Eroge publisher Minori, well known both for the ef series and its grotesque xenophobia, has earned itself additional notoriety for its ham-fisted attempt to take down a fan translation project by deleting the contents of their wiki and replacing it with a copyright infringement notice, and then engaging in an unseemly edit-war with site inhabitants.
The incident began with Minori “taking down” a fan translation wiki page for one of their games (Eden) by blanking the page, which was reverted as vandalism. Some hours after this they came back and overwrote the page with the following:
The copyright of all the files on this page belongs to Minori. As we never gave permission for its distribution we are deleting it all for you.
The lengthy exchange between the xenophobes at Minori and a bunch of obnoxious, self-righteous pirates is not worth reproducing here, but the incident was eventually “resolved” with threats of legal action by Minori and the relatively responsible translators agreeing to cease their translation project.
Minori itself denied receiving any request for permission from the translators, whilst the translation group supposedly asked, received no response and decided to go ahead anyway – just what actually transpired is not clear.
This incident coupled with Minori’s previous inflammatory treatment of international fans seems to indicate the company either possesses only the most embarrassingly rudimentary understanding of the workings of Internet PR, or else it is intentionally treating international fans with the contempt it thinks they deserve.
It is difficult to explain why they persist in blaming foreigners for censorship of their industry with any explanation except sheer prejudice – all the groups striving to impose bans on the industry have been Japanese religious maniacs using international criticism (which so far amounts to a few slow news days and a crazy band of feminist liars) as an excuse to pass the laws they seek.
Legally however, Minori is quite correct in asserting its rights – translated works generally remain under the copyright of their original authors, and distributing without permission them constitutes copyright violation, except where allowed by “fair use” or similar.
Additionally, it is quite clear the majority of fan translation projects facilitate piracy far in excess of any international sales they might generate, and so from this perspective it is easy to see why publishers are not infrequently sceptical of them – translators can hardly be ignorant of the fact that their patches are more often applied to torrented isos than they are to legitimately imported games.
Whatever the legal questions raised by the fracas, it certainly serves as an abject lesson in how not to handle the issue – in fact it is hard to imagine it being handled in a worse way.