Dear readers, this might be the most important post I’ve made since the creation of Wuxiaworld, so I encourage you to read it closely, as it involves the very existence and longevity of this community. As of May 22, 2017 the Yuewen Group, the parent group of Qidian International, sent a formal letter in Chinese making several copyright-related requests of us, and also posted on a libelous statement on NovelUpdates Forum. This is our formal response to that statement (we’ll be responding privately to the private email), because all of you who have been with us for so long deserve to know what is happening.
It is extremely unfortunate that Qidian chose to make our disagreements public, as well as quite unprofessional. Unfortunately, over the course of my past half year of engagement with them it has become apparent to me that Western standards of professionalism are perhaps different from the standards which monopolistic Chinese companies might have.
For some months now, Wuxiaworld and Qidian were actually in intensive talks for an investment partnership, and we opened up all of our books and data to them. While I cannot disclose any details due to a non-disclosure agreement, what I can say is that the talks were extremely serious but in the end, due to Qidian imposing many clauses on both the translators and the company which I found unacceptable, our talks fell through roughly a week or two ago. Note the term, ‘a week or two ago‘. In other words, they know everything about what we have been doing, so their claims of not receiving ‘notification’ or ‘permission’ are completely bogus. But more on that later.
There have been many cases during the past six months when I have been forced to ‘bite my tongue’ as I’ve watched Qidian’s English representatives publicly proclaim how much they wish to support fan translators when in private they have taken a mix of threats and warnings to try and force translators to join their own platform. I won’t name them and will let them stand out if they so choose, but there have been many times that I have wished to speak out and publicize some of this, but since I had to look out for our own translators and our own working relationship with Qidian, I was forced to bite my tongue. That is no longer the case.
When we first negotiated with Qidian and reached an agreement of twenty novels, it was agreed that this would serve as the framework for future authorizations as well. It was made extremely clear to Qidian that Wuxiaworld does not select novels, it selects translators, which means that they bring the novels they are working on over to Wuxiaworld. In addition to the formal authorizations agreement, we had an oral commitment from Qidian stating that we can bring new novels onto the site, then bring them under the authorizations umbrella once every quarter. This was the reason why Wuxiaworld has brought in new Qidian novels over the past few months, and for Qidian to suddenly renege on its oral commitments to Wuxiaworld is not only dishonest, it causes serious damages to us and our reputation and we will be seeking appropriate compensation from them if we are indeed forced to halt translation of the new projects.
Many of you might be wondering why Qidian is doing this. In short, in China Qidian holds a near-monopolistic stranglehold on the online reading market, and they are very used to having control over all things they work on. In any market, monopolies are a bad thing. In my negotiations with Qidian, it became increasingly clear to me that they were more interested in having Wuxiaworld as a stepping-stone for their own Qidian International website, which they intend to paywall in a few months. Now that I have declined their onerous and inequitable terms (again, cannot discuss due to NDA), they wish to put the screws to us and take by force what they were unable to do through contractual negotiations. There are also talks of them potentially wishing to buy Gravity, now that the deal with Wuxiaworld has fallen through. If that is the case, then it adds a new dimension to the reasons behind their actions, but I am not privy to those conversations and can only speculate.
Qidian’s post in the NovelUpdates Forum is not only insulting and unprofessional, it is flat-out libelous in many areas and we will pursue them for that in a court of law. Their claim that we ‘privately approached the translators of Gravity‘ is a defamatory claim, designed to use Gravity’s reputation as their cat’s paw against Wuxiaworld in the public sphere; every single person who moved over from Gravity would tell you that we did not actively recruit any previous Gravity translators, and that they made a request of their own free will to join Wuxiaworld. You can ask them for yourselves.
Similarly, the claim that Wuxiaworld did not get ‘permission’ or give ‘notification’ to Qidian is also a defamatory statement, since Qidian has been aware of every single action we have taken. In fact, Qidian actually encouraged us to try and obtain more of Gravity’s novels when they believed we would sign with them, which we declined because it was never our intention to ‘go after’ Gravity, nor have we ever tried to poach Gravity’s translators. For them to publicly claim there was ‘no notification’ and then call our actions ‘unacceptable’ and ‘out of business ethic’ is libelous, and we will take appropriate legal action as necessary.
Their claims that we will ‘send the twenty novels to them’ veer uncomfortably in the area covered by NDA, and so I won’t address that here and instead will respond privately. However, I believe there’s a significant difference in how we are interpreting the contract vs how they are interpreting it, and unless we are specifically ordered by an arbitrator or a court of law to hand those translations over, we will not be doing so. They picked the wrong arena and the wrong person to fight. As for their request for us to take down the eleven ‘unauthorized’ translations, we will also fight them in any court of law on the grounds that we started these projects after they had given oral agreements for us to start them, and will demand compensation and damages from them if they wish for us to cease the translations.
The next few months might be a bit rocky, but I am comforted by knowing that we have not only an outstanding group of translators at Wuxiaworld, but also an outstanding group of fans that are so supportive, it attracted the attention of China’s biggest publishers, for better or worse. I won’t ask that you boycott their website; this is our fight, not yours. But I do ask for your support as we carry through and deal with the issues raised today.
Thank you all, and may God bless 🙂