Not Wrong.

[Original Article Here]
You copied something. That’s all. You
didn’t steal, you didn’t take false credit, you didn’t intercept money that belongs to someone else. All you did was copy something. You took part in a ritual as old as the human race: the act of sharing a piece of culture or information.

Some people may try to make you feel bad about what you did. They’ll tell you that by copying something, you took money out of the pocket of an artist (but you know you didn’t — in fact, you probably helped the artist by spreading their work). They’ll tell you that what you did is analogous to counterfeiting money (it’s not). They might claim to you that the whole purpose of copyright is to supposed to be to provide artists with a stable income, even though that’s not why copyright was invented, copyright is not how most artists earn their livings anyway, and overall it probably does more harm to artists than it does good.

When these people tell you you’ve done something wrong, they’re asking you to help support a myth, but you’re under no obligation to go along. In fact, we’d appreciate it if you’d point them to this page.

So don’t buy it.

We don’t mean "don’t buy the song", of course. You should absolutely buy the song (or movie, or CD or DVD) if you want to — though if you really want to support the artist, it’s often more efficient to just send them money, because that way there’s no monopoly-based organization in the middle skimming most of your support away (naturally, if you feel the intermediary is doing good work, then support them too; many publishers are providing a valuable service). It might be that the copying you did, or contemplated doing, is illegal in the country where you did it — a lot of countries have laws against copying. We encourage you to obey the laws in your jurisdiction. We just mean don’t buy the argument. Don’t give those laws authority over your emotions. If you’ve copied something, don’t feel guilty, because you didn’t do anything wrong.

There are many practical and philosophical reasons for obeying a law you don’t agree with, but there is never a reason to feel guilty about breaking a law you don’t agree with. If you broke a law against copying publicly-available data, and someone’s trying to make you feel bad about that, then send them here, or at least ask them to make a rigorous case for what they’re claiming. Can they justify the position that humans shouldn’t be allowed to share culture freely? If they’re saying that the economic concerns for artists are so great as to trump the serious civil liberties concerns with this position, do they have actual numbers to back that up? Have they talked to the artists who have been hurt by copyright restrictions? The translators who couldn’t translate because the law wouldn’t allow them to? The teachers who couldn’t teach the material they needed? The publishers and distributors who couldn’t bring great books and films to audiences?

Copying is not wrong, and you didn’t do anything wrong. So don’t feel bad — just spread the word.

About the author


I'm the Fuwanovel community admin and a big fan of Visual Novels. The easiest way to get a hold of me is via a PM on the Fuwanovel Forums, by twitter (@ArchmageTay), or by email.


  • I thought you were posting this shit on Sharing is Liberty now so we don’t have to deal with your propaganda while we’re looking at Visual Novel news

  • Copyright infringement may not be wrong, but for those who wish to see more titles translated, it is in our interest to see people buy visual novels that get translated. If a company like MangaGamer had a larger fraction of people playing their story based titles actually buying them, then not only would MangaGamer be able to get more, higher quality titles to translate, other companies would be more interested in getting into the English market with the struggling domestic market and the net amount of titles translated would go up. Copying may be fine, but it is in our self interest for companies selling translations to succeed if we want more translations.

      • That isn’t a question of copyright, but rather saying that this is a question of self interest.

        If MangaGamer could get 5k sales instead of 1-2k sales, we would have a lot more titles and higher profile titles getting translated though that process, and thus fans in the VN community would have more things to play. It wouldn’t be an issue if every meaningful VN got a fan translation, but for now that is not the case, so for now MG translating a title (not picking up a fan translation) is to the benefit of the community as it is more titles translated for the community. In this way there is a self interest argument which supports buying things from them.

      • Okay.
        a 4 minute clip
        ^ This summarizes my argument.

        The economic argument is to maximize the number of translations right? That is the only thing that is of value to an internet denizon. Then a self-interest argument would say that the money should be donated to fan translators to support their activity and there is no need for licensing fees (rent-seekers share) and shareholders fees (middleman’s share).
        No advertising budget. No middleman budget. No JAST/MG waiting on the Japan team to do their shit. (MG )
        Efficiency soars. Maximum translation.

        The only reason why this isnt happening, is because the government grants a de jure monopoly to private citizens that allows them to employ the State’s branch of coercion to force other private citizens to comply with their request, At-Gun-Point! (in this case people whom you have SOLD to).

      • If copyright disappeared tomorrow, yes there would be more translations of existing material, but you are delusional if you think they would be mainly coming from paid fans, they would still be going through companies, just ones who don’t deal with middlemen.

        Donate to fans to fan translate is not sustainable on a large basis with or without copyright. The reason is simple, trust. An environment asking for payment would very quickly have users get burned to opportunistic individuals, who would no longer give money. Even unintentionally, in case you didn’t notice many fan translators have a tendency to disappear and the majority who don’t disappear are slower than the typical title through the official channels. Sure a few translators like Ixrec would be able to keep something sustainable if they wanted to be independent, but these individuals would be few. Instead, the market would be dominated by companies with “pay to translate this title”, not the fan translators who would be similar or slightly larger in scope to what we have today, translating at best a handful of big titles each year. .

        That said, abstract ideals of having a world without copyright is nice and everything, but stupid to do in this community. Any major changes through copyright would be coming from opposition to music/movies (and there have been some signs of this, such as the recent report by one of the major US political parties calling for much more reasonable copyright laws, although the report was pulled it’s sings of progress). But in this very small community compared to major industries, it is foolish for individuals wishing to maximize the number of translations to not support MG and Jast because of the realistic self interest argument that a thriving industry here would increase the number of companies and the number of big titles those companies get.

      • I’m not sure what is the difference in your scenario between a fan translator and a company. Paying to one is the same as paying to the other in terms of the amount of translations we get.

        Reputation solves the problem that you raised. Don’t be so frivolous as to think that I will part with my hard-earned money unless you have a reputation. Go and translate 1 or 2 or 4 games for me before you’re laying hands on THIS purse. After you’ve given me a few games, THEN I will think about contributing.

        I really wonder why anyone would be stupid enough to think that they can impact the direction of politics in Washington, by blogging here.

        I say absolutely support JAST & MG if you want to. Why not? The more translations the better.

        The most important point here is to show translators that they don’t need to fear the situation of having to give up their work because the monopolist encroaches on them.
        I’m saying that they can lift their heads high and do their work without moral dilemma. Is that not an important thing that we should be doing, to encourage our translators? And if it is legal repercussion that they fear, Peter Payne isn’t interested in suing the fans because of the bad press he’ll get and the backlash that will result.

        And you BET’YA I’ll be defending my peers until my own head is on the chopping block.

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