Creators/Publishers Issue Letter to Shops That Digitize Manga

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
122 artists, 7 publishers express concern for shops that scan books without creators' OK

On Monday, 122 manga creators joined seven Japanese publishing companies in signing a letter of concern to over 100 Japanese shops that are known to scan and digitize works without authorization by the creators or publishers. Major Japanese publishing companies Kadokawa Shoten, Kodansha, Kobunsha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Shinchosha, and Bungeishunju, along with the manga creators, conveyed their worry over the shops' policies of making digital copies of manga for a small fee without authorization. This is the first time Japanese publishers and authors have joined together to issue an inquiry letter of this type.

One typical shop advertises on its website that it will cut the pages out of one book and scan them for 800 yen (about US$10). The shop will also scan one book without cutting it apart for 2,500 yen (US$32).

Publishers and manga authors are concerned that this digitization is an infringement on proper usage of the works and may violate Japanese copyright laws. The letter signers said that because these businesses do not seek the authors' permission, they should not create scanned copies of the publishers' properties. However, because these copies are claimed to be for individuals' private usage, these policies remain in a gray area under Japanese law.

The letter writers are seeking a response from scanning shops by September 16. After that date, the publishers are hoping to discuss how to move forward and create policies resolving the issue with the digitizing businesses.

Sources: Shinbunka via Hachima Kikō, Asahi Shimbun

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