Free to fight online piracy

For once, the fight against piracy is constructive. Japanese manga publishers have launched free apps to root out illegality for readers and fans. A win-win scheme, capable of extending the boom in physical sales of Japanese comics. Indeed, the rise and proliferation of illegal translations online has certainly not hampered record sales of manga around the world, but the legal alternative put in place makes sense and in more ways than one.

Avoiding the sabotage of stories is one of them. The pirating online manga could at times be the source of misunderstandings born of the differences between the multiple translations. And for good reason, unlike TV series on streaming platforms, the latest episodes of successful Japanese manga are not simultaneously translated into other languages.

Take the example of the famous manga, One Piece, the best-selling in history, with 470 million volumes since its first publication on July 22, 1997. Published in Japan, every Wednesday in the Weekly Shōnen Jump, a weekly magazine reference known for having also published Naruto, Bleach, and Dragon Ball, among others, the adventures of Luffy and his pirate crew are scanned and then broadcast in Raw version, a digital photo format, the quality of which leaves much to be desired. 24 hours later, it is the English translations that are for the most part unsatisfactory. Finally, on Friday, the French versions of the chapters are published, with quality visuals and translations. So much so that some translators have been hired to be part of the recent revolution.

Indeed, the Shueisha, a Japanese publishing house founded in 1925, hired French translators from a few wild sites to launch a French version of its Manga Plus application at the end of September. A service created in 2019 and available in seven languages ​​(French, English, Spanish, Thai, Indonesian, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese). It offers free, legal and simultaneous access to each new chapter for a limited time. A legal alternative through which the Shueisha kills two birds with one stone: The disappearance of pirate sites and the large-scale distribution of the manga it publishes. And in particular, eight series in French, including One Piece, My Hero Academia, Jujutsu Kaisen and Kaiju N ° 8, and 118 manga in its English version.

“Since the launch of Manga Plus, there have been several examples of large sites offering manga illegally that have stopped posting updates. There are also web services that have banned their users from posting links to them. pirated versions of the series available on the application “, welcomes the Shueisha to AFP, whose application has no less than five million monthly active users.

It is therefore not surprising that this model undermines piracy. “We hope that the development of legal offers like Manga Plus will convert readers from pirate manga sites to legal offers and that overseas sales of manga will increase further,” concludes the Shueisha in a commentary. interview with AFP We would not really be against it, especially since it is rare that the fight against piracy gets everyone to agree.

Chady Chaabi