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New Poll - Scanlation Ethics

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4:18 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 76

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...

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An F to judge M!

4:32 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 383

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?


Last edited by Badkarma at 8:05 pm, Sep 8 2012

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4:41 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 313

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.


“The longer we live, the more weight we carry in our hearts.”
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5:01 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 147

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.


6:16 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 27

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.

Post #569307 - Reply to (#569234) by figjam
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7:39 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 141

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.

Post #569315 - Reply to (#569307) by thevampirate

8:37 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 2

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.

Last edited by figjam at 9:04 pm, Sep 8 2012

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8:52 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 53

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!

Obsession is a drop of water in the desert- crave it, savor it, remember it. ~Unknown
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8:54 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 774

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.

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Post #569320 - Reply to (#569263) by yarn
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8:59 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 774

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

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Post #569321 - Reply to (#569254) by sarah-eats-cupcakes
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9:15 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 774

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.

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10:05 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 2506

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.

This signature was recovered from Hades to serve in my rotting armies.
Post #569327
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Site Admin

10:12 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 56

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.

Post #569329
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10:24 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 50

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.

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10:28 pm, Sep 8 2012
Posts: 318

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*.

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