Dealing with scanlations of your titles

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Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Russesa » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:09 am

The thing I've been dreading has happened, and I got assigned to a couple of titles with scanlations floating around. I'm kind of a non-confrontational person, and I'm betting a lot of other internet folks are too. Does anyone want to write up a primer or offer some tips on writing polite take-down requests? Advice on dealing with the different players (scanlation groups, file hosts, blog hosts, and *gulp* manga aggregators) would be appreciated as well.

I reviewed the DMG webcast from 12-16-2011: Protect Your Work! The discussion lasts from about 13:30 to 18:00, and is mostly very general instructions. Heavily paraphrased:

Ben from then (lol :)) says to approach uploaders as fellow fans. "Hey, we all love this mangaka, so let's see that they get some compensation for their work." Give out links to the legit release. Really publicize the heck out of the releases.*

Guild members can't send formal Cease and Desist letters because we don't have the legal authority/rights to the titles. If infringement persists, contact DMG and they'll do what they can.

*What if we're contacting people about books that DMG hasn't released yet? Should we wait until the legit version is available?
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby payang » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:22 am

From what I know, scanlation groups will be very cooperative toward requests to remove files and/or stop distribution of their licensed materials. They're generally very supportive of the manga-ka and will even advertise for you.

It's the other communities/forums/blogs/etc that also hosts the files that's going to be a little harder to deal with. I would assume most would also be willing, but there are those who won't give two cents unless you're the legal rights holder. In which case, I'm not too sure how to go about that.

You could always just be like...

Hello,
I'm -your name-, a DMG localizer. I would like to ask that you cease distribution of -title here with author-, as the title will soon be released by the DMG. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Your Name

I don't think it has to be very long, just make sure you're kind of nice about it cause I know some people tend to get very defensive when they aren't asked nicely.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby hanged_man » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:16 pm

Ben and Payang are right, the best way to go about it is nicely. If you ask for cooperation, you're likely to get it. Dealing with scanlation groups or individuals is always easier, but with file hosting/sharing sites there's also usually a way to report if something/someone is sharing copyrighted material. It's better to contact that person, though, so they don't just turn around and upload it again or somewhere else. If someone is aggressive or noncompliant in response, especially if it's a prolific problem, that's when it's time to contact someone in DMG. We are at a disadvantage as localizers because we aren't the rights holders, and this is an issue on sites like Youtube that won't acknowledge copyright claims from anyone other than the rights holder. In that case, you should go directly to Ben.
There's also not a reason to wait until the title is released. Just contacting someone to say it's been licensed is usually enough, and in that case you should be able to ask them to take care of it by a projected release date. When it does come out, consider sending them links to outlets it's available for purchase (lots of scanlation groups like the rep of going legal when it's an option).
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Shroud » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:26 am

Actually, as a member of the Guild, I have sent file sharing sites, blog hosts, etc as DMG has asked us to help combat the piracy by sending C and D's, that means they HAVE given us permission to request on their behalf.

The result was not only did filesharing sites take down where fans had uploaded files they had DL elsewhere, but Google removed search results to aggregators and such so that search results show only the legal listings. And yes, it is best to ask scanlators and bloggers and the like to take down the links and files themselves politely and informally first. But don't be afraid to go further if you get ignored by anyone you contact. DMG asked us to send C and d req, and the polite thing Ben suggested is fine for an informal req but is in no way legally inforceable using that language, but since they have given permission AND requested we actually send a C and Ds for our titles, you can do so to the blog host, filesharing site, server host, etc. If a formal DMCA gets ignored or challenged by these, then ultimately DMP who has to decide how to take it further since the issued DMCA was on their behalf, and you'll have to let them know so they can decide what to do. And that's the crux of it. YOU are not the rights holder but you ARE the production partner DMP have given permission to send down take down requests/notices on their behalf for the titles you work on. And DMCA allows for that as an option. Anyways, good luck with the take down requests. Chasing down the files and getting them removed is time consuming, which is why DMP asked us to help out and do it as we find them (they are a small company after all and this sort of thing can take many many man hours) but it is possible to get results. Note I give DMI's info as well as mine..that is because if they choose to, they may contact DMI to verify they wish to have the files removed and are the rights holders and that you are who you say you are (the DMG person contracted for that title). The DMCA may have been filed by me, but it is DMI who is the claimant...I merely did it on their behalf after they they asked us to send out C and D's for our titles to help combat piracy. Basically...the form states DMI did not allow this distribution, want it down, and told us it was ok to ask for it removed on their behalf and that DMI is the rights holder who is defending their rights. Nothing scary. And sorry for the waffle.

Sample of one I sent to a certain file sharing site:
Identify yourself as either: a) The owner of a copyrighted work(s), or b) A person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. Include a physical or electronic signature: I am Kimiko Kotani (note I use my working name as that is what I am known by and work under, and which appears in the DMG edition), the contracted production partner for Hana no Mizo Shiru (English title: Only the Flower Knows) with Digital Manga Guild, an imprint of Digital Manga Inc

2. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material. Please provide us with at minimum a URL to each work that is claimed to be infringing: Hana no Mizo Shiru has been licensed by Digital Manga Guild and is for sale under the English language title Only the Flower Knows. You may view the legal editions here:(link here to Emanga.com edition, Amazon ed. and B and N ed.)
The infringing material is located at : http://www.4shared.com/zip/Y5zsu0e7/han ... hap_7.html http://www.4shared.com/zip/L_bMmaT9/Onl ... ana_no.htm http://www.4shared.com/zip/ZoHxayP6/Onl ... ana_no.htm http://www.4shared.com/zip/J9m_8sJP/Onl ... ana_no.htm
(links left in so you can see they were indeed removed after the site received this)


3.Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted:
You may contact me at (my email addy for Kimiko Kotani) or DMI directly at
Digital Manga Inc
1487 West 178th Street, Suite 300
Gardena, CA 90248
(tel): 310.817.8010
(tel): 866.680.1589
(fax): 310.817.8018


4.Statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law: I do so state. This material is under English language license to Digital Manga Inc. under the Digital Manga Guild imprint. Only DMI and it's retail partners are permitted to distribute this property. This is an unauthorized distribution by members of the fan community and we request its removal.

5. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed: As one of the legally contracted production partners working for the Digital Manga Guild on this title, I hereby state all information contained herein is accurate.

Signed,

(name here)
(group name)
Digital Manga Guild, an imprint of DMI

(date)

(and in case you're wondering, the wording is one the DMCA puts out..you use it just like that as its the req. formula)
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Shroud » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:43 am

And payang is right...even after release, if its a scan group or other fan, ask politely first. MOSt reacted positively when asked nicely, and as astounding as it may seem to some, not all were aware the title was out and that it had a region free format available via Emanga. I got several responses where they took the files down and emailed or msged me back letting me know they'd just went and bought it (one thing digi is fab for...instant gratification!). Being nice helps fans connect positively, and so they should be given that opportunity. Some don't care or just want a freebie, or are underage and can't buy, and those are the ones that tend to ignore you. But after asking nicely, it's not like they didn't know they were not supposed to be sharing and that further action was likely.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby TropicanaTina » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:48 pm

I feel kind of torn about the experience of hunting down scanlations. For one, it just takes way too much work and time, which is only compounded on the time and work spent actually localizing the book, and it remains to be seen if the compensation will be worth putting even more hours into each book. And once it's out there, I feel like it'll basically ALWAYS be out there. It's just a losing battle. I have spent a bit of time dealing with scanlations, though. One title I worked on has been scanlated in full for years, another had only the first couple chapters scanlated and then apparently abandoned. I haven't even bothered with the latter, but I did contact several sites over the former, with mixed results. I find that going straight to the scanlators with a friendly message is easy, but among the countless aggregators, some just flat-out ignored my email and others claimed to cooperate but, upon further inspection, they only removed the main listing of links and the files could still be found by going to them directly, an easy task with a simple Google search.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Shroud » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:13 am

It does take alot of time, but I can tell you it pays off. My sales rankings have climbed a few spots each, which means people gave in and bought, when previously they nosedived after scan teams released the remainder of the manga after a years long hiatus from working on it. Literally sitting and watching the file sharing sites for uploads as they occur and getting themr emoved imediately led to fewer people uploading, and indeed, many telling requesters "it's licensed and out, so buy it". THAT shift in attitude towards sharing a licensed title is worth every penny IMO, and bound to have long term effects.Aggreagtors are a real nuiscance, yes. Removing their Google results from images and search though means that when people search, reviews and legal listings come up, which benefits us. Is it worth it? Seeing as we continue to get royalties on a title for its lifetime of years, yes, I think it does.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Shroud » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:47 am

I just exchanged emails with Dangerous Pleasure, and received a complaint from them that DMG members have been emailing them and being extremely rude. I have no idea what's been sent to them and they failed to elaborate, but I do ask that my fellow DMGers remember that they represent the DMG and its members, and any rudeness makes all look less than well. As they felt free to share the entirety of my email to Aarinfantasy regarding my takedown request, I'm going to quote directly as well in reciprocation so that their feelings on how they see themselves as being treated are seen as they wish all DMG members to stop the behaviour:
From: Dangerous Pleasure (dp_scanlations@y....)
Sent: 10 March 2012 02:43:26
To: kimikokotani@l....)
Thank you for contacting us with regards to your new license, however these emails are unnessessary as DP Scanlations's licensing policy is that once a project is officially licensed the files will be removed before the release post of the week following the announcement.

Also, I would like to take this time to note that I do not appreciate the aggressiveness that is in every email that comes from DMG. We have been in contact with multiple publishers regarding licenses, including your parent group DMP, and not a single one treats us with the disrespect and unprofessionalism that DMG does.

I realize that DMG is fighting an uphill battle, but I also know that DMP reached out to scanlators in order to create DMG. To blame DMG's shortcomings on scanlators when the very people who help make up DMG come from that background is very disconcering, as it reflection poorly not only on DMG, but also on us as yaoi readers.

Please feel free to continue sending us licensing announcements, however if the announcement hasn't been made publically yet these emails will be posted as citation.

Scry

Now I do see that they are refusing to cease distribution of licensed titles UNTIL DMP make an announcement with an actual release date, and I am all to aware that they broke their own rule when it came to Aiso tsukashi and did a mass release a month after it was for sale. they did however go to Aarinfantasy and second my request (already granted) that Takaga Koi daro be noted as licensed and the files to stop being shared there, so they met me halfway. They have NOT noted it nor other titles listed as in production as licensed nor have they disabled the files on their own filesharing locker site. How much of this is due to their policy and how they wish to implement in regards to DMG or because they feel slighted and /or threatned by wording in emails from DMGers, I have no idea. I don't even know what the wording on those emails actually were to make any personal judgement on what was said. I'm just passing their request along for people to please be polite when sending emails to people regarding file shares.

If they refuse, I think it best to not argue, as it is pointless and just makes us look rude and unprofessional, and simply deal then directly with the actual file hosts. They tend to get the material removed within hours. Anyways, I've passed their message to DMG members along, and said my piece.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby HiroPon » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:34 am

Thanks for sharing this information, Shroud. As you have mentioned, this is a delicate situation and it really depends on a case-by-case scenario. Some sites are really good about taking down content in accordance to the publication schedule but others are not as cooperative. I believe it's best to first send a respectful request e-mail before sending out an upfront & abrupt warning demanding them to take immediate action.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Shroud » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:35 pm

Thanks, Hiropon. The scanlator in question emailed me again, and it seems the "aggression" is the act of asking them to remove the scans and inferring or stating they are repsonsible for the files being shared...

They also state it is DMP's fault they continue to do share, as DMP has not issued an official licensing announcing for all teh titles DMG is going to be doing, and that as they are doing illegal activity anyway, adhering to legal request is of no interest to them other than they will take after official release, though again, this IS the group that scanlated Aiso tsukasi (Tired of waiting for Love) a full month AFTER release (and knowing about it by their own public posting announcing their release). So, until and/or unless DMP makes formal license announcements of DMG titles, or they see live release, they will not co-operate. That means if you want the files down before then, you'll have to ask the filesharing site it is on by reporting the file.

Aarinfantasy, however, if asked nicely, when a group received their schedule A and publicly announces they have begun work on a title, WILL mark it as licensed and remove dl links from the Aarinfantasy listing. They did so for me when I asked yesterday.
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