Ken Akamatsu invites downloaders to do penance for their sins

It's Lent, the time of penance and atonement, and manga creator Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima) is inviting file-sharers to purify their purloined manga. Anime News Network has helpfully translated his message of hope, which was originally posted in Japanese.

Akamatsu has been experimenting with online manga, and last year he launched a Japanese comics site called J-Comi that features out-of-print manga, including his own Love Hina. Akamatsu has gotten some of the big publishers to play along, but in Japan, the creators often hold the digital rights and they get to call the shots.

Now he has come up with an interesting twist that combines his business plan with private expiation of guilt: He asks readers who have downloaded manga illegally through file-sharing services such as Winny to forward the files to him. (Reassuringly, he says, "everyone has done this at least once.") Interestingly, he also asks people who merely know of such files to go ahead and download them and send them to him. Akamatsu and his crew will contact the creators, and if they get the go-ahead, insert ads and post the files on J-Comi. All the ad revenue will go directly to the creator, J-Comi gets the benefit of the added content, and the downloader stop feeling guilty and start sleeping better.

If the creators don't choose to play along, of course, nothing will change:

"However, if the creators do not give their OK, the files will be abandoned and the files will continue to drift through hell (Winny). Perhaps forever…."

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