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Harmony between scanlators & publishers


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#857164



Joined: 22 May 2016
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 10:43 am Reply with quote
Hello Everyone!
Please excuse me if my English is a mess, I'm still working on it.

Condensed version:
I want to fulfill a project so that Japanese publishers and scanlators can work harmoniously to let the manga thrive. User will pay a small amount that will be shared between the copyright owner, the scanlator and my site, sustaining the economic of the manga industry. If you like this kind of reality, please give me your support, it is the only way to accomplish it!

Details:
Since a couple of months ago I'm devising and refining an idea that could bring harmony between publishers and scanlators and let the manga industry thrive even more. I've researched all the previous attempts, trying to figure out why they failed and to learn from their experiences.

As of today, I researched: JManga, MangaHelpers and MangaReborn. I'm still researching on DMG (Digital Manga Guild), they are still enduring but I don't really like their model. I already know RakutenManga, but again I don't like their system and I think any scanlator would do the same.

In my opinion, the mistake common to all 4 projects was to degenerate the scanlators, to see them nearly as employees, somebody to lead and/or subjugate. My project will be different at the core. Its goal is to nurse the incredible passion that scangroups always demonstrate and to let it raise even more! There's no better engine than passion, but it is also easily spoiled; it needs the good environment to thrive and I think I could provide it.

On the other hand we have the publishers. In the last few years they have been more reactive to piracy, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry even instituted the MAG (Manga Anime Guardians)! However they will never move if there's no money involved, therefore the website have to be a business.

The project will be the pacemaker: open a business, talk with publishers, get the licenses and then let the scanlators and all the community benefit from it. Please took in mind this isn't something thought the last night, I've an actual business plan and the core element of it are the scangroups and our community. I perfectly understand their passion because it's also my passion!

This isn't a bulletproof type of project, I've to admit that the chance of success are 10% at best, but still I'm fully (fooly, maybe? Anime hyper) committed to make it work! I'm also taking the right countermeasures so that if everything go wrong, the only one who will lose something will be me. I don't want to mess with people, that's for sure.

How it will work for users:
More or less like any other online reader, but the user will pay a small amount to buy each chap. We are also considering a subscription model. I plan to release also an app, but who want can download the scans and use what they prefer too.

There will also be a forum and all, but probably those "accessory" features will be implemented after the launch. Great care has been taken in making the reader. I'm an user afterall and for me that is the most important feature. If and when 2 or more scangroup release the same chap, the user will choose which one to buy.

There will be a Quality Assurance system, but given the sheer amounts of titles I envision, the user will be the primary judge of the scangroup's work. If you don't like the quality, just downvote the chap and after a bunch of negative feedback our QA team will inspect the case and eventually suspend the scangroup.

How it will work for scangroups:
Every scangroup will retain its identity and will have a personal page inside the website, with all the manga published until then and what they are working on. Everytime an user buy a chapter translated by them, the money will be splitted among the copyright holder, them and my site. They will also choose on which manga to work on and will have 0 constraints: no fixed fee, no deadlines, no minimum sales, nothing!

If 2 (or more) want to translated the same manga at the same time, they can. With this I don't mean a joint, but that each scangroup will work on their own and so we will have Chap 001 translated by A,and another Chap 001 translated by B.

But what happens when someone grow tired of it? I think we all now that scanlators are a fickle category xD Even if some group doesn't release any new chapter, they will still get paid when someone buy their past works. That's all.

How it will work for publishers:
They just grant the licenses, get a big share of the revenues and provide HQ scans. Done.

What's happens if it will fails?
Nothing. All the scangroups, publishers and users will continue as they always did. I will be the only one to lose a big chunk of my savings, but this is my commitment and I'm prepared for this outcome.
_______________________________________________________________________

As I've said, the chance of success aren't much, but it will drop to 0% if the community doesn't give me their full support. Only that will make this whole project credible to the publishers' eyes. Hence, here I am.

If any users think this project deserve credits, please spread the word and assert your support here Smile

I've made this topic primarily to get feedback on it and pry on what users think about. I would love to receive suggestions and constructive critics, but please refrain from posting something like "publishers will never accept that". I know this is hard, but not impossible and I have a plan that I can't really discuss here, but I've already communicated it to scangroups who I've talked to.

I think this is the mature time to push it on publishers, they already want to expand into digital and others Countries, has we can see in this interview:
animenewsnetwork.com/interview/2015-09-15/kodansha-advanced-media-on-the-future-of-manga/.92965

That's all for now!
Cheers
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Psycho 101
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 3:12 pm Reply with quote
Sorry but we generally do not allow self promotion or projects like this here at ANN. Good luck in your endeavors but I am locking this thread.
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Psycho 101
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 8:57 am Reply with quote
After a request from the user to reconsider the mods discussed the thread & topic and we've decided to re-open this thread (after cleaning up the OP some) and allow discussion to take place. Under 1 big condition. That is there are to be ZERO links to any scanlation sites what so ever. Given the nature of the topic it would be impossible to discuss it without naming sites in the discussion itself. We will allow that only in this thread. However, there will be a zero tolerance policy on links. Any post that provides a link is removed in it's entirety on the spot. No edits & no warnings. If it happens multiple times we will re-lock the thread (and possibly warn the user directly). We feel this topic could garner some worthwhile discussion, but we cannot have links to illegal scanlation sites here. We also ask everyone please extra civil as well. We're going out on a limb here to allow this discussion so please don't make us regret it. Thank you.
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#857164



Joined: 22 May 2016
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 10:33 am Reply with quote
Thank you very much ANN for your tolerance! Smile
I think this topic can stay clean of any reference to actual scangroups and the like ^^

So, everyone, what is your idea on scanlation? Do you think the scanlator's work is worthy and that we should encourage this kind of collaborative efforts in a legal way?
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littlegreenwolf



Joined: 10 Aug 2002
Posts: 4712
Location: Portland, Oregon
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 7:02 pm Reply with quote
First let me say I myself work on manga for a company which does something similar to what you're proposing, and was founded on teams of scanlators. We have a good relationship with a Japanese publisher and we release physical books and some of their magazines (digital only), with some chapters simultaneously released the same day as it is in Japan.

What you want to do... You can't do this without making a very special deal with whatever Japanese publisher holds the rights to the titles you want to release. There is maybe a rare instance where the artist has sole rights to their work, but getting a title the publisher is handling distribution on is hard. Getting a title that the publisher may even be considering to publish physically in English via a US publisher is way more unlikely.

What I can see this working well on is doujinshi, and I don't mean parody doujinshi, but self published works by artist, both big in the industry and new. If you deal with the artist directly, they have complete rights to these properties, and you can do whatever you want with these titles with their ok. And some groups online are doing this.

As to other stuff stated....

Digital Manga Guild's model is abhorrent and every professional I know who does typesetting for manga finds them disgusting because they take advantage of teenagers and college students who work for pretty much free. The company is a sinking ship of a company ran by some former Tokyopop manager, with an old tokyopop printer, and stay afloat with ero-manga sales of very poor quality books. They stick around because they don't have very many real employees and pay the scanlators peanuts. I personally know former employees and they didn't have ANYTHING good to say about their business model.

What you're describing, based on a chapter by chapter sales base, is basically asking scanlators to work for FREE, and then they're left hoping to get some change out of it in the end. I do this for a living. I also have a graphic-design related degree. I need a living wage, and in an art field I hear nothing but "I want to publish a book, but I need an artist/graphic designer. I can't pay you now but I can when I start selling books! :3" That is a HELL NO for someone trying to pay the bills. My skills were long studied and trained. They're worth as much money as any other professional skill.

If you were to follow the DMP method, like I said you'd get a lot of teenagers and college students. Some can commit full time to deadlines and the like, others will just disappear when they get bored. But you're also dealing with people who more than likely cannot afford the industry essential: Adobe Suite. Who pays for the software? What happens if Adobe gets wind of your business and discovers that the majority of your releases were produced with pirated software? Your model can't pay for this if you're paying them nickles and dimes (if they're lucky.) This is another reason why people who do this professionally are not cheap.

Also, what percentage would be going to the scanlation group? How much would the manager get paid? The translator? The graphic editors? The quality checkers? There's a lot of work that goes in these released, and again, I don't see this model making anyone doing the physical work on happy.

Then there's website infrastructure. Distribution? Online reader? And then digital piracy? Who deals with these things and how do you afford it?
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#857164



Joined: 22 May 2016
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:29 pm Reply with quote
Thank you littlegrennwolf for your amazing answer! :O

littlegreenwolf wrote:
First let me say I myself work on manga for a company which does something similar to what you're proposing, and was founded on teams of scanlators. We have a good relationship with a Japanese publisher and we release physical books and some of their magazines (digital only), with some chapters simultaneously released the same day as it is in Japan.

Very interesting! Could you please tell me more about your company? Perhaps PM me if you think this will go against the rules of ANN.

littlegreenwolf wrote:

What you want to do... You can't do this without making a very special deal with whatever Japanese publisher holds the rights to the titles you want to release. There is maybe a rare instance where the artist has sole rights to their work, but getting a title the publisher is handling distribution on is hard. Getting a title that the publisher may even be considering to publish physically in English via a US publisher is way more unlikely.

Yes, I know publishers are the ones who have the rights to distribution, I will talk directly with them. I will require only non-exclusive licenses for digital distributions, that's means they can give the same maga to others companies if they want to. This will increase the chance they will consider the project.

littlegreenwolf wrote:

What I can see this working well on is doujinshi, and I don't mean parody doujinshi, but self published works by artist, both big in the industry and new. If you deal with the artist directly, they have complete rights to these properties, and you can do whatever you want with these titles with their ok. And some groups online are doing this.

I think this will be hard to get enough traction to change the current manga scene and will have 0 impact on the piracy problem. That's said, I've already envisioned a future where the platform opens up to self-publishing, we need just some time Razz

littlegreenwolf wrote:

As to other stuff stated....

Digital Manga Guild's model is abhorrent and every professional I know who does typesetting for manga finds them disgusting because they take advantage of teenagers and college students who work for pretty much free. The company is a sinking ship of a company ran by some former Tokyopop manager, with an old tokyopop printer, and stay afloat with ero-manga sales of very poor quality books. They stick around because they don't have very many real employees and pay the scanlators peanuts. I personally know former employees and they didn't have ANYTHING good to say about their business model.

I recently found their work pipeline on the net and it's based on FTP! Anime hyper That's should be really bad to work with, so yes, I supposed they have an awful business model, but the crowdfunding part is interesting...

littlegreenwolf wrote:

What you're describing, based on a chapter by chapter sales base, is basically asking scanlators to work for FREE, and then they're left hoping to get some change out of it in the end. I do this for a living. I also have a graphic-design related degree. I need a living wage, and in an art field I hear nothing but "I want to publish a book, but I need an artist/graphic designer. I can't pay you now but I can when I start selling books! :3" That is a HELL NO for someone trying to pay the bills. My skills were long studied and trained. They're worth as much money as any other professional skill.

If you were to follow the DMP method, like I said you'd get a lot of teenagers and college students. Some can commit full time to deadlines and the like, others will just disappear when they get bored.

Please note the project is aimed to a collaborative efforts and not on hiring people, because the manpower required to keep up with Japan is just too much for a monolithic structured company, this is something history has made clear.
Sure, there's pro & cons in this model as well.
Like you said, a cons is that there's no guarantee of retribution and this is clearly bad.
However, scangroups will have total freedom as a big pro to balance it: no deadlines, no fixed fees; you decide the manga to work on, when and how do it, etc... Grow tired for any reason? Just stop publishing, and you will still earn from the past works as long as someone will buy them.
This isn't something idealistic and has a really good motivation with roots on the history of scanlation.
That's said, like any other model, this can't work well for everyone, the choice is up to you. Replacing all the distributors isn't the aim of the project, but to give the possibility to scanlators to become legal instead Smile
You would be surprised of how many scanlators think little about money. Many of them was initially against the project because it gives them money and they don't want someone to pay for the result of an hobby, of passion.
Therefore now they can also choose to devolve their share directly to the mangaka. They have a great ethic and I really appreciate it, indeed.

littlegreenwolf wrote:

But you're also dealing with people who more than likely cannot afford the industry essential: Adobe Suite. Who pays for the software? What happens if Adobe gets wind of your business and discovers that the majority of your releases were produced with pirated software? Your model can't pay for this if you're paying them nickles and dimes (if they're lucky.) This is another reason why people who do this professionally are not cheap.

Well, I suppose they can use anything they want to work with, GIMP should be a good free alternative. However, when they will upload the chap, they are also responsible for its legitimacy. You will also be surprised to know that many scanlators are adults with jobs xD Scanlation is a mature phenomenon on its own, it's been around for more than 15 years and some scanlator has a decade of experience on his shoulder.
That's said, if this go big and many scangroups use it, I suppose I can make some kind of deal with Adobe to let them get Photoshop (I think this is the only one required, isn't it?) if not for free, with a big discounts at least Wink

littlegreenwolf wrote:

Also, what percentage would be going to the scanlation group? How much would the manager get paid? The translator? The graphic editors? The quality checkers? There's a lot of work that goes in these released, and again, I don't see this model making anyone doing the physical work on happy.

On the contrary, I'm trying to make scanltors as happy as possible xD Please keep in mind that the more important factor here is to make they express their passion on a legal way! They already do this for free and passion alone.
That's said, I don't know exactly how much I could give them right now, it depends on the publishers, however I want this to be no less than 20% on each sales. This can seems little, but if you consider the potential volume of sales, this can become a lot, even more than 10k/month.
Like anything else regarding scangroups, it is up to them. The platform will gives two options:

  • You choose a global share. EG: 40% translator, 30% cleaner, 30% typesetter
  • You choose the share for each chap, however the system will remember the last configuration for each manga, so you can usually just click "publish", but you can tweak it if needed. Eventually this can have something like a "template" you can save & apply

This should suffice any needs, but we can eventually think something else going on.
Another funny thing is that no scanlators asked me about this Anime hyper Well, I've thought about it for them, fortunately lol

littlegreenwolf wrote:

Then there's website infrastructure. Distribution? Online reader? And then digital piracy? Who deals with these things and how do you afford it?


I'm a software developer, a fullstack one, therefore I'm building it from the ground up, aiming to the best UX (user experience) for Publishers, Scangroups and Users!
The distribution will be exclusively digital with an online reader (the only thing done for now xD), but user can also download all the bought manga.
Another big goal is to contrast piracy in our industry, but in a more innovative way: rendering it useless... Or well, less compelling at least! If you go out and speak with people, you'll see many of them follow scanlation because currently there's no legal way to read the manga they want and stay up to date with Japan.
Therefore keeping the service affordable for everyone and keeping up with Japan releases, many of the current "pirates" will convert. Obviously it will not remove piracy completely, but I think it will be a game breaker for sure!
Please note I'm not the first one to think this, we can take Steam as a wonderful example: 5 Piracy-Fighting Lessons From Steam for All Content Creators.
It has done the same thing in the Videogames industry and has done it damn well too! Razz
A quote from the article:
Quote:
Simply put, if pirates get a better experience, more people will pirate, rightly or wrongly. Every content creator needs to realize that.
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
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Location: Serra Gaucha
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:15 pm Reply with quote
Crunchyroll has that type of service but their selection is pathetic:

http://www.crunchyroll.com/comics/manga/alpha?group=all

If they had it expanded tenfold I would consider subscribing to it. I don't think people who read scanlations are so poor they cannot afford something like Netflix for manga. Its just that with scanlations you have access to several tens of thousands of manga that you wouldn't have access without it and there is no legal manga service to compete with that.
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#857164



Joined: 22 May 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:51 pm Reply with quote
Yes, Chruncy is doing a good job with its simulpub, but as you said, it's still a service that can't compete with scanlation. That's normal, there's no company that can stand the rhythm of an entire community, especially if it's as passionate as ours! Smile

By the way, I'm planning to set the price at 0.5 EUR per weekly chap, what do you think about that?
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Jose Cruz



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:23 pm Reply with quote
That's about 5 euros per volume. Too expensive in my opinion. I think that 1 euro per 100 pages would be a good price, if each chapter is about 20-30 pages that's .2 to .3 euros per chapter.

In Japan, Manga costs around 1 euro per 120-180 pages in the format of magazines.
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#857164



Joined: 22 May 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:51 am Reply with quote
Yes, but in Japan they don't have to translate it. If you look at the prices for USA, a volume range from 7 to 14$, while in Italy its more like 5~6 € and 0.5€ is still less than 3 cents per page, really not that much, isn't it?
But well, I'll see what I can do! ^^ I'm also thinking to a monthly subscription with unlimited access, but maybe it will be introduced after the launch
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st_owly
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:51 pm Reply with quote
Unless you're going to offer an unlimited access for lots of series subscription I'm not interested. I read scans as a way to either fill the gap between something getting legally released in paper form, or for things which don't stand a hope in hell of being legally released. If I'm going to have to spend >£5 per volume on a digital copy, I will just wait for the paper version.
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#857164



Joined: 22 May 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:44 am Reply with quote
st_owly wrote:
Unless you're going to offer an unlimited access for lots of series subscription I'm not interested. I read scans as a way to either fill the gap between something getting legally released in paper form, or for things which don't stand a hope in hell of being legally released. If I'm going to have to spend >£5 per volume on a digital copy, I will just wait for the paper version.


I can understand the preference for paper, but will you wait even more than a year for it? Anime hyper The main point of this project is to stay up to date with Japanese releases, that's why the format is chap instead of volume. This means you will spend just 2€/month to follow a weekly manga. Is it really that much?
The platform would have many manga that will not be released to the international audience otherwise, that's another strong point Smile
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:20 am Reply with quote
#857164 wrote:
Quote:
Yes, but in Japan they don't have to translate it.


That statement is ridiculous. No they don't have to translate it, they have to create it from scratch. The publisher has to cover not only their publication costs but the cost to pay the creators. While the cost to translate and reletter a manga is not insignificant it shouldn't be more that the cost to create it in the first place, especially since you intend to have it done by fans.

Crunchyroll's selection of manga may be limited, but from my point of view it is free since I subscribed for the anime.

Frankly any discussion of how much you would charge is premature. At this point this is all speculation. You talk a nice game, but until you have a significant number of both publishers and scanlators on board you have nothing to charge for. At this point you don't even have a proof of concept. Before you try to defend a pricing structure you should have something to sell other than wishful thinking.

Instead of trying to have a discussion here you need to be having private talks with the Japanese publishers and the major scanlator groups. Until you have a significant number of both on board any attempt at marketing is completely pointless.
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#857164



Joined: 22 May 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:55 pm Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
#857164 wrote:
Quote:
Yes, but in Japan they don't have to translate it.


That statement is ridiculous. No they don't have to translate it, they have to create it from scratch. The publisher has to cover not only their publication costs but the cost to pay the creators. While the cost to translate and reletter a manga is not insignificant it shouldn't be more that the cost to create it in the first place, especially since you intend to have it done by fans.


Yes, but that cost is directly reflected into the final price for me too! I'm doing this project because I know how damn hard is to come up with a good story (tried and failed many times xD) & keep up with deadlines (I have them in my job too... *grrr*), that's why I think paying for what they do is deserved.
It's true I will collaborate with fans for translations, but I intend to pay them as much as I can, I don't want to exploit anyone.
Therefore the cost of translation adds up with the cost of licenses (directly tied to the creation's cost), plus the cost to manage all the platform!

Alan45 wrote:

Frankly any discussion of how much you would charge is premature. At this point this is all speculation. You talk a nice game, but until you have a significant number of both publishers and scanlators on board you have nothing to charge for. At this point you don't even have a proof of concept. Before you try to defend a pricing structure you should have something to sell other than wishful thinking.


I'm not "defending", quite the opposite. I'm trying to understand what users would like and adapting to their demands if possible. More information means less errors.

Alan45 wrote:

Instead of trying to have a discussion here you need to be having private talks with the Japanese publishers and the major scanlator groups. Until you have a significant number of both on board any attempt at marketing is completely pointless.


I'm already moving for the scanlator's support and, at the time of writing, I have got 6 "ok" + 6 "maybe". Don't worry, I know what I have to do Wink

What I'm asking here is if you would use this kind of service, where translations are provided by scangroups. So, would you?
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:23 pm Reply with quote
If the translation is accurate and the relettering is well done, the source of the translation is of no consequence whatsoever. What is vitally important is that every bit of content on your site is there by the official approval of the rights holders. If any portion of your content is illegal you are simply another illegal aggregate site.

In answer to your question of will I use your site, that simply can't be answered at this point. It comes down to a cost/benefit issue. How much are you charging and how much you have that I want to read that I can't legally get elsewhere. Since I expect you will not have all of the publishers on board immediately (if ever) that decision will change as your offerings expand.

One area where you have some built in support is series abandoned by prior licensees before completion. There are a number of such series I would be willing to pay to access legally. On the other hand if something is, or will be issued here in print form I have no interest in an electronic version. Others likely will differ on that.

Where you will have an uphill battle is getting people to commit to unknown series. You will have to provide extended blurbs and a sample of the art work or will have to offer initial chapters for free. This is especially true if you are charging by the chapter or series. It is real easy to sample free stuff but less likely if you have to spend before you try. Ironically the more successful you are at getting series the harder it will be to make them stand out and be desirable.

There is, honestly, currently more manga being published legally in English and in print form than anyone can keep up with. Believe me I've tried. Shocked In order to attract the paying crowd you will have to offer something they feel they must have and can't get otherwise.
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