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Who gets paid when fanwork makes money? The example of the dojinshi market

Presentation for Media fandom and/as labor panel, Console-ing Passions, 20 July 2012

Nele Noppe

on 8 May 2013

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Transcript of Who gets paid when fanwork makes money? The example of the dojinshi market

Dojinshi Money and dojinshi Why does it work? nelenoppe.net

This presentation at bit.ly/NDhgWw Who gets paid when
fanwork makes money?
The example of the
dojinshi market What? Creators? Distribution? Legal? Actors? Fans Copyright holders Support companies Hybrid economy? Issues Final remarks nelenoppe.net
this presentation at bit.ly/NDhgWw State Dojinshi creators pay taxes on income earned from "self-published works" Rules of hybrid economy are always shifting discussions on whether or not something is proper "fan activity" (dojin shops, new dojinshi in dojin shops, dojinshi anthologies by commercial publishers)
clashes between copyright holders and dojinshi creators
boundaries are constantly in motion System works by the grace of copyright holders
Copyright holders don't always agree with what fans want to do
The system is vulnerable to interference (incidents, law changes) and fans have no legal recourse if something goes wrong fan creators have little control/rights Japanese copyright law forbids creation of derivative works without copyright holder's permission
no prosecution unless the copyright holder files a complaint
no complaints or case law so far -> dojinshi exist in a legal gray area conventions
dojin shops
mail order
online stores Dojin-shi: magazine created by group of like-minded people
Historically: many people necessary to cover publication costs, now also made by individuals
20~50 pages
Fiction and non-fiction, text, manga, illustrations, ...
Since 1980s: mostly fanworks
Mostly manga women and men: 2009 Comiket survey says creators are about two thirds female, general participants estimated to be about 50/50 men and women
dojinshi genres are somewhat gendered to strongly gendered Dojinshi sales don't cut into sales of
commercial works media companies
individual creators Companies that do profit directly from dojinshi:

Dojin shops
Printing companies
Transportation companies
Art materials companies

...have always been very explicit in their desire to profit from the creation of fanworks
motivations matter: both fans and copyright holders acknowledge each other's motivations and desired compensation
fans want to be compensated according to the rules of a gift economy, and they use money to further that gift economy
companies want to make money, and fans support that as long as companies treat fans and fanworks as having the same rights and responsibilities as pro creators and works

All parties feel like they're being respected,
and compensated fairly in the way they want gift/sharing economy

commercial economy hybrid economy fans rent booths at conventions, have dojin shops sell their fanworks (consignment sale)
prices of dojinshi: a few dollars ~ 10 dollars
the primary compensation that dojinshi creators want is the same as English-language fans who work in "pure" gift economies: sharing with friends
66 percent of dojinshi creators report being in the red
34 percent do make a profit. 10% of male fans and 6% of female fans report making more than 200000 yen ($2500) from their fanworks per year A hybrid economy "builds upon both the sharing and commercial economies (and) adds value to each. (...) The hybrid is either a commercial entity that aims to leverage value from a sharing economy, or it is a sharing economy that builds a commercial entity to better support its sharing aims." (Lessig 2008)

Technology allows amateurs to create/distribute/market works like only commercial entities could in the past
-> hybrid economies are increasing Why is money acceptable in the (hybrid) dojinshi economy? Dojinshi as hybrid economy
involving money in fan communities can be strengthen the position of female consumers
a fannish gift economy can survive and thrive even if money is involved, if everyone is seen to be playing fair and motivations are recognized and respected
but even then, a legal framework that protects both fannish gift economies and commercial economies seems necessary Source: http://englishclass.jp/reading/topic/Comiket Source: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/04/akihabara-round/ Total value of dojinshi market estimated at 70 billion yen
(approx. $900 million) (Yano Economic Research Institute, 2011) dojinshi community is a source of new talent
many professional artists started as dojinshi artists and continue to make dojinshi after turning pro line between fan and pro is quite thin
fans feel the door to professional career is open: 16 percent of dojinshi creators say they want to turn pro, 50 percent say they might want to turn pro if given the opportunity yaoi (male/male romance/porn created by and for female creators) began as a fannish genre, like slash
1980s: media companies noticed succes of yaoi in dojinshi market and made it into an "original" commercial genre, "boys' love" (BL)
other fannish genres have also "gone pro", this gives individual fan creators openings into pro market Copyright holders don't profit directly from dojinshi, but there are many indirect benefits:

free marketing
source of new artists
source of content innovation Explicitly trying to profit from fanworks is exactly what gets "outsider" companies in trouble in the English-language (female) fan community.

Why are these companies welcomed in the Japanese-language fan community? hybrid economy doesn't replace gift economies or commercial economies; it just allows them to interact to each other's mutual benefit and profit from the strengths of each, without destroying (the values of) either (also free exchange online)
Full transcript