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Showing up late to the great Manga/Anime/Scan/Fansub/P2P debate...

filed under , 27 February 2010, 23:18 by

…with a bag of stale pretzels.

You ever been in a situation where a friend of yours was throwing a party, but you had to work until 10 that night and couldn’t make it until well after the shindig was underway, and folks had come, drank, hooked-up, and left before you even made it out to your friend’s place?

And you heard about the awesome jello-shooters, and the single-barrel bourbon, and the imported beer, and it’s all gone by the time you roll up and the only thing that’s left is half a keg of cheap, evil-smelling american lager, a bowl of stale pretzels, and what appears to be the all-male membership of the local uni “Frat Boy Studies Club” losing to the Intramural Beer Pong Team?

Still, a kegger is a kegger even if you’re late, and the only thing to do is start drinking.

##

My belaboured analogy aside—

There has been a lot of twitter and blog activity around this guy, Nick, and what his half-assed comic book might mean for new publisher Radical, and also what his actions and the vehement reaction on the part of a fraction of manga fans might say about both the alleged plagiarism and other acts of outright theft — like, say… fansubs, scanlations, and things-out-there-pretending-to-be-fansubs-and-scans that are just sleazy, lazy rips of officially licensed product.

Pro Tip: Icarus is not a scanlation group, and [R1 DVD] in a bittorrent filename is theft, straight up.

Deb has the best summary up, and the conversation continues (on twitter and in the comments at manga.about.com) and Really, This is a Gift that Keeps on Giving — we could argue free vs artist vs fan vs responsibility vs expectation vs sustainability vs what is wanted vs what is owed vs market factors vs New Media bullshit until the eventual heat death of the universe. There are partisans on all seven (eight? thirteen?) sides willing to argue their points to the bitterest of bitter ends, and nothing happens — and for some, ‘nothing happens’ is exactly what they want: no change at all to the status quo that enables their bad and illegal habits.

Sure, you like manga and anime. You can tell me so on the internet, you can quote Haruhi chapter and verse and can argue the finer points of Gundam Wing vs Macross Frontier. You’re a geek and a nerd and an expert and I’m just a poseur who shouldn’t have an opinion (or be allowed an opinion) because I dirty myself with the actual commerce of manga — since I sell books for a living it should be past obvious that I’ve sold out.

Gods, so much is wrong with our society, internet or otherwise.

Anyway.

For those of you willing to consider the alternate point of view, I have three links for you. Two years ago I started to research fansubs for a column, but I never managed to finish writing it, and now a lot of the points are moot, or superseded, by events that have occurred since. But, my early readings are still valid (or more valid) and I’d like to share:

The Ethics of Fansubbing, credited to ‘dejiko’ at everything2.com from July 2000. This is an early take from a former fansubber and how things were about to go horribly wrong 10 years ago http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=634984

I’m not a lawyer, but this guy is: go read “Of Otakus and Fansubs: A Critical Look at Anime Online in Light of Current Issues in Copyright Law” by Jordan S. Hatcher http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/SCRIPT-ed/vol2-4/hatcher.asp

and

Ask John @ AnimeNation from March 2008, Does the Anime Industry Deserve Some Blame for the Popularity of Fansubs? http://www.animenation.net/blog/2008/03/04/ask-john-does-the-anime-industry-deserve-some-blame-for-the-popularity-of-fansubs/

##

So now I may never write that column, and these are all older links (showing that this is not a new problem by any stretch) but at least the effort wasn’t wasted.



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