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Ken Akamatsu vs NicoNico Douga – “They Are Thieves!”


Not satisfied with the kerfuffle he caused with his J-Comi launch remarks,  mangaka Ken Akamatsu is now picking a fight with NicoNico Douga, accusing them of profiting by stealing the works of others without giving them proper compensation.

No prizes seem appropriate for those able to guess which medium Ken Akamatsu used to disseminate his inflammatory soundbites:

NicoNico Douga’s premium membership costs ¥525 a month, and they give nothing to the copyright holders whose works are illegally uploaded there. […] It’s a bit rich for them to proclaim “NicoNico Douga is finally making a profit!”

The positions of the admins and posters are different so isn’t it a bit more complicated?

If they have the consent of creators, isn’t it best for everyone for them to compensate them fairly? The way it is set now hardly seems the best way?

It should be remembered that publicity on Nico will have an indirect positive effect on the work in question.

Everyone says that, don’t they? But do they really believe it?

NicoNico’s official position is somewhat similar to that of YouTube – videos are deleted on the request of copyright holders, and there is officially distributed anime available. As with YouTube, only the JASRAC music industry mafia and giant publishers with intimidating armies of lawyers receive anything back from Nico.

A recent comment on 2ch to the effect that “Why is it celebs self-destruct whenever they get on Twitter?” seems particularly pertinent here, the validity of Akamatsu’s point notwithstanding.

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  • unrelated, but this drives me nuts. you see how the girl with the brown hair is holding the towel over her chest? there is a line on her boob. what the hell is it?

    this has bothered me for YEARS, i can’t figure out what that line is supposed to be.

  • I agree with Ken Akamatsu here. I mean hell it should be discerning that works of others are illegally posted up on nico. I would too if i were in his shoes.

    But he is jumping the gun because maybe Nico Nico Douga has as good safeguard against illegal uploads. If not then well… I dunno waht to say.

    • To right. I mean it’s okay to “remix” stuff. But when you go comercial with it, and especially when you do it big times, you should have the original creator/artist have his share. After all the character are only known to be Moe/Kawaii because of the anime that is behind it. In this case Love Hina. Naru Narusegawa is no was cute just from her looks but if you watched the series you start liking the character and thus it can be used for H stuff.

  • As a little sidenote: Youtube gives money to all ‘youtube partners’. Many of those are single people, no large-lawyer companies.

    And they usually make enough to live off of it to some degree.

  • FOR THE LAST TIME! He did make good money from amazon! It’s just that he didn’t know about the 24 hour delay in Amazon’s tally. That’s why he bitched and moaned untill he saw the fact a lot of people actually did buy shit. He even issued an apology in his blog. He deemed the site to be a success.

    But once again, people refuse to keep them self updated on a story.

  • Well yeah if he offers it for free, of course you’r egonna get almost 500,000 downloads. What did he expect?

    I think he still has balls to open a site like this, but as always first tries have many issues. I hope this works and he can get more mangaka to collaborate with him and get away from greedy corporations.

    • Anonymous says:

      ppl act like wanting money is a sin, when they themselves don’t want to pay money for what they get.
      If his works are good enough ppl want to read them, WTF is wrong with him wanting to make money off them?
      He may bitch and moan, but in the end it’s not like he strangle his fan for more $$$. Nobody is perfect.

      And I’m saying this despite the giant manga storage in my HDD.

  • Why dont the mangaka go on strike or something but it has to be a pretty large strike for it to work. Imagine people not being able to read their manga because the mangaka decided not to write it anymore and they could probably demand more money from the big businesses. All of this is assuming that a large amount of people do go on strike. Let the pirates imagine a world without thier favorite stuff or the business losing profit. Might be a tad extreme I know, but I believe who ever uses the most force wins. Really how much does the mangaka have to lose?

  • Next will people be saying cosplayers who sell photo albums of cosplays pay royalty fees since they are profiting off a character design – which is the only thing distinguishing them from gravure idols.

  • Fucking stfu, if you wanna complain about people stealin things, in particular about foreign devils stealing work, take a good look at every single conbini in Japan, you’ll see rows of men standing at the magazine section oggling the porn, rows of teens reading the manga, and rows of girls reading the magazines.. without paying for them. This is just as much stealing, yet this is considered ‘normal’ in Japan. Overseas you’d get chucked out and told ‘this is not a library’

    • And here comes the biggest irony of them all. Prepare.

      Every single bit of Japanese media content, that gets “pirated” in the “west”, is uploaded by……..JAPANESE!!!

      A shock, i know. That’s why this whole discussion is so hilarious. That’s why bitching 2chan and NND dwellers are so ludicrous.

      Ken Akamatsu should take the final step and openly confront Japanese publishers. He is right to smite NND for making money of something that should be “free of chatge” for obvious reasons. NND basically broke the unspoken rule of fair use. It’s just that simple.

      • Or it’s western people living in Japan, or people who IMPORT the shit, amazing right? The fact that you can buy shit off the internet like all the ads that line THIS VERY SITE.

        Think before you make generalizations, Ken has no right to anything as he gave his shit out for free and if you don’t understand that piracy will never stop you’re a fool, and if you want it to stop keep trying to get it taken down even if you have to threaten to sue or try every day, if it means that much to you you’ll do it, otherwise you should blame yourself for being lazy.

  • I just checked the website and all I see are his own works uploaded. Why the hell would I pay to download manga that I already own physically? Why don’t you start putting more of other people’s works before you start complaining, Ken?

  • Now that I think about it. The old saying of any publicity is good publicity would apply here.
    He’s probably making a ruckus to get free publicity for his site.

    But he also has to realise any website like any business it takes time to bear fruit.

    Funny enough on his twitter he says he got a large sum of affiliate revenue.

    • Yeah. They seem to support him there, at least.

      And even as a pirate, I find his point fair. I don’t see it as complaining about piracy per se, but rather him complaining that they(NicoNico’s owners) celebrating the fact NicoNico is finally making money, while knowingly(in the sense they know some copyrighted content is on the site somewhere) hosting copyrighted works, without paying anyone in return for those works.

      Now, their isn’t anything that NicoNico can really do, but it’s fair to complain about something, even if it’s something that nothing can really be done about.

      • If Youtube can work around it, then Niconico probably can. Issues with fan-made works are fluid in terms of profitability anyway. It’s not a done deal either way, even if they work with Akamatsus on this.

  • The problem is that “getting consent from creators” is out of the question. Sites like NND or YT would only pay to the copyright hilders, i.e. the publishers, the leeches of “content creators”.

    I know why he is upset but i think he should realize by now that the real slave driver, or pirate, is the Japanese publisher conglomerates.

  • “Why is it celebs self-destruct whenever they get on Twitter?”

    Big LOL! It’s true, celebs are special in the way their image usually belongs to somebody else. We gonna need internet lawyers to speak for them soon just like they speak for them in the flesh.

    What you gonna do, Aya.

    • Because that’s when they give up their veneer of perfection.

      That’s when they let others see that they are just ‘people’ and as we all know, the vast majority of humanity is idiotic mouthbreathing scum.

    • Yes, embarassing for all the donwloaders clamoring for “new methods of distribution”.

      It will prove the publishers were right — to make money, you have to guard your inetlectual property, otherwise people will just nab it for free.

      • You guys do realize he actually made considerable amount of money with the site right? The whole thing was a stupid misunderstanding caues the amazon tally has 24hr delay. Something he wasn’t aware of before the tweeter bitch and moan he did.

    • Umm, there are misunderstandings. His launch of the site was actually not really bad. The only reason he posted ‘nobody bought it!’ was due to the fact that he didn’t know Amazon sales thing does not update things instantly. There were decent amount of sales significantly increased for Negima volume 32 even other products which isn’t from Akamatsu.

    • I just hope he didn’t spend too much money on this, I don’t want my Negima cancelled or anything.

      He took the risk on a crowd request, nico has nothing to do in the matter I think.
      Sorry Ken, you should go to some karaoke with Squenix, you can sing and weep together, take a bath, fresh up, forget about this and let’s meet again for more of your awesome works.

    • Sure, most of the time it’s positive advertising for anime and music ect, but the bigwigs don’t give a flying fuck about any of that. It doesn’t put any direct money in their pocket, so they consider it a threat. Bunch of self-important dumbasses…

      • Self-important? Seriously, what is it you think you’re talking about? It’s his product, of course it’s ‘self-important’ because the man needs money to survive! He even tried to do it ‘our way’ and of course yet again he’s hit with ‘same shit different day’ and people like you actually bash him/them for getting ‘advertisement’ with no money? Seriously? Are you just stupid or high or both?

        I just hope he’s jumping the gun a little bit and it’s actually going to return a decent amount for him. People whined about this when it was publishers getting angry. Now it’s the people whom they said ‘I’d support him if the mangaka did whatever’ and now he’s doing something and people once again backpedal to “Oh he’s just after money” or some such bullshit like it’s a bad thing.

        I am so FUCKING sick of all this crap…

        • “that does not mean you do not own what you create.”

          What good is claiming ownership over something everyone else can easily access without your consent? If you’re brilliant and think up stuff no one else thought of before, good for you. But only because you were the first, doesn’t mean others can’t just copy what you did. Like with the first ironswords, gunpowder, nuclear fusion…
          Nowadays people don’t need to buy stuff because they are interested in it, but only if they know and love it. At least if it’s about digital content.

          Copyright was a nice idea but it’s too restrictive and I think it’s stupid that you can sell your rights to someone else.

        • HouseLife

          one piece was one of those anime that could have had universal appeal, like decteive conan, but it would have needed the right push, and thats where both failed at.

          4kids fucked it first, puting in everyones who is normal head that its shit. they pulled out 30 episodes worth of content in the first 88 episodes, and most of that was what set the anime apart from other things, so to everyone older it was generic trash, to kids it wasn’t memorable. funimation got it, un fucked it (at least the dvd version) but normal people will never understand that, how many times in america has a tv show changed hands, every episode was redone, how would you tell the public?

          im thinking a side by side comparison, and an advertising campaign, thats told you re done closer to the original, would be the only thing that may have worked. but basically the moment that you had funimation start it there was no comeback for that series. maybe in 5-10 years after it, if thy took it off air and re aired it for a new gen of kids, it may do good because they dont know.

        • @Chen-04

          “It’s not like he owns his story only because he thought of it first.”

          “A story is just a concept. Like the concept of a chair.”

          Wow. A story is not like a chair. A story is a story. Run out there and try to write a story about King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone and then try and sell it. Then go out, try to make a simple four legged chair and try to sell it.

          See which gets you into trouble. Yeah, there’s a big difference.

          However, write a story about King Dickbigulas pulling his mighty sword from the stone and see what happens.

          Every story can only be about a few things and every story that can be told has been, BUT… that does not mean you do not own what you create.

        • Your last statement is simultaneously rather clever and overly generalized, alidan. We’re a nation of followers just as much, just in different trends, however it’s worthwhile to be aware of that aspect, which I had forgotten.

          One Piece failed because of 4kids, and the Funimation took it up and did quite a good job with it, matching the original as was meant to happen. The problem is it never again got its chance on TV, because everyone believed what was coming on was the bad version, and unlike 4kids who raped us with advertisements, Funimation didn’t really do anything with it.

          But the reality still stands, right from the horse’s mouth at a convention. One Piece isn’t getting more brought over without more sales, and that’s quite frankly a reasonable thing for them to do, as sad as it makes me.

        • HouseLife

          one piece failed because of 4kids, and noting funimation did could save that for the western markets.

          for online media, its still in its infancy, you will have to see more places like south park studios, and actual networks go a full digital version, before anime will stand a chance to go digital only.

          now, manga, that needs a total revamp, it needs to be given page by page with bought adds on the sides and top, like a web comic is here. and everything web comics so, why cant a manga do it too?

          you also have to remember that japan a nation of followers, if something fails they disregard EVERY notion of it. its not like other places where people learn from others failures and try it different.

        • That’s a very good question, but actually I’m not even sure if he’s allowed to do that. I’ve heard of some strange stuff when it comes to copyright, but that doesn’t mean he has a reason he cannot do that. One way or another, I’m grateful that someone with a popular work is taking the first steps and finding the pitfalls so that others who can’t afford to have this happen to can watch and learn for the future.

          The future of markets is following this pseudo-social-capitalist methodology more and more due to piracy desecrating traditional markets in electronics. Funimation is only alive due to advertisements on Hulu and Youtube and the like, their DVD sales are as abysmal as everywhere else (one of the reasons we’re not seeing more One Piece). Basically the only way the stuff that can be pirated electronically is going to survive is to do things like offering electronic versions for free and rely on advertising media to cover their survival, but that doesn’t generate nearly enough survival profit except in extreme cases.

          I’m sincerely hoping someone much smarter than I can find the way to make this work for the new century, because it’s long overdue.

        • Anonymous

          its because he is among the first, and the way he is fucking up, its almost like publishers are behind it. he goes on excited about it, it launches, 450000 people are greedy fuckers, and the only way you can pull money is through publishers.

          i hope im wrong, and that he succeeds, but fuck if something like this couldn’t be a publisher plot is disguise.

        • Pirates will always try and justify themselves even though they are not only by law incorrect, but morally wrong. Anyway-Chen-04, your wrong by the way. It’s his god damn work. He owns the goddamn story because he was first to think of it and first to publish it and first to license it. It’s like JK Rowlings Harry Potter. So you’re going to say , because it’s a story that some people could have thought of, it’s not her story to own. Well Fuck you. You’re logic is just fucked up. Heck it’s probably the same with everything. People build trains much like artists draw manga. However, designs of trains are different and that’s where the whole concept of owning something comes into place. You own a designs of a train much like you own a story of manga. There is no difference. This is where you are especially wrong with the whole concept of Fire and god knows what else you talked about.

        • Attitude aside, this is a serious issue for people who make creative entertainment for a living. It’s true that publishers and big companies may be a big middleman in all this, but in terms of legal rights, they are in the right to claim it.

          I’m not sure how it boils down to using licensed imagery and music for parodies and such. Youtube is still wrangling with it for example.

          Akamatsu does seem to be very direct with his words, but I don’t think he’s doing it out of pure malice, if you can believe it.

        • I think he was talking about music industry executives being self-important dumbasses, which is entirely true.

          In most cases the takedown requests they make aren’t even valid as fair use means the content isn’t copyright infringement (in the US anyway).

        • @HouseLife

          A story is just a concept. Like the concept of a chair. It’s stupid to claim ownership over a concept that everyone can easily access. It’s another story if you’re concept is difficult to understand and/or make for normal people, like a car.

          You don’t usually provide the concept, but something physical if you want to make money. Put the story into a book and sell the book. Fine. But I don’t really care for the book, I just take the concept of said story. No one can claim ownership over a concept. It’s restrictive. “I’m the only one allowed to make this”. My ass. No you aren’t. If you can’t think of it, copy it. Scientists copy nature all the time. That’s no crime.

        • @HouseLife

          “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”
          “What goes around, comes around.”

          If he complains to the people he wants to live from he cleary is doing it wrong. Last time I checked his manga weren’t to my taste and him bitching won’t exactly make everything better.

          I think he should think about his attitude. It’s not like he owns his story only because he thought of it first. It’s like saying that you invented fire and want to prevent anyone else from discovering/using it. It’s backwards and restrictive. If people like his works, they’ll buy. I buy all the manga I like and am a pirate at heart. I buy, if I want the creator to make more and I don’t buy if I don’t care if the manga is cancelled or not.

      • So someone tries something many people on the internet and here have asked for and you actually turn around and criticize him for listening and taking a risk most don’t have the balls to do and attempting it because it didn’t quite work…

        God damn it, I hate how the internet so readily makes me agree with murder being a solution for the planet…

        • @Houselife lol I agree epsecially remembering last weeks article where everyone was cheering Ken Akamatsu on for breaking free of the big bad publishers grip and now they bash him for speaking out when the idea isn’t working.

          I have to admit I never was much of a Love Hina etc fan and that some of Ken Akamatsu’s ideas were flawed (Amazon is a crap affiliation company unless your selling toasters or something from a highly acclaimed review site like Oprah Winfrey or Ron Douglas…).

          You also said a mouth full in your 11:55 comment because almost everyone wants something for nothing I just hope my plans don’t end up belly up like his but then again I have a couple of aces up my sleeve.

          It’s to bad about Funimation too because even if it was only on dvd at least they didn’t rape anime series like for 4-kids does.

          Only time will tell if the publishers or creators will win the war personally I think it’s like my Computer Animation professor said the market is changing and the entrepreneur’s are going to be the ones that succeed.

          Maybe Ken Akamatsu should talk to that sniper rifle manga lady she seems to be doing well for herself with a quality over quantity fanbase.