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.