Turning Internet piracy into profit is the holy grail for many content creators and distributors. Whether it be music, movies or software, people have been looking for ways to monetize media on file-sharing networks for as long as they’ve been around.
While there are ultra-aggressive approaches – such as the pay-up-or-else schemes flooding Europe and the United States – occasionally individuals come up with more creative approach worthy of attention.
One such individual is manga creator Ken Akamatsu, who today announced that he will start an ambitious scheme to monetize illicit copies of out-of-print manga currently residing in huge volumes on file-sharing networks.
Akamatsu will launch the “Illegal Manga File Purification Project” tomorrow via his J-Comi site. While noting that all fans have obtained illicit out-of-print manga via file-sharing networks “at least once”, Akamatsu is offering to ‘purify’ these files so that the creators can be paid for their work and subsequent downloaders can do so legally. According to AnimeNewsNetwork, the scheme will work as follows.
Manga fans with illicit files on their hard drive will be asked to upload them (or links to them on file-sharing networks) to the J-Comi site. Whilst keeping uploader identities private, J-Comi will contact the original creators of the files and obtain permission to monetize the content.
Once they have agreement, J-Comi will bundle advertising into the manga releases and reintroduce them back onto file-sharing networks. For this service there will be no charge and the original creators will receive 100% of the advertising revenue.
If agreement with the creators cannot be reached “the files will be abandoned and the files will continue to drift through hell [file-sharing networks]. Perhaps forever…,” Akamatsu predicts.
While this attempt at returning some revenue to the creators of these files is to be applauded, Ken Akamatsu could find himself an extremely busy man indeed, and maybe one with a rather large headache. Nevertheless, we wish him good luck for trying something positive. It has to be better than the alternative.