo and Juliet (1595/97) is a remake for example.

There have been lawsuits in Japan about plagiarism as they aren´t China. The first ep of Osomatsu-san is now forever shelved due to a lack of parody protection for example. It´s crazy that Sunrise made a 5 part OVA based on Starship Troopers in the 80s without a license but that was the 80s. Things like this don´t fly anymore in a globally connected world. Especially if you look up who (co-)owns many anime studios now. The doujinshi scene is its own beast but fanfiction.net does the same and it is also mostly left alone. Don´t try to make (too much) money with your fanfic trash and you´ll be left alone. Waging war on the fanbase ain´t too smart. Especially in the age of social media.

PS: Isekai only means "different world" OP. You will never convince me that Japan came up with that impossible to nail down sub-genre of mostly fantasy. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz follow the same "rules". Where is my Snow Crash (1992) film or anime btw? HBO now has the rights, ok then. That one will show .hack (meh) and SAO (trash) who is boss. The videogame version of isekai peaked in 1992 and was written in the US. Take that Japan. What a cursed "genre".

Last edited by residentgrigo at 5:38 am, May 21

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Post #777146
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7:06 am, May 21 2020
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I never said harry potter or LOTR was totally original, i mean you have basic concepts like "MC discovers that he has magic and goes to a magic school", but most of these isekai stories are blatant copies of each other. Just go to any manga site and look at the synopsis of isekai stories updated in the last 48 hours. For some reason, these copypasta series get very frequent and consistent translations so you see them on the front page of manga sites all the time.

If you look at the Witch Hat Atelier manga, the basic concept is similar to Harry Potter, (MC discovers the existence of magic, leaves family to learn magic) but everything else is different, the characters, the magic system, the plot, etc. Im talking about blatant copies, like if I just took harry potter and made the characters american, switched the genders of ron/hermoine, but kept all the important stuff the same (MC's parents are murdered by evil wizard, is rescued from an abusive family to go learn magic, then discovers he was responsible for defeating the evil wizard as a baby and is a legend in the wizard world, etc). Thats what im talking about, blatant copies.

(Of course, Isekai just means the setting, but you will notice that almost all Isekai manga are blatant copies of each other, so nitpicking on that achieves nothing)

The chinese long strip comics are by far the WORST offenders....just search for titles including the words "peerless", "godly" , "master", "cultivation" or "system".

Literally just the same story with minor details changed. You even have the same characters acting out the same scenes, using the same cliched lines. Even the titles and synopsis are near copies of each other.

Im sure there are a few blatant copies that get published in the west, but its hardly the norm the way it is in Japan (or China). If you just copied LOTR or harry potter with a few minor details changed, do you think a well known western publisher like Penguin Books is going to publish it?

Just go on to any western forum where authors and prospective authors discuss writing and the publishing industry...they all talk about how hard it is to get published. If you asked them "hey, can i just copy a popular story and change some details to get published?" you would get laughed at.

I had the chance to discuss this with someone who worked in the publishing industry and he flat out told me that the only way a blatant ripoff would get published was if you gave the publisher enough money so that they didnt care (basically paying them to publish for you and not ask questions, rather than hoping they will accept your work), or you had connections.

IIRC, Eragon got published through a small publishing company that the author's parents owned, so no surprise there...and when Eragon came out, most reviews blasted the book for ripping off LOTR/Star Wars. In Japan, copypasted stories are considered the norm, you dont have anyone pointing it out because its considered normal there.

And fifty shades of gray...yea i get that it was twilight fanfiction...but unless im missing something, its NOT a blatant copy of twilight...its got a rich, handsome and dominant male lead, which is an obvious wish fullfilment fantasy in romance novels directed at women, but twilight is a story about a love triangle with a vampire and a werewolf. This is not the level of copying i am talking about.

If im reading the synopsis of a manga, I should not be thinking "wait a minute...this is exactly like a dozen other series that I have seen before, except with a few minor details changed....", nor should I be getting the same deja vu feeling for 6 different series updated on the same day...

I dont know about what western bookstores you have been walking into, but when I walk into one and browse the adult fiction section, I NEVER find a single copy pasta series. No copy pasta titles/synopsis. I dont see "Lord of the Rings" right next to "Lord of the Amulets", "Lord of the Pendants" or "Lord of the Medallions", all of which are the same story with a few minor details changed. But in Japan, you would find just that same situation, all those ripoff titles right next to each other.

A few months ago, I spent close to an hour just checking titles/synopsis in the adult fiction section of a bookstore on campus and I did not find a single blatant ripoff at all. The only complaint I can make is that some of the synopsis were too vauge.

Yet, you go onto any manga site and there are so many of these blatant ripoff series being updated every day like clockwork. I find it hard to believe that this is some kind of coincidence.

Last edited by Question2 at 7:30 am, May 21

Post #777152 - Reply to (#777146) by Question2
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1:34 pm, May 21 2020
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Quote from Question2
Just go on to any western forum where authors and prospective authors discuss writing and the publishing industry...they all talk about how hard it is to get published.

That's because the publishing houses are a cabal of their own in-group writers who limit what does and does not get published. It's a major reason why online distribution took off, why people are now creating their own publishing labels.

Quote from Question2
If you asked them "hey, can i just copy a popular story and change some details to get published?" you would get laughed at.

You do realize that you're saying this when you have a bunch of fanfiction writers are in an active effort to make their Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School SoL spin-off a reality, right? Also, "just copy a popular story and change some details", didn't Disney do that with The Lion King?

Quote from Question2
I dont know about what western bookstores you have been walking into, but when I walk into one and browse the adult fiction section, I NEVER find a single copy pasta series. No copy pasta titles/synopsis.

Wait, hold up, you made this entire topic to bitch about an issue just because the HOOK to get people interested in a story sounds "too similar"? And, it has NOTHING to do with whether or not the actual story IS similar?

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Post #777156
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9:02 pm, May 21 2020
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"There's nothing new under the sun." -Solomon

90% of what Shakespeare wrote was fanfiction.

Sherlock Holmes? Poe fanfiction.

Anne of Green Gables? Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm copypasta.

Jack London's Sea Wolf? Captain Nemo, minus the charm.

Gilgamesh? Nimrod original oc donut steal.

Even the classic authors did this.

The only thing that bothers me is when the thief's work becomes more popular than the original. Granted, Anne is objectively better than Rebecca, and Tolkien's work might well exceed Ring of the Nibelung... And Shakespeare's fae troll-fic ks a heckuva lot funnier than Oberon's original form, being a Garystu who's Julius Caesar's biological son who fought in the Crusades (no, really.)

But I do wish people would read the originals. (I'm still mad that millionaires CLAMP stole Petshop of Horrors, even down to the character design. Chinese guy with purple and gold heterochromia owning a magic shop? No one's heard of the poor author they ripped off. I hate CLAMP...)

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Post #777182
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Lone Wanderer
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11:56 am, May 23 2020
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I absolutely get your pain, OP. I asked myself the same question as you years ago when that horrible plague, the Isekai genre, gained the spotlight, followed (or maybe preceded, I can't recall) immediately by the Chinese wuxia/xianxia/xuanhuan manhua/web novels plague.

And I totally agree with you that this is not usual in other parts of the world, but what can you do? If Japanese/Chinese authors and publishers have no problem with it, it's not up to us to worry about it. What we should worry about is how best to filter this substandard nonsense from our release lists and search results. It was a bit tricky, and not without its pitfalls, but I've devised a fairly good method and now get through my time on MU and Novel Updates with minimum hassle. You should probably think of a similar method that works for you.

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Post #777187 - Reply to (#777156) by SNOWBY
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4:14 pm, May 23 2020
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I am more or less ok with the authors that write about a certain over-exploited genere .They sometimes do so after after reading other pieces of fiction ;being asked by their editorials .Since they tend to give it their own twist or maby just think they can do it better.(proving it was copied is difficult ).Some years alter only the best one (or most comercial)survive . And there are no 100% original works:
Quote from SNOWBY
"There's nothing new under the sun." -Solomon
(I really liked that quote)

Quote from SNOWBY
The only thing that bothers me is when the thief's work becomes more popular than the original.
...
But I do wish people would read the originals. (I'm still mad that millionaires CLAMP stole Petshop of Horrors, even down to the character design. Chinese guy with purple and gold heterochromia owning a magic shop? No one's heard of the poor author they ripped off. I hate CLAMP...)

I also agree with these statements it is known that authors usually have other less known authors under them and sometimes they rely too heavily on a well established setting (LOTR is a good example as many authors usually copy paste the races and some of their traits to their works and sometimes they don't even bother to search their respective mythologies) .

It really grinds my gears when they don't acknowledge the original author,😠,since it is a very competitive world and when a less known original author is plagiarised without acknowledgement , it sometimes is the end for them ( they are pressed down by the other authors editorial) .

I think knowing what works of fiction inspired the author really helps ,and lets you see the evolution of the genre 🙂

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Seinen is RIGHT
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4:51 pm, May 23 2020
Posts: 2013


I looked it up. Japan has the same copyright protection as most of this planet. Namely protection for 70 years after the death of the original author. The very premise of this flaim bait-y topic is invalidated through that alone.

Unless all here think that genres and art styles need to be protected. Goodbye sitcom, goodbye police procedural, goodbye anything even remotely based on the hero's journey and goodbye to any period of art in existence. All of you should have died after the first person figured out those styles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_movement#1965%E2%80%932 000
Artists coping and learning from other artists. How dare they?

Edit: The historic Captain Marvel/Shazam v Superman lawsuit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rccKWKWS54
The videos skips the creation of Marvelman that resulted from this decades-long nightmare who himself became the subject of a historic lawsuit. The copyright saga of Marvelman:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smASGYJG-Ps

You might notice that the crazy lawsuits all hinge on technicalities and Superman himself lost his copyright for a hot minute so the lesson here is this. Don´t trust trials to go your way regardless of how sure you are. This is something publishers absolutely understand and none of them want to kick the hornet's nest unless clear as day plagiarism, like this case of tracing SUETSUGU Yuki, stares back at them. Yet even she was let out of the doghouse and look at her success now.

Most mangaka either have the copyright to their IPs or co-own it so the willingness to start a lawsuit will then fall on one or two people.

Last edited by residentgrigo at 5:23 pm, May 23

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