Scanlation Sites Evading Publisher Pressure?

By Ishaan . June 26, 2010 . 10:12am


As the international publisher coalition against scanlations picks up steam, scanlation aggregators such as MangaFox are coming under increasing pressure to remove licensed series from their site. And so they did, starting with Viz titles.


At least, that’s how it was supposed to appear from the outside. A little digging, however, revealed that MangaFox weren’t removing Viz-licensed titles from their servers — merely removing any visible links to them from the site’s interface’s. This means that the “removed” roster of titles was often still accessible via RSS feeds and direct page bookmarks.


One reason for this is that MangaFox’s volunteer staff aren’t allowed to delete files entirely from the server. This power is vested only in administrators employed by Noez, MangaFox’s parent company in China. Another theory is that it is simply easier to remove links to the files, rather than the files themselves, should Noez’s “negotiations” with Viz go well, and they be allowed to re-host them.


Another site, AnimeA, did more or less the same, making series inaccessible through the site itself, but easily traceable via a Google search. That is, until word of this tactic got out and the site was forced to remove the files from the server entirely.


Searching for certain licensed series this week reveals that MangaFox, too, have been a little more compliant of late, and made licensed titles inaccessible via both Google searches and Advanced searches on the site, which is commendable. The major concern here is that these sites appear to be stalling and attempting to play a cat-and-mouse game with publishers for as long as they possibly can.

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  • Hrmm, I remember hearing about publishers and artists trying to work with fan translators to distribute their work digitally? Maybe this has something to do with that.

  • I’m not surprised. Manga Fox did that with Berserk, One Manga actually DOES remove stuff IIRC.

  • papuruka

    I still don’t understand why these big international publishing companies wouldn’t just hire the scanlators/outsource the work to them (provided the latter’s work is up-to-par with the former’s standards)?

    • puchinri

      It would be the sensible thing to do. And there are plenty of scanlators for mainstream and niche manga that have excellent quality in their scanlations.

    • Because fans are evil and must be destroyed.

      • Honestly…they are breaking the law. The same with fansubbers. That said, I enjoy some of their work (fansubbers more so than scanlation folks) but I’m not going to act surprised if one of the companies who own that content decides that they want to enforce copyright (it’d suck, but that’s their right). I’m sympathetic to the folks doing this work (and salute them) but you can’t deny that it’s simply not legal to distribute the stuff.

    • Because that would mean getting their HR department to draw up contracts, establish companies to pay them (depending where they are in the world compared to the location of the company), make the scanlators comply with labour laws of their area (required breaks, contract law) and the fact that technically, they walked in the door with a shotgun and threatened to shoot them business wise in the foot if they won’t get hired.If nothing else, it takes time, business perception, a good attitude from the scanlator/translator and a bit of the stars aligning to make it all work…. Granted, barging through the front door DOES work… sometimes *ahem*

    • SeventhEvening

      There actually have been talks of a Crunchy Roll type site that allows Scanlators to work with publishers to bring licensed work out legally online. There was an article here on siliconera about it a while back.

      Also…..Standards? You’ve read some Viz translations right? What standards?

      • Joanna

        honestly, sometimes I wish Viz did this because then I would actually buy some of their manga that I refuse to touch because the quality of the translation/localization is sub-par in my view. I really hate how inconsistent Viz titles are. I hate having to make these jumps of faith and hope that the manga I’m interested in got one of the better translators/localizers.

  • Neverless I’m still going to support scanlation team. I’m already pissed off with english publisher half ass attidude. EP always left their good manga unfinished and replaced them with a new manga and eventually that manga will be left unfinished too and be replace with another, it’s just keeps going and going.

  • Many scanlation groups produce work that consistently outclasses what these large publishers put out.

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