In a farewell to their practice of distributing pirated works, FAKKU’s CEO Jacob Grady lamented that despite the website’s shady past piracy has never been his goal. Piracy was seen as a stepping stone, a necessity to build and sell an audience. Wanimagazine took notice, them and Fakku are now partners distributing hentai manga to overseas customers legally.
Interestingly enough, Fakku are perhaps the only industry player still willing to acknowledge their shady past, as seen in the tweet above. ANN hasn’t been as scathing, labeling them as a hentai website and a North American adult manga publisher, even though the website hosted pirated material up until a few days ago. On ANNCast back in May, Zac Bertschy did ask Grady about their illegal activities, but there was no condemnation on the matter. To be fair, the apolitical editorial stance has been a necessity for ANN during recent years of contracting North American publishing industry. It is a byproduct of fear, to keep options open in case the legit part of the industry goes kaput.
Now, ANN’s personnel and their Twitter buddies usually don’t have any problem expressing outrage over piracy on their own time. But even the loudest of Twitter’s piracy critics, who repeatedly lambast existing scanlators and scanlation distributors, haven’t said anything on the matter at hand. In fact, it’s hard to find any criticism regarding Fakku’s practices among Google hits for the past year. Why is that?
Well, one thing is that nobody likes to talk about porn. But the other is that Fakku have created jobs in the industry. They are a Portland-based company with over 12 employees. The industry clique is wise to keep quiet, as Grady is in a position to actually hire one of these talentless hacks. I mean why burn bridges when the company is going legit? Given time their illegal past will be forgotten, much like it happened with Crunchyroll.
So the industry clique finds itself in a conflict of interest. The shrinking of existing industry structures versus the growing body of disruptive companies such as Fakku that hamper their ability to moralize when in need of a job.
I don’t care much for moral issues on piracy, but such hypocrisy coming from industry folks is at times downright disgusting, not to mention disappointing given that all those morals go flying out the window when there’s money to be made. I’m pretty sure Jacob is a smart guy and the laid-back persona he projects outwards is just that. Fakku’s not dead, the timing for going legit is safe. At worst the few subscribers they have are going to power their servers for the next couple of years.