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New Poll - Scanlation Ethics

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8:58 pm, Sep 10 2012
Posts: 184

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.

Last edited by Hell_Clues at 9:11 pm, Sep 10 2012

Post #569684
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8:35 pm, Sep 11 2012
Posts: 1021

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.

Post #569725

8:49 am, Sep 12 2012
Posts: 130

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.

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5:01 pm, Sep 12 2012
Posts: 566

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.

Post #569809 - Reply to (#569307) by thevampirate
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2:14 am, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 161

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.

The Company
Post #569814 - Reply to (#569504) by TaoPaiPai
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2:24 am, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 161

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.

The Company
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Certified addict

6:50 am, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 301

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.

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Post #569854

9:59 am, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 76

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.

Last edited by Ashoka at 10:18 am, Sep 13 2012

Post #569860

11:08 am, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 10

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?

Post #569888
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3:02 pm, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 18

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.

Post #569907 - Reply to (#569888) by sophie0
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6:12 pm, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 566

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


6:30 pm, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 3

not about scanlation, but relevant in general piracy

btw I vote no.

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10:03 pm, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 620

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!

Post #569932 - Reply to (#569907) by KaoriNite
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11:59 pm, Sep 13 2012
Posts: 18

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.)


2:29 am, Sep 14 2012
Posts: 354

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......

Last edited by mysstris at 2:35 am, Sep 14 2012

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