Orignally posted in my other blog “Enjoy and Exciting”
I have a subscription to Wired because of my Mediabistro paid membership, and I have to say, I love it. Sometimes it’s a bit too fanboy for me. (Hey editors, chicks read Wired, too!) But it’s really many of the things I love, popular science, soft technology, underground geek culture, all in one magazine. And delivered in a clear, informative, non-snarky way, which is key, since too many publications these days are heavy on snark, low on information.
There’s a fantastic article about manga (japanese comics) and dojinshi (japanese amateur comics, usually based on existing popular manga) and it’s the first magazine article I’ve read that goes beyond limited perceptions of dojinshi among those who know of it in the U.S. — i.e. it’s all fan-fiction, it’s all pornographic. But also the author delves into the even more fascinating (and very peculiar) copyright culture in Japan that allows the sometimes-derivative work to be sold freely alongside its source.
Without getting too much into it (the article does a much better job) it’s not exactly legal, but it’s essentially a live-and-let-live consumer culture,where the content owners assume that fan interest and activity will increase, not decrease, interest in the original work. Its the same perspective employed by musical artists that permit fans to remix their songs, only with manga, it’s industry-wide. Of course now that manga is becoming more of an international cash cow, maybe we’ll see the underground trade of dojinshi become more regulated by U.S. manga distributors.
I don’t exactly how that works. Or if it will work. But after several years of having the discussion go on in fandom circles, I am glad to see it getting some mainstream coverage, because its a small part of a larger issue about copyright reform that anyone who works in a creative industry will have a stake in.