THE FOLLOWING POSTS CONTAINS LINKS TO A SITE THAT CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT IS CONSIDERED NOT SAFE FOR WORK (NSFW!) If you find any of the content that I am sharing with you in this post patently offensive, then do not click on those links. In fact, Google “Manga Plagiarism”. I’m sure there will be some website with half a clue as to the crisis at hand. VIEWER DISCRETION IS STRONGLY ADVISED!
The Japanese are a very nationalistic people. In other cultures, their pro-Japanese behavior is sometimes considered racist. They aren’t too keen about people of mixed race (even people from China or Korea) or foreigners—especially Westerners!
While these statements do not apply to everyone of Japanese decent or from the island nation, the visceral comments (NSFW on both links!) left on the Japanese 2ch boards (the site which inspired the creation of 4chan) about the piracy of manga and anime have infuriated both Japanese and non-Japanese alike. And Sankaku Complex (NSFW) appears to be ground zero for this both the problem of piracy but also the more egregious problem: PLAGIARISM! (caution, NSFW!)
If there is anything more shocking and controversial than the pornographic content on Sankaku Complex (which for the rest of this post will be refered to as SC) which is sometimes discussed on the otaku (nerd) website, it is the irrefutable evidence that various manga producers have engaged in blatant and deliberate acts of plagiarism! And the problem is not limited to Japan!
SC gives some pretty thorough accounts, via 2ch (pronounced “two channel”, by the way,) in which some of the most popular publishers on both sides of the ocean have conspired to let Google Images and some Photoshopping do the drawing for them.
I’m sure many of you were shocked to read about the incidents where the Chinese were making knock-offs of various corporations and OEM (original equiment manufacturer) products they weren’t supposed to sell but did anyway under a different name that was a parody of the name of the product the item was suppost to represent. China is no stranger to Manga Plagarism, and Japan has been livid about this problem. But mention it happening in Japan and there is denial by accused publishers who are currently being authoritarian in their pursuit in cracking down on people uploading manga on the Internet. Does this sound familiar? It should.
Those of you who recall in the last decade the whole incident with RIAA suing grandmas with no computers, 12 year old girls, and dead people and trying to send people to the gallows for downloading a single track. I mean, look how well that turned out of them. It was a total failure and in the end, self-publishing became more popular among artists who could sell their music directly on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, or just give it out for free and not get ripped off by their record label.
Japan’s problem with the manga and anime industry is the same problem the music industry had here in the West, and they refuse to adapt their business model to this new technology that is all the rage in the west right now with Graphic.ly and ComiXology and downloadable content provided by Marvel, DC, Top Cow, and just about any other comic book producer you can think of. But the manga producers don’t want to have any part of it. (NSFW) And they will lose because if it.
For a nation that has an aging population, deep racial tensions, and a decreasing birth rate because of those problem, their most interesting export appears to have the same problem that just about every other industry is having in the world right now.
The manga industry is having issues with closing down studios and firing Mangaku (manga artists) because of what the industry deems a “lack of talent”. In other words, it finds it more profitable keeping the artists who rip off other producers (until the get caught and deny like hell) and suing anyone with two hands and a keyboard regardless if they have a scanner or not.
The most recent offender/victim is Jump Magnazine who was caught committing one of the most vulgar things any artist can do: TRACING! (NSFW)
Yet the resources in punishing piracy (especially by the locals who share new manga with Westerners) are being far more invested in than the punishment of ripping off other manga. (There is a distinction of parody and homage, but as you can see in the SC posts, there is very little of that.)
However, it becomes a Western problem when the images of Westerners (and especially of celebrities, fashion designers, and even basketball players) are inserted, altered, and yet you can clearly tell these images were photoshopped! (NSFW)
Yet the mainstream press hasn’t even picked up this story, even during the NBA players strike.
We have yet to scratch the surface of this problem, and with Hollywood Lawyers salivating for SOPA and PIPA support (which this post in no way justifies support as there is nothing to support the case for internet censorship), they didn’t bother to stick up for people and companies whose images and products were used without permission. (It’s one thing to do it on a message board or blog but completely different if your industry is in book publishing.)
I’m hoping tonight’s post will raise awareness of how completely f*cked up the global market is, Japan’s manga industry, and American law. Because from what I’ve read the past few months, nobody has been properly informed about the real egregious crimes that go on in the world while the victimless crimes are expected to be severely punished. The priority for justice no longer serves the people no mater what country you live in, no matter whose laws you follow, no matter if your government is a democracy or a diet. The law goes after the wrong people for the wrong reason at the wrong time.
Hopefully the Japanese will wake up and smell the wasabi and realize the true criminals are the ones calling themselves victims as that doesn’t seem to be happening here Stateside.