Scanlation for Profit: intellectually bankrupt

black★mage shooter writes about certain scanlation groups:

The thing that magnifies everything I hate about these groups is their policy of not allowing any of their scans on any online viewing sites.

Black mage by Kostellano

This calls to mind the brouhaha over fanart last summer: makers of derivative works are desperate to squeeze credit from an audience that often won’t even give the original creative talent credit.

Of course, that hardly applies to all scanlators.  But as a scanlator, you either deny the right of the creator to profit, or you believe you are providing free publicity for the creator that offsets any loss of profit from those who read your scans and don’t buy the product.  In the former case, you can’t claim any right to profit yourself*; in the latter, you are limiting the potential audience and thus undermining your own cause.

*Gratification and notoriety are, it should be noted, economic goods.  Profit is not necessarily monetary.

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Published in: on February 12, 2010 at 1:37 PM  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Erm, I’m not familiar with the scanlation scene at all, but isn’t this kind of policy similar to fansubbers disapproving of random punks selling their translations for money on eBay or streaming them illegally? Online viewing sites for scans sound just as bad as pirate streaming sites for subs: not the sort of folks you want anything to do with, right?

    • Well, that becomes a matter of intent, I suppose: are they keeping the scans to a small list of approved sites because they want to make sure they get credit, or are they keeping them to a small list because they don’t want to be associated with the unsavory?

    • As far as I’m aware, most groups (especially those who do the most popular series) are fine with online readers. The unsavoury part had to do with forcing users to pay, but none of the big sites are doing that. Now the groups justify it by complaining about either accreditation (which the big sites do anyway) or because they don’t want their perfect scans compressed (which is stupid because of the inherent quality loss from going from paper to digital anyway).

      I see online readers as the equivalent to Tokyotosho: a centralized location where everyone throws their crap up. How many people would put up with a subbing group that released sporadically and forced everyone to go to their shitty invisionfree board?

  2. I’m not disagreeing, but does gratification actually count as an economic good? That’s interesting.

    • Some people spend a lot of money to attain gratification.

  3. Everybody remember Tazmo?

    • Funny that you say that – I still have a link to Stop Tazmo in my list of anime-related sites.


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