Vertical has made an announcement on their website today that their license announcement of Furiya Urusama’s No Longer Human was “prematurely disclosed”. The license was originally announced just this past weekend at New York Anime Fest.
“Due to a communication error between the company’s New York and Tokyo offices, the property was falsely presented as slated for publication. While the licensors for this series and Vertical are currently actively in contract negotiations, the North American rights have not been secured. Vertical, Inc. will continue to work with the rights holders for No Longer Human with hopes to properly acquire the license, and it apologizes to all parties involved in this unfortunate and unintentional error.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened with Vertical in particular. News of their acquisition of Osamu Tezuka’s Ayako was out to the public prior to finalizations of the contract after the listing appeared on Amazon and, in an unrelated event, was revealed by a representative at one of their Vertical Vednesday presentations.
Incidents like these always make me wonder – what kind of guidelines do companies generally follow when it comes to proper handling of yet-to-be-finalized titles? For a good while, and still to some point today, it was common place to find out new licenses some time before they were officially announced simply by searching the newest manga additions on sites such as Amazon, RightStuf and AAAAnime. But in some instances it’s even been said the revelation of said titles immediately jeopardizes the license itself. Why then do companies make the thus presumably very risking decision to submit these books to distribution channels so early?
Speaking from personal experience, I received quite a bit of backlash when I chose to post the news of Ayako, both from a couple fellow bloggers and a company rep (from a company I choose not to disclose). I was told I risked the future of certain titles ever being published in English, that I was abusing something companies “couldn’t control”, among other less kindly-put things. Subsequently it resulted in me making the decision to withhold future titles I came across on these websites. I will admit, however, the decision has never sat well with me and I can easily tell you why.
Information posted on these sites is already fully available to the public, easy to come across “search ‘manga’) and made so by the companies themselves. It was entirely by accident (as I use Amazon in particular to create my pre-order lists) that I even came across these titles in the first place. Posting said info here on Kuriousity, or anywhere it was then reposted by others, was never intended to be malicious, and certainly wasn’t meant to be anything but a ‘huzzah!’ moment for fans. In nearly all cases this was also done only after approval was given from the companies involved, most of whom gave blanket-permission as long as proper disclaimers were used. Yet it’s still a shared sentiment by some that the action remains ‘unethical’ or ‘disrespectful’. I had the opportunity to discuss this topic briefly with some folks at last week’s NYAF event, and now in light of this news release from Vertical, I feel compelled to ask – what do you think?
If information is posted in public locations by companies or announced at open to public events, should this information still be considered forfeit in regards to reporting or sharing? Where does, and should, the onus lie?