In a feature posted over their bimonthly magazine, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published an article explaining in detail about the Japanese manga culture and the connecting issue about piracy.
The article, titled “The Manga Phenomenon”, explained in full detail about the history of manga in Japan and its economic and cultural significance.
The article also discussed the manga as a cultural phenomenon, adding that because of manga, Japan has become one of the world’s largest exporters of cultural products.
But the main focal point of the article is the subheading “An industry under threat”, which describes that the Japanese manga industry is under constant threat because of rampant piracy.
“The Internet offered fans a wonderful solution. Many learned Japanese, acquired the original manga, then scanned, translated, edited and posted them on the Internet for free downloading” the article said.
The article explained the process of scanlation, which is the scanning of manga and translating it to be posted online, The article also exposed the ways in which the person who made the scan can earn profit.
“Scanlation groups, of which there are now well over a thousand, are perpetuating a highly corrosive form of piracy that is threatening the industry, causing global manga sales to plummet and forcing publishers to lay off staff. From 2007 to 2009, for example, U.S. manga sales fell by 30 percent forcing a leading publisher to lay off 40 percent of its workforce.” The article added.
Though manga piracy is still a concern, publishers are now making ways to reach out to manga fans in legal ways, Kadokawa, the leading Japanese publisher, has released a number of titles in key Asian markets, and Osamu Tezuka Productions are making available, legal English-language manga on tablets.
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