Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Viz, Tokyopop, Yen Press. These are just six of a newly-formed international coalition of manga publishers, formed to combat the growing threat of scanlations, both in Japan and in the U.S., report Publishers Weekly.
However, the coalition believe that their battle isn’t necessarily with scanlators — that is, fans who began to scanlate certain manga due to their unavailability outside Japan — but with “scanlation aggregators,” who they classify as profit-based websites that offer manga to their readers for free. These sites attract millions of manga readers each month, and earn revenue through ads, donations and, sometimes, charging membership fees. Popular sites such as as MangaFox and OneManga are presently considered part of the problem.
Pirated manga, the coalition claim, is even making its way to portable devices, such as smartphones, with the help of illegal apps dedicated solely to being able to access scanlated content. “We are left with no other alternative but to take aggressive action,” a spokesperson from the coalition stated. “It is our sincere hope that offending sites will take it upon themselves to immediately cease their activities. Where this is not the case, however, we will seek injunctive relief and statutory damages.”
Publishers believe that, where, at one point, scanlations attracted new audiences to manga, they are now, instead, allowing a new generation of readers to grow up feeling as if they are entitled access to these products for free, which is part of the reason for the recent decline in the industry.