Manga Creators Ask Book-Digitizing Shops to Stop
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
A group of seven Japanese writers and manga artists approached the Tokyo district court on Tuesday to seek legal action against two book-digitizing shops. The group believes the shops are violating Japanese copyright law by producing copies of manga and other works without the authors' permission.
Keigo Higashino (Heads), Jirō Asada (Mibu Gishiden), Arimasa Osawa (Koryu no Mimi), Mariko Hayashi (Niji no Natascha), Go Nagai (Cutey Honey, Mazinger Z), Kenshi Hirokane (Human Crossing), and Buronson (Fist of the North Star) are asking the Scan Box and Scan x Bank shops to stop reproducing copyrighted works. In September, a group of 122 manga creators joined seven Japanese publishing companies to sign a letter of concern to over 100 book-digitizing shops in Japan. Many shops announced they would stop book and manga-scanning practices, but Scan Box and Scan x Bank have not complied with the authors' and publishers' request, according to the seven creators' attorney Kensaku Fukui.
Scan Box advertises on its website that it will scan customers' books for a fee of 200 yen (about US$2.60) per centimeter of book thickness. Another typical shop offers to 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). Because such copies are claimed to be for individuals' private usage, these policies remain in a gray area under Japanese law.
According to Fukui, Higashino and the other writers and artists believe that Scan Box and Scan x Bank's practices move beyond duplication for individuals' private usage because the shops offer commercial scanning services to a wide clientele. The creators also cite customers' subsequent internet uploading of the scanned books as a problem and view book-digitalizing shops as enablers.
At a press conference, Hayashi stated that she and the other creators want to compromise with the shops to resolve the issue, but she also said the book-digitizing shops "are acting like hyenas by doing such illegal things." Buronson said book-scanning practices are painful for authors to see and called for people to "please love books more."