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BeBeautiful Manga Be Illegally??

I was just sent an email by MangaCast field correspondent K about some potentially huge news from Japanese BL publisher Libre. No, the company has not gone out of business! No worries there fujoshi. Insteasd, the publisher is warning North American readers about some books that they allege are illegally on the market. And they specifically name one North American licensee in a press release on their website (also found on their homepage, in ENGLISH no less!!).

(translated notice below)
Notice on Unauthorized Translations by Central Park Media

Thank you very much for your continued interest in our publications.

Please note that we also offer copyright licensing service for translations of our own publications to foreign publishers. These are commissioned by each of the cartoonists and authors.

Recently, it has come to our attention that some translations of our publications have been published and some are to be published by Central Park Media (Label: Be Beautiful) in the United States. We wish to make it known that these publications are considered illegal because they have not been authorized by us. It should also be known that the cartoonists and authors are being victimized by this illegal act, and they are very annoyed by it.

We strongly protest this illegal infringement of our property and issuing a strong order for CPM to cease their illegal acts. We also wish our faithful readers to refrain from purchasing, loaning, or sharing any and all of these illegal publications.

Thank you.
Libre Publishing Co.,Ltd.

Anyway you look at this, this is huge!! Since CPM started making noise about resuming publication back before YaoiCon 2006, the company's foundation was firmly on their BL titles. They confirmed that a number of those properties would continue in 2007 and they even signed a distribution deal with Consortium to get those books out on shelves (resolving a problem the pub is infamous for). Books once again were available on their website and shipments have been made to online retailers since.

At NYCC, the publisher repeated their claims of :new licenses" for this year and 2008. At their panel their representatives even revealed which titles would see re/prints in the up-coming months.

Looking at distributors Diamond Previews has the publisher listed for a number of books this spring and online stores like the Right Stuf and Amazon have books listed through early summer. If a cease and desist order is sent out the majority of those books will not likely ship at all. And what will happen to existing releases like Cage in the Finder or Kizuna #1-5 currently in stock in a few stores? These books are now in limbo, but they are exactly what Libre is pointing out in their message.

Furthermore, Libre makes it very clear that they are not alone protesting this. They make a point to inform the public that the original creators are not in support of CPM's actions. That and the way they ask the public to avoid purchasing or even sharing illegal CPM publications gives me the impression that Libre wants to really make it clear to a very active and knowledgeable fanbase that they are very serious about this matter. They would not mention that if they were not aware that Western fans support this company passionately.

I have never seen anything like this before. Some licenses are pulled by Japanese pubs and no one outside of the licensee knows why. And to have this posted on a publishers homepage in English and Japanese is clearly a first for me. I am almost left speechless... But we have not heard from CPM yet.

What is their take on the story? The pub has had enough issues over the last two years. Will they continue to move forward while resolving their problems over the Tokyo Animation Festival break later this week? And with books on sale now and some books scheduled for release as soon a April 3rd, the bigger question will be: what are readers to do?

More as news comes in



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
LOL! I've been waiting for this!!!

Damn you Ed, you got me by 3 minutes!
Mar. 19th, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
Gah, I knew things were bad with BeBe and honestly nothing should surprise me if it involves them. But this time they have outdone themselves. They win! Outside of locusts eating their copies of Doggie Poo, I don't think it can get any worse.
Mar. 20th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
I was going to say - this is not surprising at all. CPM is 13 kinds of shady.
Mar. 20th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
Mar. 20th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, this isn't a rumor!
Mar. 20th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
LOL! I know...but Ed and I were said to have been engaging in rumorsmack as we discussed this at GGY.
Mar. 19th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
Didn't CPM license some of those Libre BL titles back when Biblos still existed? Perhaps that might have something to do with it?
Mar. 19th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Quite possible. Most other publishers renegotiated those licenses with their respective rights holders. If the creators themselves are annoyed its possible that someone was left out of the loop when BeBe started selling their books again.
Mar. 20th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
Liscencing issues
That is quite possible considering Cage in The Finder series has yet to be reprinted in Japanese by Libre unlike titles such as Bokura no Oukoku. Perhaps that could be why it is considered illegal for CPM to be publishing titles such as that?
Mar. 20th, 2007 12:28 am (UTC)
If I recall, CPM was stating that they were 'trying to negotiate' further volumes with Libre...this was there excuse for, late releases.
Mar. 22nd, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
I just heard about this when I went over to Libre's website. Jeez... this ain't good at all. I mean this will certainly reduce the confidence of the Japanese publishers in American publishers. Already there's a huge difficulty getting Japanese novels translated to English and now this ...

Usually Japanese companies are quite polite and to issue warnings like these mean things have really gone ugly. CPM's future is GLOOMY...
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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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