Crypton’s Cease and Desist Letter: My View

Darkmirage blogged recently that Crypton sent Cease & Desist letter to a doujin circle that was trying to sell overpriced Hatsune Miku and Kagamine Rin dakimakura.

He purported that the dakimakura can be categorized as a mere bootlegger’s attempt to reap cash from the VOCALOID boom. As far as I understand his idea, CLOCK☆HEARTS is rightly served because it deviates from “the spirit of fan creations” by marketing, with an incorrect intention, products that lack creativity.

I don’t like the dichotomy of “good” and “bad” doujin activity he introduced. Here’s why…

I don’t know this, but I think Tony Taka can probably live off his Comike doujinshi sales. I’m damn sure he can make much more than all of CLOCK☆HEARTS’s profit combined just by selling slim booklets featuring Hinagiku in wild sex acts. Is his work creative? Not really. He just draws some other people’s characters in some predictable, err, situations. (As an avid fan of eromanga, I can attest this fact.) All works by those circle along the walls are pretty much the same. What about Tora no Ana, Mandarake, or stores of the same kind? How would you describe the doujinshi sales activity there? It’s all full-blown commercial.

Is this degree of commercialization bad? It’s all good from a consumer’s point of view. The more there is, the more products I can choose from. I don’t care about the intention of doujin circles. I just want a naked Miku to hump! Crypton prevents my access to it. I’m pissed. Simple as that.

The state of the doujin world today is the result of combination of works of small-time, inspired-by-character-love circles, and big name circles who make so much that you become envious. Commercial successes of the latter certainly inspire new small-time circles to join in. If it had not been for commercialization, I would not have been able to browse doujinshi at Tora no Ana, and I would not have been able to drool at this delicious Fate-san dakimakura (NSFW). If we had enforced DarkMirage’s fan creation ethics, the current situation simply could not have arisen. I, for one, would be sad about that.

I’m not saying that those doujinshi circles do not do any harm. They might bring competition, and the copyright holders might get less financial return as a result. They might put the work being derived under infavourable light. The copyright holders might get pissed off for whatever reasons. All unauthorized derivative works may do harm to the copyright holders no matter how much money people can make from it. But from which kind of harm should the law protect the copyright holders?

Neither am I saying that it’s trifle whether the original creators get compensated for the work or not. It’s just that I feel that copyright holders are having too much control over “their” IPs. Being able to prevent others from distributing derivative works and being compensated for the ideas are totally different matters. IMHO, if someone makes a yaoi doujinshi out of my manga characters and sells it at Comike, the law should allow me to demand some royalties, but it should not let me stop the doujinshi from being sold or distributed.

The doujinshi culture provides a fine example of what limited control over IP can bring. Some said it was hurting the industry. Some said it help ed make the original material more popular. One thing is certain though: the consumers are happy about this. (The number of people attending Comike is the best proof of this fact.) I’m siding with the consumers here.

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