Award-Winning Manga Author Opens Up His Work To Be Used By 'Anyone, Anywhere, For Anything,' Royalty-Free

from the your-move,-Disney dept

There's a rhetorical question that often gets thrown our way here at Techdirt: "If you remove the protection of copyright, how are artists supposed to make a living?" Despite many, many answers having been given, the question persists. Here's another look at a possible answer in progress.

Via Plagiarism Today comes the news that Shuho Sata, the author of "Burakku Jyakku ni Yoroshiku" ("Say Hello to Black Jack"), is getting set to fly without the copyright safety net. He's freeing his 10-million selling manga from the limits of copyright as a form of "second use."
This means that after 15 September anyone in the world will be free to novelize, televise, create merchandise, or in any way adapt the original work for either commercial or non-commercial purposes without having to pay royalties. This is the latest move in the writer's quest to find alternatives to the “outdated” model of intellectual property rights.
Earlier this year, Sato ended his relationship with the original publisher of the Black Jack series and started his own publishing website, where his works are currently uploaded. That was the first step in Sato's quest to discover how artists might make a living without relying on exclusivity and enforcement.
“The traditional model of making profit by holding onto a copyright is gradually going stale” he said. “I want to explore the possible benefits to authors beyond this system.”
To this end, Sato will also be displaying his work at the pixiv Zingaro in Tokyo and providing a copier for visitors to use to "replicate whatever they want." A few more details of his plan are available at the pixiv Zingaro site. Sato will not actually be renouncing his copyright. Instead, he has chosen to not enforce it, in essence granting the entire world free rein to use his work to create foreign language adaptations, applications, commercial films, TV series, produce merchandise or anything else the "second users" can come up with. 

The fine print on the deal reads as such (translation a bit wonky -- via Chrome):
Terms of Use: do not need to contact us in advance.
Royalty others: we do not require any reward.
You are happy if you can use the work freely.
Sato admits he has no idea how this will turn out, but is clearly interested in observing the results. His feeling seems to be (again, translation issues) that there has to be a better system than the current one and the only way we'll find something better, or one that fits more in line with today's technology, is to head in the opposite direction and see where that leads us.

Someone is sure to point out that Sato is only doing this after selling 10 million copies thanks to existing copyright laws, as if that somehow negates the effort he's making. I invite those particular someones to observe all the other artists out there who have sold millions but still clutched that copyright close to their chests for the remainder of their lifetimes and well into the lives of their heirs. 

Filed Under: copyright, manga, royalty free, shuho sata

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  1. icon
    sehlat (profile), 27 Aug 2012 @ 8:45am

    "Well into the lives of their heirs."

    Indeed. And quite beyond them.

    Christopher Robin (THE Christopher Robin [Milne]) died in 1996 of OLD AGE. And "Winnie the Pooh" is still in copyright.

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