Scanlation site Manga Rock is scheduled to shut down soon after various copyright holders within the manga industry and media outlets criticized the site for providing visitors with copyrighted material, and making money off said material with paid subscriptions without putting anything back into the coffers of the creators.
The news was reported over on Japanese news site J-Cast, who picked up a quote from the group, who told them…
“At that time, we didn’t understand the manga industry, we didn’t know the origin of the scan (including the non-official license), and we know that it will damage manga artists and publishers over time.
“Moreover, as the popularity of “Manga Rock” increased, so did the damage, so we deeply reflected on our role in accelerating the popularity of scanning and made victims out of the artists and publishers. As a result, we plan to close our scan collection site and app, and recommend that similar scan collection sites (there are many) be closed as well. To those in the manga industry, we are truly sorry for the trouble. ”
As noted in the J-Cast report, the site was owned by Not A Basement Studio, a Vietnamese outfit ran by college students that hail from around the Southeast Asia region.
According to Crunchbase, Not A Basement Studio has been in operation since 2009, and Manga Rock was formed shortly after that.
Over the years they collected more than 50,000 works, and 5 million downloads of their mobile app.
As noted by Anime News Network, the big criticisms came from the fact that Manga Rock had a premium service for those who wanted access to freshly released manga. All it would cost you is a $5 monthly subscription.
Irodori Comics CEO, On Takahashi, took to Twitter to lambaste Manga Rock back on August 27th, 2019, which was a strong impetus for the site to announce its closure.
Japanese Tweet thread explained in English.
— On Takahashi （「イロ鳥」代表：高橋温） (@OnTakahashi) August 28, 2019
Takahashi basically encouraged artists to check if their works were hosted on Manga Rock and then contact the company and request them to take down the works or encourage a publisher to file a takedown request. Across multiple tweets Takahashi wrote…
“・Manga Rock is an aggregator app that is made available on the App Store and Google Play Store.
・MR posts hundreds of illegal scans of Japanese artists.
・Not a single dollar of the advertisement revenue goes to the artists.
“・NONE of the works on MR are uploaded with the artists’ blessings. They are all illegally uploaded without permission.
・To rub salt into the wound, they have started a “Subscription service” using your works. Charging around $5 per month.
・Make no mistake, MR is out here to kill artists and their livelihood.
“・While countless manga authors are struggling to make ends meet, MR workers have a fancy office in Vietnam, decked out with Macs.
・Vietnam is considered a close ally of Japan, and we have fostered very strong diplomatic ties with one another.
・They also love Japanese anime and manga content. So it’s heartbreaking to see that a Vietnamese company is bringing suffering to the very Japanese authors that the Vietnamese people claim to love.
“・So what can we do about it?
・First, authors should check if their works are on MR.
・If it is, encourage your publisher to request a takedown.”
Well, Not A Basement Studio appears to have complied, and will be shutting down Manga Rock. They didn’t give an exact date but apparently the shut down is happening soon.
At the time of writing this article you can still access Manga Rock’s main website, but there’s no telling when it will close up shop for good.
(Thanks for the news tips DarkExe and Hot Katsuragi)