A few weeks ago, Erin Daly mentioned Scanalations in her excellent article about the new manga apps from Viz and Yen Press. Below is the definition she linked to on â€œNo Flying, No tights.â€
Scanalation – In this age of internet file-sharing, one of the most important fan activities surrounding Japanese manga (or Korean manhwa or Chinese manhua) is a process called scanlation. Fans get physical copies of titles in their original language, scan in the pages, translate the text into the language they need (for us, English), and then post the results on the internet for fans to read. Scanlation is the term coined for this process, and it usually involves a number of fans working on different aspects. Officially, this is illegal under international copyright law. At this point, publishers have not attacked individuals fans or those downloading and reading the posted scanlations, but there have been some skirmishes from groups. Many groups have a kind of honor code — they will only publish scanlations of titles not yet available where they are (i.e. in the US), and once that titles becomes available, they will take their scanlations down. However, there are many sites that continue to publish series after they’ve been licensed for US distribution, and if you work with teenagers, you should know that many of them read their favorite series online, direct from Japan. For a similar process for anime, see fansubs.
Scanalations are important to teen librarians because they technically violate copyright, and there is a good chance that you are teens are viewing them on the library computers. I know they view them on ours. We are working on how to address the issue now, but it is a complicated problem.
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To Err is Human. It is also human to look for a scape goat, make excuses and wrap denial around ourselves like a cloak of invisibility. Alina Tugend, author of Better by Mistake, summarizes the process in her book. However, I think we can all recognize the steps we take to distance ourselves from mistakes.’ For exampleâ€¦
In December, I had a holiday party for our library’s anime club. The teens had been asking me for an anime trivia game, and I kept putting it off because I thought it would suck.’ I figured that I would do trivia at the Holiday Party. It would be like a special treat. I was delusional.’ I spent days coming up with trivia questions. I sat in my living room watching anime taking notes. I consulted the listserves. I read and reread fan sites and Wikipedia. I took online anime trivia tests. I drove myself mad writing questions.’ I stood in front of them with my list of questions, and they answered me with blank stares. There were 14 kids. They got 1/10 questions I wrote down. My more outspoken teens gave it to me straight. â€œThose series are old, I don’t know what you are talking about.â€ I kept my head on right. I started making up new questions on the spot, but I also started making excuses. Internally I was passing blame to the teens. â€œThey should have told me what series they wanted me to draw fromâ€ and â€œI’m not a thirteen year old girl, I’ve never read Chibi vampire.â€
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