There has been a lot of discussion about illegally uploaded manga within the past year and this time, we have another one sounding off on this issue. But his take on it is quite different from the norm. Rather, he doesn’t mind that it is uploaded just as long as it is not used for commercial purposes. The manga-ka in question is Shuho Sato, creator of Say Hello to Black Jack, Umizaru, and The Isle of TOKKOU.
Sato see’s illegally uploaded manga as a publicity and a promotional wheel that benefits his works. He has also been self-publishing his works since last summer and has made promo’s that provided his works free for online reading for one month. Whether this works in his favor or not is unknown as it is hard to quantify the impact of illegal downloads to actual earnings gained or lost.
I personally think his seal of approval for his works to be made available for all is very gutsy. If you think about it, lots of sites make money out of something free whether it’s intentional or not; ad banners, subscriptions, donations, and so on. Manga reading sites display ad banners to defray hosting costs. Even if you open up a free web site, most of the time, the company will place ads in the site. Donations are sometimes asked by scanlation sites which is still making money and some sites are uncouth enough to even ask for subscriptions for free content. There are very few ways in which manga can be distributed that is truly free and that is what I see an issue with this manga’s move to approve illegal downloads of his work. It’s very commendable but is it sensible?