One of South Korea’s largest webtoon publishers, Kakao Entertainment, revealed that it has identified the owner of the world’s largest webtoon and comic piracy website.
This location is not fully identified but begins with the letter ‘M.’ According to a KBS report on December 1, ‘M’ illegally distributed about 20,000 Japanese comics and 7,000 Korean webtoons, estimated to cost the comic industry 3 trillion won per month (~2 .2 billion USD). This number could be equivalent to Amazon’s net loss for the whole of 2022 ($2.9 billion). Kakao said it has identified three ‘M’ executives, including the founder, and will work with the Japanese manga industry to take legal action against all violators. violation. “If we identify the operator, we will be able to take civil and criminal action against each individual for violating copyright laws, which would likely result,” Kakao said in a statement. leads to a more fundamental solution to the problem of illegal distribution.”
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Copyright infringement naturally harms authors and publishers, whose works are not compensated. Industry efforts to combat this and understand growing international demand have been met with mixed reactions. Kakao-owned webtoon platform Tapas hosts many famous manhwa such as Solo Leveling. Kakao also tries to widely popularize its works by distributing them on the popular Tappytoon platform and collaborating with English publishers such as Yen Press. Other manhwa platforms, including Line’s Webtoon, are respected, allowing fans to read popular works such as Tower of God and God of High School. Meanwhile, the international terms of the Japanese manga industry include Shueisha’s MANGA Plus and Kodansha’s K MANGA.
However, the majority of Japanese and Korean titles do not have official translations. Many fans on social media reacted with displeasure to Kakao’s announcement, with the consensus being that while piracy is not ideal, it is currently the only way for many titles to be released. read. Some have called for these publishers to better serve international demand, put out high-quality titles consistently to justify their subscription fees, and have timely releases to keep up with the source material (simulpub).
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The current flaws of many simulpubs can be seen most clearly with the Yuzuki Family anime Four Sons, whose original subtitle translation was so bad that Crunchyroll quickly removed the episode from the site. Additionally, Kodansha recently announced the end of the simulation version of Witch Hat Atelier on K MANGA after repeatedly failing to meet deadlines. Many international fans interpreted these actions as a lack of investment and commitment. This leads to many fan translations being considered better than the official translation, which can encourage piracy.
However, it has been argued that many common forms of piracy have little justification. Some authors do not want their works translated, and leaks of chapters that will be released just a few days later are still common. This is seen frequently with Shueisha’s shounen titles such as Jujutsu Kaisen and One Piece. Yuta Momiyama, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of MANGA Plus, recently laid out his long-term vision for international fans of Shueisha titles.
Source: KBS, X (formerly Twitter)