OpenManga - the future of Scanlations and Online Manga
Throughout the ages, we've seen the progress and evolution of many different business models. Throughout the same frame of evolution, we've seen copyright holders fight technology at every step. It happened with the xerox, it happened with the radio, the VCR, with MP3s - heck, even the printer. The common argument used to oppose all of these is that they (technology and innovation) would lead to the death of one humanity's most basic desires: the desire to create. It has been argued since the invention of the term "copyright", that without ultimate control over the use and distribution of artistic creations, people would simply stop creating. Why create anew when these products and technologies only lead to them being "stolen"? Be it music, movies, novels, or even comics. It's always been the same arguments.
We, however, see things differently. We see people from various nations, religions, and ethnicities uniting under the banner of appreciating creativity. We see art, in its many forms, bring people together in appreciation and support of those who are gifted in ways the majority of people on this planet are not. From the paintings of Picasso to live performances by artists such as Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones, we have seen the consumption of their work serve as a surge of inspiration to thousands of artists around the planet. The Mona Lisa, a painting created by Leonardo da Vinci several hundred years ago, still to this day attracts audiences from around the planet who willingly pay for the privilege of appreciating its artistic beauty. This despite there being printed copies of the painting, painted copies of the motif, and even scanned versions of it online.
Which brings the question: why? Why do people still spend millions of dollars on a yearly basis to see something a quick google search could replicate in a matter of seconds in the comfort of their own home?
Some of you might recall a certain business document draft being spread around the internet last year. A document detailing a rough draft and outline for how artists and publishers could unite and work together in a mutually beneficial relationship. A symbiosis, if you will. What you don't know, is what happened after that document got distributed, and what this has to do with the evolution of art and technology.
In the wake of that document being spread, representatives from MangaHelpers were able to set up and meet with executives from some of the largest publishing houses in the industry. We were allowed the opportunity to present the idea that publishers and fans, artists and their consumers could work together in what would be a 2.5 hour meeting. Ultimately, there were too many walls and too many preconceptions to overcome for that plan to work. In the end we were, jokingly, told that if we wanted something like this to exist, we would have to publish our own magazines and series and go from there.
As it happens, we didn't actually dismiss this idea as a simple joke. After some brainstorming and half a year of hard work, we have created a solution to the many barriers and obstacles that hinders MangaHelpers from becoming what we hoped it to become. As with the many forms of art: we used the inspiration and ideas we originally had for MangaHelpers, and tweaked them.
The result of that is what we are here to present to you today.
Our goal was to create a platform that allows manga authors and artists to publish and earn money from their work, while still reaching a multi-lingual global audience. A platform that promotes and allows artists (and eventually interested publishers) to work directly with translators and scanlators to publish their work while still remaining in control of their creations. A platform that supports an artist's need for an income, with the possibility of free availability to the fan. A platform that is a completely new and separate entity from MangaHelpers, losing the restrictions and barriers that MangaHelpers had while retaining the ideology and opportunities we saw with our first attempt.
That platform is known as OpenManga (JP version).
The OpenManga platform is closing in on being ready for a beta within the near future. In preparation of the upcoming beta, we have been in contact with over 70 artists - many of which expressed great interest in using our platform to distribute their work, and build their IPs and fan communities while at the same time earning money from merchandise, sales, donations and other models that are included in the OpenManga system. Interacting with fans from all over the world that enjoy their art, and having a business model backing to support them so they can work on it full time, could and soon will be a dream come true.
There are a whole slew of features and functionality sets unique to the OpenManga platform that provide incentives and ways for those who are interested in legally working professionally on translating and localizing (scanlating) manga that will be unveiled as the project nears completion.
Now we are here to ask the online manga community to support us in showing the world that using the linguistic and graphical skill sets of dedicated fans is not only possible, but that it is profitable and viable way of doing business while still retaining the one request the fans have: that manga is free to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. By reaching out to artists that you know and like, and by encouraging them to support our initiative for an open platform where artists, publishers, and fans can work together, we are set to bring a new era to the world of intellectual property.
If you believe that we're heading down the right path and want to give your support, or are curious about our work, email us at community AT openmanga.org. Whether you are a fan, a translator, a scanlator, an artist, or even a publisher, we would like to hear your thoughts and feedback, and hopefully gather your support.
Edit: The email address was broken for the first few hours today, but has since then been fixed. If you tried to contact OpenManga and got an error that the mail could not be delivered, please try again now!
You can also follow OpenManga on Twitter and OpenManga on Facebook for updates and news.
The OpenManga Team
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