A Guide to Reading Legal Manga; Support Your Japanese Artists!
What is Manga?
Manga is the comic that originates from the Japanese language and is set in Japan. In Japan, Manga refers to the comics and cartoons that are based on Japanese art, while outside of Japan, Manga means only the comics. They are very commonly read in Japan and are made for people of all ages. Manga covers a wide range of genres which include action, adventure, comedy, commerce, detective, drama, historical, horror, mystery, romance, sports, sci-fi, fantasy, erotica, among others.
It is one of the biggest industries in Japan. Due to globalization and improvement of the Japanese soft image in the West, people came across Manga, and it quickly made a name for itself around the world.
What is Scanlation?
Scanlation is a term coined by mostly fan-fic enthusiasts. It is fan inspired scanning, translation and editing of comics from the original language into another language. This is not considered to be a legal practice, as the work of the original author is being copied into another language without the knowledge and consent of the original author. Most of the time, it is done without receiving permission from the copyright holders, as a result, this is illegal and unfair to the people who have originally created the content. People usually ask what happened to Mangafox? They are often shut down, or its services are limited because people are not aware of the harsh realities of piracy.
Manga Scanlation; Illegal?
Given this quick rise to fame, Manga content was quickly translated into lots of different languages around the world to deal with the increasing demand. While this was a huge compliment to the Japanese Manga industry, it also showcased the problems of globalization. Piracy has become the norm; people do not give enough credit to the content creators, and they are highly underpaid, which makes Manga scanlation not only illegal but also highly unethical. Manga translation sites such as Mangastream and Mangafox are not legal. If you are a manga reader, you should have a better idea of what is the right thing to do and what is not.
So, What Should I Do?
Not to worry, we have your back. Scanlation, itself, is a crime. They are a form of copyright infringement, and it is illegal and unethical to use such websites that promote scanlation. You can buy your own Manga; you can translate it the way you want to, and even photoshop the images the way you like. That is not illegal, as it would be your property to do so. It is, though, illegal, to distribute your version of Manga and even to read or download such versions from other people who have done the same thing. Scanlation sites like Mangafox website and Mangastream indulge in these kinds of activities. They are quite clever, as well.
What they do is that they remove any licensed content. You will only find content which has not been licensed. They cannot promote licensed content on their website because otherwise, the DCMA will serve them a notice. When it comes to obeying the law, they will abide by it when the risk of shutting the website down is around. While the unlicensed content stays on their website, it is illegal, but the DCMA cannot do anything about it, because it has not been licensed yet. That does not make it okay, because the original content creators, back in Japan, are not as well off as the Hollywood producers are. Every dollar, or in their case, every yen matters. If you consider yourself a fan of their work, it is your responsibility to ensure that at the very least you do not indulge in this sort of illegal activity where their work is undermined.
Your responsibility is to make sure that you do not support the illegal websites which are involved in scanlation of Manga. At the same time, what you can do is, you can use the legal manga apps which are legally using the content and are going through the legal framework of using such websites. Yes, it is a slow process, the latest Manga can take months to be translated, and the final form reaches you in a long time, but that is the right thing to do.
Legal Websites for Manga Reading:
We will list a few websites for manga reading in its original and legal form. They have the best content, and it is updated as fast as possible:
1) Viz Manga:
Viz Manga is ideal for American manga lovers. It has a worthy collection of manga content and has a wide range of genres. This is now also available in a host of countries like, the US, UK, South Africa, India and Ireland. Viz Manga is a must-have if you are a hardcore Manga enthusiast.
Crunchyroll is probably the most famous anime streaming platforms in the world. It is the best place to find Manga and has a very simple UI that helps people of all ages to get used to. Crunchyroll costs under $7/month and that is an attractive deal for all manga-lovers out there.
BookWalker has an insane collection of highly-wanted mangas. It is not free, but the type of content that it offers, $10 seems like a very reasonable deal. BookWalker offers the opportunity to pre-order mangas as well by paying certain charges. If you want to have your favorite Manga before your friends, this is the place to be!
This is one of the free manga services. It is accessible from anywhere, worldwide, and it also hosts a wide variety of genres in manga reading. Again, the UI is very user-friendly, and it also has a feature of a calendar that updates the release dates of new mangas.