It got plenty of favourable reaction from Japan, including some press coverage. Then all went quiet, until the last couple of days, when I’ve been inundated with mail from 2-Channelers.
It seems that the most prominent of the ASCII characters, Mona (you’ll be familiar with this figure if you’ve ever seen any of the hundreds of flash animations made by the 2-Channel community), has been ‘appropriated’ by Japanese record company Avex, who are using a likeness of Mona to sell records by Moldavian band O-Zone.
The label are apparently claiming ownership of the copyright, and are even selling merchandise featuring Mona (renamed ‘Noma’).
The 2-Channel community don’t seem to be happy about this. Several pages explaining the situation in English have been set up:
One of my corespondents writes:
One music company in Japan had started to sale this ASCII Art originated characters product. They are trying to get an exclusive right of this ASCII Art originated characters. The name of the company is called AVEX.
This company is now planing to get exclusive rights to sell ASCII Art related items, and sell them to World Wide market. ASCII Art have been developed in General users of the Internet around the World. Of course, it is our, all internet users property. There is no national boundaries.
This AVEX\’s project will blaspheme the rights of general users in the internet. If it became a bad precedent, this terrible idea will spread to worldwide markets.
We really want you to join this project. Let\’s unite and protest AVEX related projects.
If you interested in, please check this website (sorry, right now English language is not available).
If you agree with us, please use this message for your Blog or any other purposes. We need your help.
Sorry for poor English language.
Well, I’m not sure what blogjam can do, but I certainly support the cause. Mona, Giko and the other ASCII figures who inhabit 2-Channel should be protected from commercial exploitation, and those who originally developed the character (the community) be allowed to continue doing so.