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Negima's Akamatsu Wants to Put Dōjinshi on Manga Site (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Ken Akamatsu: Split ad revenues between dōjinshi creators & original creators they parody; site's beta launches

Manga creator Ken Akamatsu (Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Love Hina) revealed in a Livedoor interview posted on Thursday that he wants his J-Comi manga website to legally distribute dōjinshi (self-published works) that parody other works. Akamatsu announced last week that his website is posting out-of-print manga for free with advertising support, and the site has just launched its beta test.

Akamatsu said that manga parody dōjinshi are basically unauthorized now, but added that they would be legal if the creators of the parodied original works gave their permission. (Unlike in the United States, the current Japanese Copyright Law does not have a fair-use clause to allow parodies and similar derivative works without requiring permission. The sales of dōjinshi at Comic Market and similar conventions are essentially unauthorized, even though the restrictions on derivative materials are largely ignored and unenforced at these conventions.)

Akamatsu suggests putting advertising in dōjinshi and splitting the advertising revenues between the original creators and the dōjinshi creators. Akamatsu added that he believes that "Japanese dōjinshi are a important part of our cultural heritage."

He noted that dōjinshi that are often scanned and released widely online within hours of Comic Market. Since parody dōjinshi themselves infringe on copyrights (under current Japanese laws), dōjinshi creators have little recourse when their works are uploaded online without authorization. However, Akamatsu said that if the original creators gave their permission, then the dōjinshi creators can also claim copyrights on their works.

J-Comi's Beta Test & Love Hina

As Akamatsu announced on the official J-Comi blog on Monday, the website's beta test period launched at noon on Friday (10:00 p.m. on Thursday EST). Even though his Love Hina manga is still in print, Akamatsu is posting all 14 volumes for free for one month to test the viability of the business model. Each Japanese-language volume has six pages of advertising and no digital rights management (DRM).

Akamatsu suggests that personal computer and Apple iPad users download the high-resolution PDF (Adobe's Portable Document Format) version of the manga, while Apple iPhone and Android smartphone users can read the low-resolution version due to faster downloads. There are also embedded comic viewers in the website for users of personal computers and Japanese mobile phones who do not wish to download. Amazon Kindle users must first download the PDF files on a personal computer and transfer them over USB.

[Via Temple Knights]

Image © Jcomi Inc.

Update: Akamatsu indicated in a Tweet at 10:33 p.m. Japan Time (8:33 a.m. EDT, or about 10 and a half hours after the beta launch) that there have been a total of 200,000 downloads. While he acknowledged that he is implementing advertising based on impressions (as opposed to advertising based on guaranteed click-through), he said that it appears that he can monetize the site.

follow-up of Negima's Akamatsu Plans Free Site for Out-of-Print Manga
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