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News > Licensing

Vertical’s Announcement of No Longer Human ‘Premature’

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?

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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3 Responses

  1. Sammi G. says:

    If it's public knowledge, it's the company's fault for playing their hand early. If the repercussions are that bad, why even attempt it? =/ That's negligent on their part and you're merely a scapegoat to deflect blame.

  2. Andre says:

    I figure if the information is out in public on Amazon, it doesn't hurt to comment on it (I know I've done so in the past on forums), especially if you have permission from some companies to post the info if accompanied by a disclaimer. Though it never hurts to check on the information with editors/contacts (ala the recent Del Rey article), it's not like those Amazon, RightStuf, Diamond solicitations or AAAanime listings are big secrets no one else will come across. I think in the case of companies who have given you the okay to post the news w/a disclaimer, it's a non-issue.

    Maybe companies should be more careful about how quickly their titles get listed in these databases [though with the way bookstore distribution works, soliciting a year or more in advance isn't unheard of]. I've noticed VIZ managed to have titles they announced at SDCC pop up *after* the convention on Amazon,so it does look as if that could work.

    As for Vertical- given the nature of licensing and dealing with multiple languages, contracts and permissions, premature announcements happen all the time, something that occurs once in awhile in anime. There was Media Blaster's announcing Tales of Eternia and Riki-Oh then encountering issues after they solicited, or more recently. Sentai soliciting a Sola boxset after Bandai Ent had already announced the license and released their set. Stuff happens sometimes, and companies seem to usually work it out after some delays, or on the rare occasion, correct the info and withdraw the title. Hope things pan out and they can release the title.

  3. Hello Lissa,

    Since I have personal experience with leaked information and after reading your article, I felt the need to respond.

    Regarding the whole Vertical/Ayako situation, I also got called out for posting the leak which you initially posted and I'm still confused as to why anime/manga bloggers feel the need to protect such information, especially since its the responsibility of the publisher to ensure such leaks don't happen.

    You're not directly employed by Vertical or Random House so it's not your responsibility to protect such information if it's out in the open.

    As for the ethics of posting a leak, my day job as a mobile/telecom journalist means I deal with leaked information on a rather constant basis.

    Companies don't like it and some definitely get mad when I post internal documentation and new product info, but at the end of the day, my readers come out ahead and they know what to expect, which means more potential customers and better informed customers.

    As far as "risking the potential of certain titles from ever being licensed", the rep was trying to scare you into not doing what you did anymore because they figure its easier to chastise you than it is to deal with Amazon and their distributor.

    If Vertical were going to get mad, they were better off asking why the listing was submitted by Random House to Amazon before the agreements were signed and confirmed instead of going after you for posting the listing.

    As far as this weekend's retracted announcement, it's still their responsibility to ensure that everything is correct before making any announcements, and forcing press to go back and correct stories and write up new ones in order to clarify the situation is a hassle.

    I'm aware that mistakes and miscommunication happen but Vertical really needs to step it up on confirmations, because this is becoming an issue for them.

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