Japan Cracks Down on Licensing for Online Mangas

28 Aug

Within the last three years, as a fan of manga, I’ve been able to keep up with my favorites, such as Detective Conan and Claymore, through online websites that provide manga for people who 1) cannot afford to purchase Japanese mangas from Japan 2) Cannot read Japanese and like to read translations of the work online. I recently got hip to this method when I was watching the anime Case Closed. I found out Case Closed never finished its full run, so I watched the online Japanese version. But that was too slow, and I was anxious to know what happened next. I should also add that anime is so long, I just wanted to know if there would be an end to it all. So I stumbled upon online manga websites that offered free manga scanlations and translations. I have found this to be one of the greatest benefits of internet and online communication.

However, recently, Japan decided to crack down on the law. Any licensed manga is forbidden from being scanned and posted online without copyright permission. I guess websites such as Manga Fox and One manga became too popular, and Japanese companies noticed it. Japanese companies want a piece of the pie. The editorial houses were losing money as a result of people reading the scans online. And I have to admit, I’m guilty of dodging prices at my nearest Barnes and Nobles for English versions of Full Metal Alchemist and Naruto mangas. I can’t blame them for wanting to get paid for the effort they put forth themselves. This is especially true for people who live in Japan.

And yet, I also see how this can be a problem for fans oversees. In their attempt to convince fans to buy they actual manga, it might have a different result. People might just stop supporting manga altogether, and stick to the things within their own countries. Then not only will you suffer in sales, but fanbases will decline. Fan bases are important because they guarantee the spreading of information from person to person. If information spreads, the popularity will increase and the demand will increase, causing the item to be available in areas that have high demand. For oversees fans, who don’t have easy access to Japanese mangas, this license “crack-down” is a nightmare.

I’m not sure about other fans of manga, but for me, manga is too expensive. There are some mangas out there that have English versions created by Viz Media, but they don’t update as fast as online scanlations do. And if you’re a little kid who can’t afford to buy the manga no matter what country the manga is in, this is a problem. Since America doesn’t keep up with manga well enough for me, I’d have to buy it from Japan. But buying a manga from Japan in order to keep up is an expensive ordeal. Aside from the fact I can’t understand a lick of Japanese. Trying to read it would be headache.

Also, very few stores in the US carry all of the mangas I’m looking for. Maybe some animes come on DVD, but mangas like Detective Conan are no longer sold in America. Personal translators have to translate it. And I’m happy they do. Otherwise, I’d be pretty disappointed. Some stores don’t order it on time (or don’t care about foreign stories), especially the ones that are not as popular.

Obviously, there is a REASON why people read it online. So why not consider the reasons and make some allowances? Well, manga is just entertainment. With all entertainment there is a price. It’s not like it’s something serious like getting rid of free healthcare. But it’s enough to shake some things around. People look forward to reading manga and the next installment. Manga is a way to give insight into Japanese culture and entertainment and spread cultural values. Without western contact with Japanese literature, music, and other forms of entertainment, many of those mangas and animes wouldn’t really be as popular as they are.

However, the companies need to make money. So why don’t they create their own overseas manga websites for people oversees to be able to read translated works as they come out? Or get a hold of websites and become like facebook and youtube, which makes money off of social networks? It doesn’t take away from the fans or the creators.

Well the sad truth is money is the game here, and money is the root of all evil. It takes the fun out of everything, but it’s how our modern society runs and keeps the balance of an economy. So the best thing people overseas can do is to support English manga as best we can. I don’t know, If I can’t read certain mangas first online, I’m never going to know about it, and then never will read it again. That sounds fair to me. I am the first person to boycott when things get a little rough, and I think consideration of the fans needs to be taken into account here.

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