Negima! fan Hata, who's long been an excellent source of information from Japan, noted that in addition to Akamatsu-sensei taking a much needed rest, he's also fighting a newly proposed copyright law in Japan. From Hata:
right now the biggest thing that occupied most of Ken's time (at least on twitter) is his fight against publishers, which including Kodansha, in trying to impose a new law by creating "neighboring copyright", for people who are not creator but has a hand in "helping" the creation of the work gets automatic right, meaning editors, researchers, printers, etc. or plain speaking, a power grab by the publishers to take right away from the author, this is something VERY SERIOUS and has long unforeseen consequences if pass through, (the publisher can and will go after second hand creation/dojin without need to ask the permission of the author, etc. (it was one of the state benefits of this law) meaning the end of dojinshi as we know it., or after a serial is over the author can not retain exclusive right to it while the publisher can hold onto to it forever to keep making money for itself, etc.) and Japanese works readers (be it novel or manga) need to pay attention to this development just like the Tokyo Child Protection law, [sic]
Akamatsu-sensei wrote more about this on his Tumblr site.
Hata provides a "quick translation of a quick Chinese translation" of what Akamatsu-sensei said.
[sic] there were two Kodansha editors for the showdown debate with Ken in "explaining" the neighboring copyright law, Ken brought George Morikawa, the author of Hajime no Ippo with him in case he needs some muscle backup. one of the editor were together with Ken in opposing the Tokyo Child Protection Law.
publisher will share "equal" copyright with author. because it helps the mangaka to promo, typeset, proofread, research, edit, and printing the manga, and by having the right automatically, the publisher can:
1. when there is going to be an e-book release of the same paper product, no longer need a second negotiation one by one again for the right, which can speed things up.
2. the publisher can go after pirate and 2nd creation violator without spend time consulting the author in the first place, again speed things up.
Ken's reply for #1 is the current contract model works fast enough, no need to give publisher extra right, for #2 all it takes is a phone call between publisher and author.
and the danger for #2 of course is all dojinsh and all 2nd hand creation will cease to exist, Kodansha did say clearly, that it is their goal with this law to go after places like PIXIV and Toranoana, (basically, like how Disney operates.) but what happen as in the case of Ken, who gives his approval and don't want them to be sued?
1. what happen if the publisher went under, and the right falls into some strange debtor?
2. if an old manga is to be republished (paper or e-book) on another publisher than the original one, what would happen if there is interference from the old publisher?
(Kodansha guarantees this won't happen, but of course Kodansha cannot promise the same for all the other publishers, this is quite important for Ken when you consider the nature of J-Comi.)
3. even with this law, there is no way to stop the pirating.
4. too many people who own the same right will only complicate things
Kodansha's reply: they can't answer Ken's questions, they admit, while this law would be convenient for the publisher, they can't find a reasonable argument to convince all authors,
the truth is, the original proposal is not from the manga industry, but pushed by the literature fiction sector to Japanese culture ministry, or course then you have unforeseen problem developed across the board, Ken's argument is this law's benefits can be achieved with current model, and to give the publisher the extra right is too dangerous.
I happen to agree with Ken on this. Japanese (or substitute any other nations under the sun) government officials and legislators are a bunch of idiots.
As usual in these copyright debates (whether in Japan or the U.S.), it is all about control, with the giant publishing companies using the pretense of concern over piracy to in fact dictate how, when, and where a product is delivered. The author is on the losing end, as is the consumer. No wonder Akamatsu-sensei had no desire to sign a new contract with Kodansha, and made sure to get all of his works out of Kodansha's archives. It would also explain why he was willing to end Negima! in the way he did, just to protect his copyright claim.
Whether that's the reason Negima! ended the way it did or not, I had no idea that this new law was even in the pipeline in Japan. Unlike the Tokyo Child Protection law, which received a lot of attention among us Western anime/manga fans, the new "Neighboring Copyright Law" doesn't appear to have generated much of any notice outside of Japan. This is kind of surprising, since this new law would pretty much kill the doujinshi market in Japan. No doubt if this law passes, Japanese publishers will come after us Western bloggers too, for any number of reasons (screen captures; sharing promo art; providing detailed summaries, etc.).
Hopefully, this post will help raise awareness of this proposed new law. If someone wants to provide a complete translation from the Japanese of what Akamatsu-sensei on Tumblr, I'd be grateful.
Thanks to Hata and Burnpsy for the information. ^_^