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New Poll - Scanlation Ethics

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Post #569241
user avatar

4:26 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 26

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.

Post #569247 - Reply to (#569214) by JustPassingBy
user avatar
his and her sonnet

5:01 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 1127

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

Post #569249 - Reply to (#569247) by sarah-eats-cupcakes
user avatar

5:11 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 18

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.

Post #569251
user avatar
The H Emperor

5:12 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 501

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

Post #569252
user avatar

5:35 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 39

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

Post #569254 - Reply to (#569249) by sophie0
user avatar
his and her sonnet

6:02 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 1127

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

Post #569256 - Reply to (#569254) by sarah-eats-cupcakes
user avatar

6:18 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 18

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.

Post #569259
user avatar

6:29 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 432

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.

Post #569260
user avatar

6:53 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 66

^ agreed.

Retired K-translator
Post #569261

7:07 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 87

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.

Last edited by Oddwaffle at 7:20 pm, Sep 8

Post #569263
yarny, yarny

7:23 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 95

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.

Post #569273 - Reply to (#569217) by connerity

8:58 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 65

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. -_-'

Post #569275 - Reply to (#569234) by figjam

9:08 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 65

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.

Post #569276 - Reply to (#569275) by Dionaea
user avatar

9:17 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 18

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.

Post #569280 - Reply to (#569263) by yarn

10:01 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 65

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.

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