Of CLAMP and Copycats
Whoever said “imitation is the best form of flattery” should be thrown into jail if he were alive to this day. Just imagine the completely wrong inspiration people have derived from that adage.
The world today deals with the worst case of piracy since such a problem came to be. From digital media to print, the problem born out of simple imitation has transpired and affected our lives like one potent and stubborn virus.
A giant target of piracy for years had been the anime industry. Piracy clung to it and sucked the life out of it. Unfortunately, the industry was never able to fight back. From audio CDs to full-length movies and posters to manga, no area of the industry was left unharmed.
China – a country with laid back copyright law – for instance, continuously provide leeches (those without a sense of copyright respect and gets their service penniless) with an increasing – and equally disturbing as well as financially debilitating – amount of access to piracy.
Around two years ago, the country had given another blow to the anime industry but specifically targeted a group of creative women mangakas popular throughout the world. This is where the name CLAMP comes into the spotlight – but one where they don’t get any credit at all.
China’s most popular publisher Joustar came to bring much excitement to teens with their line up of teen-oriented manga, this despite being relatively new to the industry.
But it wasn’t long until people recognized that Joustar had been making some unlawful actions – which were right in front of their products.
It would be foolish not to notice the sharp similarity between Joustar’s manga covers and those of one of the most popular mangakas of today’s generation. The poses, the situation, even the background are obviously screaming plagiarism.
What’s more surprising is that it seems Chinese publishers love to copy CLAMP artwork. From old titles like Tokyo Babylon to new and currently running mangas such as Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and Kobato, they have been stealing CLAMP ideas right in front of CLAMP fans in their country.
This thus begs the question: Was it lack of talent that drove these artists to copy other people’s hard work? Were they unknowing of any damage that their action would cause?
It was never publicly known whether any legal action from CLAMP was done against the Chinese publishers. It wasn’t even known whether CLAMP ever knew of the existence of the plagiarism.
Having been in the manga industry for more than two decades, CLAMP has made a significant contribution and has gained world renown. Thus, an equal amount of respect is one thing they deserve. This form of imitation over CLAMP’s original and hard-worked art is not only un-flattering, it’s insulting.