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Manga Piracy Site Manga Rock Rebrands as MR Comics

posted on by Alex Mateo
Not a Basement Studio develops new "100% official comics platform"

Pirated manga aggregator app Manga Rock revealed a plan to shut down its service and rebrand on Thursday. Manga Rock is rebranding as the MR Comics platform, and Manga Rock's website now redirects to a website for the new service.

The Manga Rock app is no longer available through the App Store or Google Play Store. Staff stated that they will keep "systems running for some time" so that users can back up their reading data.

The developer plans to make MR Comics a "100% official comics platform." Its vision for the platform is to raise awareness of the problems of scanlations, develop relationships and contracts with publishers and creators, build tools for publishers and creators to distribute and monetize content, and convert free scanlation readers to buyers of official content.

Staff initially planned to remove all pirated content from Manga Rock by the end of the year and keep the service accessible while developing MR Comics. However, they decided to remove Manga Rock while MR Comics continues development because they were "still inadvertently hosting and supporting the practices of piracy" through the previous service.

Not a Basement Studio, the Vietnamese developer that manages Manga Rock, told the J-Cast News website on Sunday that it would shut down the service. The studio stated that Manga Rock started as a project when the staff were college students, and it gathered scanlations that were already released. Not a Basement Studio also said:

At that time, we didn't understand the manga industry, and we didn't know the origin of the scanlations (including things without official licenses). As time has passed, we have come to understand the damage being incurred by manga creators and publishers. Moreover, as Manga Rock's popularity increased more and more, the damage also increased. Therefore we are deeply reflecting on our role in accelerating the popularity of scanlations, and we give our heartfelt apologies to the victims, manga creators and publishers. As a result, we plan to shut down our scanlation website and app. We also recommend that similar scanlation sites (there are many) shut down as well. We are truly sorry for causing problems for the manga industry.

Irodori Comics CEO On Takahashi posted a series of Tweets in both English and Japanese on August 27 criticizing Manga Rock. Their Japanese Twitter thread has accumulated more than 60,000 retweets since its posting.

In the tweets, Takahashi described the Manga Rock app for Japanese speakers. (The app is region-blocked for users is Japan.) Not only does Manga Rock share illegal scans of numerous manga series, the app also has a paid subscription service that costs US$4.99 per month. Due to this and the legitimacy the app gained from being hosted on the Google Play Store and the App Store, Takahashi argued that many users of the app are unaware that it is an illegal service.

Manga Rock launched in 2010. The app allows users to read manga chapters online or download them for offline viewing. The disclaimer for the app states: "All manga, character, and logos belong to their respective copyright owners." It also claims that Not A Basement Studio does not have any affiliation with the website that hosted the unauthorized manga scans.

The Japanese-language manga piracy site Mangamura became inaccessible in April 2018. Japanese publishers had filed criminal complaints against the website in summer through fall 2017, and Japanese authorities revealed in May 2018 that they were actively investigating Mangamura. Police have since made several arrests related to uploading unauthorized images on the site.

Source: MR Comics

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