manga04_jpg login_tab_left_jpg
Username:   Password:    Forgot Password?
Try out our new iPhone application!
Manga Poll
What do you drink in the morning most often?
Soda, pop, soft drinks, cola, coke
Other alcoholic beverage
Other non-alcoholic beverage
See Old Polls

Manga is the Japanese equivalent of comics
with a unique style and following. Join the revolution! Read some manga today!

Coded in ConTEXT

Join #baka-updates

RSS Feed
center_left_tab Forums center_right_tab

You are now viewing a topic.

New Poll - Scanlation Ethics

Back to News  See threaded view

Pages (6) [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ] Next You must be registered to post!
From User Message Body
Post #569336

5:52 am, Sep 9 2012
Posts: 300

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.

Post #569341

7:18 am, Sep 9 2012
Posts: 2

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.

Last edited by xhixhi at 7:52 am, Sep 9

Post #569348
user avatar
Resident Odd

9:09 am, Sep 9 2012
Posts: 665

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.

Post #569446 - Reply to (#569214) by JustPassingBy

6:00 am, Sep 10 2012

Post Deleted

Post #569478
user avatar

2:01 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 324

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.

Active translations list
Completed translations list
Dropped translations (all for good reason)
Post #569484
user avatar

2:55 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 89

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

Post #569491

4:21 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 4

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

Post #569496

4:57 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 4

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.

Post #569502 - Reply to (#569496) by NWDD
user avatar

5:39 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 764

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.

Post #569504

6:12 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 1041

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

Post #569514

7:55 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 4

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.

Post #569516 - Reply to (#569261) by Oddwaffle
user avatar

7:59 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 1

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.

Post #569535 - Reply to (#569280) by Dionaea
yarny, yarny

9:51 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 95

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.

Post #569537
yarny, yarny

10:12 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 95

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.

Post #569542

11:13 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 70

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.

Pages (6) [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ] Next You must be registered to post!

Back to News  Back to Top

Search This Topic:
Manga Search