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Self-Publishing News: Manga Publishers Win Record Compensation In Piracy Ruling

Self-Publishing News: Manga Publishers Win Record Compensation in Piracy Ruling

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

It feels like a long time since we had a really big story on ALLi's News Column about piracy that wasn't actually a story about AI.

This week we have such a story. Courts in Tokyo ruled that piracy site Manga-Mura should pay 1.7bn yen (US$10m) to three manga publishers in Japan for lost revenue. The fine, which was intended to send a clear deterrent message, is the highest the court has ever issued. But what’s really interesting is that the fine is only 10% lower than the amount originally sought by Kadokawa, Shueisha and Shogakukan, the plaintiffs. They had based their claim on a calculation of lost revenue. And they had calculated the amount of revenue lost in a very straightforward way. By multiplying the number of views their material had received on the pirate site by the amount they would have received for each of those views had the work been paid for.

Calculating the actual revenue lost from piracy is notoriously difficult. How many of the pirated reads would have been paid for in a world with no pirate sites is something that has eluded most research. But the simplicity of the calculation that feels as though it has been endorsed in this case really is something to sit up and take note of whenever we face something similar.

HarperCollins & Eleven Labs

Without wanting to dwell too much on AI, and aware that I have already given it a full slot this week, I will simply mention in passing the latest news from HarperCollins. The publishing giant has announced a collaboration with AI company Eleven Labs. It will make some of HC’s backlist available in audio format, using AI narration, in territories where HC has the rights but not the resources to use a voice actor.

Which is where there feels a certain link to the first story. As hinted in the last paragraph, the fallback argument of pirates is that there are no lost sales because these are not people who would have bought the book if they had no option but to pay. HarperCollins has explicitly used the fallback argument of firms using AI to narrate audiobooks. This is not lost revenue for voice actors, because without AI these books would never have been turned into audio.

How convincing the argument is in either setting I will leave for others more opinionated and knowledgeable than me to comment on. I will simply note the arguments do sound a little similar.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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