Burning the Midnight Oil for Breaking the Silicon Cage
A Chinese firm exporting knockoffs that threaten to undermine the sales of an American industry. It seems like a common enough story. Who I feel the most sympathy for are the poor workers toiling long hours creating the originals that are being pirated, mostly at low wages, and add the high cost of a Tokyo apartment and a surprising number still live with their pare….
Huh? Tokyo? American industry? Ah, yes, the small segment of American publishing that translates and publishes the work of Japanese mangaka. While the superstars of the industry in Japan are quite well paid, as in most creative arts, the majority live on far more modest incomes and beginners working as assistants work at quite miserable rates of pay.
And while it is a niche industry, we find a fascinating interface of old media and new media, copyright and bootleg crowdsource, not quite there yet legitimate Internet distribution versus … well, the massive hosts in China.
This story is part of the story of the creation of the next economy: the dematerialization of information promising substantial material gains, but the collapse of old ways of doing things threatening the livelihoods of vulnerable creative artists.