JMangaDRM opponents should be sending love letters to the Japanese Digital Comics Association. As of March 26th, its “streaming manga” website JManga (which I covered here before) will stop selling new manga—and as of the end of May, manga already purchased will become unavailable to view. And there is no way to download and back up manga files that have been purchased from this site—they can only be read online.

At the end of May, loyal customers can kiss goodbye all the money they have ever spent at the site. Unused purchase points will be refunded as Amazon gift cards, but anything that’s been purchased will be gone for good. The irony is, JManga was originally founded as a way to fight the JMangaonline manga piracy of unauthorized “scanlation” sites. What it has ended up doing is proving that xkcd was right: if you want a media collection you can count on not to go away when someone else pulls the plug, piracy is often the only way to go.

Regardless, JManga has handed a great victory to both pirates and DRM fighters by going out of business and taking with it all the manga that anyone ever paid it for. Anyone who ever bought manga from JManga and didn’t understand the terrible price that comes with DRM lockdown surely will now.


  1. When you (falsely) claimed about “no way to download the manga you have purchased [sic]”, that will obviously CONFIRM to the Japanese publishers the “wisdom” of having the manga licensed under those temporary terms DRM protected.

    Now, obviously its technically impossible to MAKE it impossible to download a JManga library, and for those who are not interested in downloading their manga a screenshot at a time, there’s a python script circulating that will download you whole collection in one process.

    All that can honestly be said is that such downloading is not *permitted*. But that would be true with or without DRM ~ obviously nobody is going to be actually PURCHASING this kind of tiny niche market manga at $5 a pop. For the kind of micro-niche markets that JManga served ~ yuri, centaur salarymen, western classics adapted as manga ~ actually PURCHASING these manga would have to cost $20 or more. DRM or not, the lower royalty rates associated with the online access rather than digital download is the only way these kinds of micro-niche titles are likely to ever be viable.

    If they get the false idea from you that the DRM was SUCCESSFUL, that only makes it more likely that the next time someone tries an online access site for manga that have a market too small to bring out in a print edition, the Japanese publishers will insist on being “protected” by DRM.

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