Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prelude to the end of free manga scanlations? VIZ goes after Mangastream

Just two weeks after US-based manga distributor VIZ Media debuted Shonen Jump Alpha, its digital replacement for Shonen Jump, the publisher has coerced a group of fan scanlators (a portmanteau of "scan" and "translate") to stop posting chapters of a number of VIZ series, including four in my weekly reading list, namely: Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, and Hunter x Hunter.

The scanlation group Mangastream announced through their website that VIZ had forced them to stop releasing chapters of seven series included in Shonen Jump Alpha. They said that "[t]he aggressive and escalating nature of their threats have forced our hand into removing the content. MangaStream will no longer be posting full scanlations for any of the aforementioned series[.]"

I've been getting my free fix of weekly manga chapters on the net since 2003, and I'd say that Mangastream has been consistently putting up superior work. So it's really disappointing to see them drop the titles I've been reading. Looking at the bigger picture, I'm afraid this action by VIZ would prove to be an ominous sign for other scanlation groups--much like the domino effect of the Megaupload shutdown.

What is clear is that media giants are trying to get anything and everything free off the web. It bodes ill for the golden age of (free) Internet. Makes me wonder, what if the Mayans were really predicting the end of the world... wide web?

Francis Paolo Tiopianco, Entry #9

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