World Copyright Watchdog Publishes Piece on Manga Piracy

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
WIPO blames illegal online distribution for manga industry decline

As a Tuesday blog post noted, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published an article, titled "The Manga phenomenon," discussing internet manga piracy issues in September. WIPO's article explains the origin and modern cultural prominence of manga as well as problems the industry faces in light of illegal scanning and uploading of manga titles.

WIPO's article states that illegal scanning, translating, and uploading of manga began as foreign interest in Japanese works inspired fans to distribute otherwise unavailable manga titles online. According to the article, today's manga is "suffering acutely from the scourge of piracy," and scanlation groups "are perpetuating a highly corrosive form of piracy" that may destroy the industry. The article continues to describe the global decline in manga sales that WIPO attributes to "rampant" unauthorized online distribution.

While the article noted that Japanese artists are struggling to earn a living from their work in light of the piracy, WIPO also mentioned that publishers' recent initiatives may help to curb the problem. WIPO notes that Asian manga publishing projects like Kadokawa's new manga magazine in China may help increase the legal foreign manga supply. The copyright watchdog's article also describes how tablet computer manga publishing, such as the Tezuka Osamu Magazine Club iPad app, increases the availability of authorized digital manga copies.

Crunchyroll and TV Tokyo recently joined forces in a lawsuit against 13 illegal uploaders in several countries. Last year, 36 publishers in Japan's Digital Comic Association and several American publishers formed a coalition to fight against the growing online scanlation phenomenon. Manga creator Ken Akamatsu also proposed "purifying" file-shared manga with authorized ads earlier this year.

[Via Techdirt]

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