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Manga Rock Site Shuts Down With Launch of INKR Comics

posted on by Alex Mateo
Comic distribution platform's beta launches works from Tokyopop, Zhiyin Animation, Tan Comics

Pirated manga aggregator app Manga Rock shut down its service and launched on Tuesday a beta app for iOS and Android devices for INKR Comics, a new legitimate comics distribution platform. The service is partnering with publishers including North American comic and manga publisher Tokyopop, FanFan, Comic Loft, and Tan Comics to publish manga, webtoons, and manhua digitally. The staff of INKR Comics revealed a sample of the launch lineup of comics on Sunday.

The platform includes the following comics: Battle Through the Heavens from Zhiyin Animation; Su Brothers' School Life from Comic Loft; A World Ruled By Cats by Jian Jian from FanFan; Generation Wu by Han, Shaohui Li, and Billy Tan from Tan Comics; and Hero And Shero from Tan Comics.

The app's beta includes Home and Explore tabs, an adaptive viewer, and an account system, and it will add features such as "My Library" and personalized recommendations in the future.

The Manga Rock app is no longer available through the App Store or Google Play Store.

Background

Manga Rock revealed last September its plan to shut down its service and rebrand as the MR Comics platform.

The developer had announced plans to make MR Comics a "100% official comics platform." Its vision for the platform was 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 last year and keep the service accessible while developing MR Comics. However, they decided to remove Manga Rock while MR Comics continued 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 last September 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 last August criticizing Manga Rock. Their Japanese Twitter thread has accumulated about 60,000 retweets since its posting.

In the tweets, Takahashi described the Manga Rock app for Japanese speakers. (The app was region-blocked for users is Japan.) Not only did Manga Rock share illegal scans of numerous manga series, the app also had a paid subscription service that cost 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 were unaware that it was an illegal service.

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

Sources: INKR Comics' blog post and website, MR Comics


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