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Creator Shuho Sato Addresses Illegally Uploaded Manga

posted on 2010-09-20 21:51 EDT by Egan Loo
Umizaru/Say Hello to Black Jack creator: it is better to promote than to regulate

Shuho Sato, the creator of the Say Hello to Black Jack (pictured below), Umizaru, and The Isle of TOKKOU manga, addressed the issue of unauthorized uploads of manga in a series of Twitter posts between Thursday, September 16 and Sunday, September 18. Sato had just posted the entire first chapter of his Umizaru manga on YouTube last Tuesday to promote the Saturday opening of the live-action film The Last Message: Umizaru. His Manga on Web site also announced on Wednesday that the rest of the 119-chapter manga is free for online reading for one month.

While discussing the issue of online manga with other Twitter users on Thursday, Sato said, "Illegal manga uploads have become a problem at times, but I think it is more constructive to use their influence for promotion instead of regulating them. Regulation is not for the benefit of the readers or the works, but for the self-satisfaction of those who regulate."

Sato said that there is no data that proves that falling sales of manga tankōbon (compiled book volumes) are caused by illegal uploads. He later cited the example of One Piece, for which the publisher asserted has incurred several billion yen (tens of millions of U.S. dollars) in damages from illegal uploads. However, Sato notes that One Piece's print runs have been setting records with each new volume, when print runs for manga series usually drop by 10% with each new volume.

On Sunday, Sato added, "At the risk of repeating myself, illegal uploads are, after all, illegal. So, one shouldn't do it, but if the author authorizes it, then it's legal and I think they should be used for publicity. As for my own works, as long as it is for noncommercial use, please do what you like with them." However, Sato cautioned that Umizaru is a joint work with original story co-creator Yōichi Komori, so his blanket permission does not apply to Umizaru.

Sato has been self-publishing his own manga titles online in Japanese since last summer. He uploads his latest work, New Say Hello to Black Jack, within a month of its serialization in Shogakukan's Weekly Big Comics Spirits magazine. His Manga on Web site also distributes other creators' manga online as well. In February, Sato revealed that he earned about 500,000 yen (about US$5,500) within the first six weeks of 2010 through online manga. Over the course of several blog entries last year, Sato described the state of the manga industry which led to his decision to self-publish his manga online.

Last month, Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) manga creator Yana Toboso posted a blog entry criticizing unauthorized videos and downloads, and that triggered long discussions on multiples forums in multiple languages. Other creators, such as Abnormal Physiology Seminar creator TAGRO, expressed their support for Toboso, while users debated her stance and the legal issues involved. Later in August, manga creators Rei Hiroe (Black Lagoon), Kazuki Kotobuki, and Kouta Hirano (Hellsing) then voiced their opposition to unauthorized uploads of manga in an exchange over Twitter.

[Via Temple Knights]


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