In a statement issued to Publishers Weekly, Japanese manga publishers and their US-based licensees have formed a coalition to combat online groups who produce scanlations.
Scanlations are — for those unfamiliar with the term, scanned and translated editions of Japanese comics uploaded to file-sharing services and “free” manga sites without the explicit permission of the copyright holders.
According to reports, the group is planning to take legal action against 30 scanlation sites. These sites are alleged to be among the most popular sites on the internet, with daily page views of up to millions. Many of these sites earn from advertising revenues, membership schemes, or user donations — however none of these revenues ever make it back to the original manga’s author and publishers.
Publishers and local licensees who have joined the coalition are:
ASCII Media Works
Jitsugyo No Nihonsha
Shogakukan Shueisha Production
The Digital Comic Association
The Tuttle-Mori Agency
This immediate and firm action was brought about by the shrinking market share and falling profits of manga publishers, allegedly brought upon by the free and easy access to illegal manga online. According to figures, manga sales have fallen for a second year in a row, forcing many titles and licences to be cancelled, and publishers and licensing firms to fold.