How One Piece's Biggest Unauthorized Manga Avoided Copyright Controversy

A giant volume collecting over twenty-thousand pages that helped put together the Straw Hat Pirates' story arrived earlier this year, with the One Piece collection not being authorized by Shueisha, the company behind Weekly Shonen Jump which prints Eiichiro Oda's works. With only fifty copies sold when it comes to this massive collection, a recent article by the Guardian breaks down how JBE Books was able to sell this compilation and avoid copyright controversy for the time being.      

So how does JBE Books manage to get away from any copyright claims from Shueisha when it comes to printing the book with twenty-one thousand, four hundred and fifty pages in total? Well artist Ilan Manouach, who created the edition, stated that it wasn't meant to be seen as a comic and/or book, but rather as "sculptural material", making it a work of art. Manouach describes the volume to the Guardian as an "unreadable sculpture that takes the shape of a book – the largest one to date in page numbers and spine width – that materialises the ecosystem of online dissemination of comics." The artist was apparently commenting on the current state of digital comics and their effect on the art form, which JBE Books releasing the following statement:

"Profusion of available online content and the rampant digitisation of the comics industry which challenges the state-of-the-art of comics craftsmanship. Ilan Manouach's ONEPIECE proposes to shift the understanding of digital comics from a qualitative examination of the formal possibilities of digital comics to a quantitative reappraisal of 'comics as Big Data'."

The Guardian had interviewed Keita Murano, a part of Shueisha's international rights staff, regarding their thoughts on the giant collection:

"The product you mentioned is not official. We don't give permission to them. Our licensee in France which publishes One Piece is the publisher Glénat."

When One Piece does eventually bring the Straw Hat Pirates' story to a close, we would imagine that creating a single volume collecting all of Eiichiro Oda's Shonen masterpiece will be truly impossible, as that would be far larger than the twenty-thousand-page version that JBE Books helped to create.

What do you think of the idea of this massive One Piece volume? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of the Grand Line. 

via The Guardian