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I have been a manga reader for a long time, and also a developer. I know about the rules, like manga content can't and should not be edited without the author's permission, etc. But my question is, are they freeware and shareware? Can I just take or download or store or transfer or share content without the author's prior permission?

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    Manga isn't software and no you can't go around downloading it and uploading it elsewhere without the authors consent, since you generally need to pay for manga why would it be ok for you to then upload it where the author no longer receives money for it? – Memor-X Jun 23 '16 at 6:46
  • there are some exceptions like web comics but it's still morally wrong to download it from the author's site and upload it elsewhere without their consent, especially if they derive income from their work via the adds on the website – Memor-X Jun 23 '16 at 6:48
  • The terms are not applied to softwares only. No. I asked because we have many softwares and websites that download manga on play store. If its not leagal why google have not banned those apps! – Spark Jun 23 '16 at 7:01
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    because the Google and Apple App stores are lazy. if Apple cracked down on copyright infringement in their App Store (ie. apps stealing characters from other games and using it in their own game) you won't belive how many apps would be taken down. and Google's App Store has less strict QA which is why it's easier to get apps on there. also most Manga Readers are just leeching manga from other websites, otherwise why would there more than 1 app getting manga from Manga Fox? – Memor-X Jun 23 '16 at 7:11
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    not to mention one app on the app store gets manga from an illegal manga hosting website that still hosts a manga even when it has been officially licences and translated (like Bleach and Naruto) – Memor-X Jun 23 '16 at 7:11
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No?

[...] are they Freeware and Shareware?

First things first, we have some terminology confusion here. Nobody describes anything besides computer software as "freeware" and/or "shareware". Manga is not software.

Manga, like other creative works, are generally encumbered by copyright, the entire point of which is that the creator (i.e. not you) has exclusive rights to distribute the works in question. While it is certainly possible to license one's works more permissively (for some varieties of copyrightable material, Creative Commons is popular), I expect that you will literally never see commercial manga with a permissive license.

Can i just take [..] content without authors prior permission?

larceny ‎(n.)

the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods of another from his or her possession with intent to convert them to the taker's own use.

Can i just [...] download [...] content without authors prior permission?

While you probably shouldn't, and while this is against the law in many jurisdictions, I seem to recall there being some jurisdictions (probably Scandinavian, or maybe I'm just making that up) in which only providing (i.e. uploading) copyrighted content leaves one legally culpable.

Can i just [...] store [...] content without authors prior permission?

Obviously if you have purchased a volume of manga from a bookstore, you have the right to store it. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may even have the right to digitize it and/or make backup copies. Consult a local legal professional if you really care.

Can i just [...] transfere [...] content without authors prior permission?

If you have purchased a volume of manga from a bookstore, you probably have the right to give or sell that volume to someone. In the U.S., this is called the first-sale doctrine, and most reasonable jurisdictions have something similar.

The question of whether one can "transfer" a piece of electronic content by sending them a copy and then deleting all your copies is difficult to answer. Depending on your jurisdiction, the law may not have caught up to figuring out how to deal with digital artefacts.

You probably do not have the right to transfer a copy to someone else. Because, you know, copyright.

Can i just [...] share content without authors prior permission?

If you have purchased a volume of manga from a bookstore, you can certainly let your friends read it, unless you live in North Korea.

If by "share" you mean in the sense of electronic peer-to-peer sharing, this is jurisdiction-dependent. I would suggest that this is a practice of dubious ethicality.

I know about the rules like manga content can't and should not be edited without authors permission and etc

Somehow, you've gotten this part wrong, too. You can probably do basically anything you want with manga created by someone else, modulo general restrictions on speech that are applicable in your jurisdiction. If you want to redraw Attack on Titan to be about an actual attack on Titan, have at it!

Issues arise when you distribute this derivative content. Derivative works tend to have the same copyright protections as the original work, save for some exceptions like fair use.


This answer is written in broad generalities because I am not a lawyer and because there is no such thing as "the rules" when it comes to law (besides, like, the Geneva Conventions). If you have specific legal questions, go to Law.SE or find an actual lawyer or something.

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Like what Memor-X said in his comment, you can't download a manga and then share it around. Like other works, manga is also subject to copyright law. Normally the copyright holder would be either the author or the publisher, depending on their contract. Popular artists such as Mashima Hiro, Masashi Kishimoto, and Kubo Tite would most likely have the copyright over Fairy Tail, Naruto, and Bleach, given their popularity (which means they would have better bargaining power over the contract). Anyway, most of the time the copyright holder would not just release their work to the public without nothing for them to gain, which in most case is money. Means that if you want to get a copy of their work, then you have to pay up.

Downloading/copying/scanning (and anything similar to that) is against their (the copyright holders) interest, and thus is likely to be prohibited by them. Of course if they themselves explicitly permit people to do so then it would be legal for people to do it. For more information about copyright see here.

As far as I know, copyright has expiration time. After it is expired you would be able to copy it and share it without consent of the owner since it has entered the public domain.

  • Depending on where you live, and depending on how often your legislative branch adjusts the law as written, one may not see that copyright expiration in their lifetime. – Makoto Jun 23 '16 at 14:54
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Basically, you can't do nothing with certain content without author's permission, if it is protected by intellectual property laws (manga for sure is). There are licenses, which allow you to download, modify, share, or do whatever you want with content, but again, if content is distributed under this license, this means, that author basically granted permission to everyone.

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