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Scanlators As Produsers: Fan Participatory Practices Online: Free And Affective Manga Produsage And Distribution
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Web 2.0 and the new decentralized, many-to-many technosocial tolls empower consumers and users to reproduce, and distribute content on their own and without permission, shifting the boundaries of participation. Alternative collaborative communities that produce and distribute information, knowledge and culture without seeking profit or operating hierarchically challenge and/or correct commercial entities. This thesis deals with such a variety of collaborative community: the scanlation community. It explores, describes and explains what differences there are in the practices and understandings of scanlators, with a special focus on their attitudes towards legal ownership and profit motives. 

The main research question is: How do scanlators understand their cultural production, reproduction and distribution practices; with a special focus on which meanings do they ascribe to copyright infringement and the anti-profit motive? In particular, the study provides answers to the following questions: How do some become scanlators? What are the motives of the scanlators? How is scanlation organized? How is it managed? Which beliefs underpin it? Further impacts on and implications for the cultural industry of manga and the society at the level of politics, economy, and culture are taken into account and disccussed. Bruns' produsage based model of collaborative content production and usage is taken here as the main theoretical tool to analyze the participants, processes and principles of the scanlation community. Other concepts derived from fans studies and the political economy of media and communication complement the theoretical framework. Twenty qualitative interviews with individuals contributors to the collaborative process of content creation in a variety of groups were conducted. 

The analysis of the results of the research suggests that scanlators collaborate in competition and cooperation with their open, free, ad hoc and heterarchical alternative model of (unauthorized) manga tranlation, reproduction and distribution to correct the many shortcomings of the traditional model: it is free, faster and universally accessible; whereas the latter is expensive, slow, and geo-locked. Moreover, scanlators recognize author's moral rights and do not a priori disregard copyrights, but criticize licensing and rights handling mechanisms together with economic and political censorship. Finally, although they do not want to be paid for their free affective labour, they are not adverse to commercial approaches to their produsage, if these take place on their own terms. This thesis serves as a contribution for the better understanding of communal produsage practices, by the produsers themselves. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 102 p.
Keyword [en]
Scanlation, Web 2.0, participatory culture, fan cultures, produsage, copyright infringement, free labour, commercial approaches
National Category
Media Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-200973OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-200973DiVA: diva2:625476
Subject / course
Media and Communication Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
Available from: 2013-06-10 Created: 2013-06-04 Last updated: 2013-06-10Bibliographically approved

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