Unfortunately it seems like this has turned into an ever-lasting discussion. As the comment section is not the place to have it, I made this thread to answer some of your questions.
1) Why the obnoxious stamps (leaves, memes, animals etc) in the background in addition to the group stamp?
The "obnoxious" stamps are a direct effect of locust hoster mafia sites hosting our releases. We have stressed several times that we do only permit our releases to be hosted on batoto as an online-reader and that we allow no copy-pasting of our download links either.
Regardless of our wishes and warnings (we did release our first release without any stamping btw. so there had been a trial-and-error run), our releases got re-posted on sites like Mangafox, Kissmanga, Mangahere etc within minutes of their release on batoto.
So, for a while, we started putting obnoxious stamps onto the batoto release only. Batoto gets scraped (copied) by automated bots (computers) regularly, so those releases are sure to be stolen by that pack of online-readers. We did however offer download links for a version that only featured the group stamp, and did not have the obnoxious stamps. That worked for 3 or 4 releases. Then we published Screaming Lessons (aka Zekkyou Gakkyuu) and our forum version was stolen for the first time. Now you've got to know that the company running Mangafox etc pays employees to infiltrate scanlation groups' forums and steal their releases. So, obviously, we had been added onto their scrape-forum list.
We did message those hoster sites to take down our releases but were either ignored or rudely told to "fuck off".
Obviously, a lot of readers did not even bother to read our release notes either, because they kept on happily reading on those sites. The funny and ironic aspect though is, that because they read there, and thus support the hoster mafia who steals our releases to make financial gain, they are indirectly the reason we stamp the obnoxious stuff which they hate so much.
2) Why are the obnoxious stamps on bato.to and the forum version as well? I thought coming here would enable me to read them without those!
We have stopped uploading versions of the chapter with less stamps because the company running kissmanga, mangafox etc have sent their paid employees to steal that version.
Before, we used to put the heavier stamped version on batoto because it gets scraped by the bots from mangafox, kissmanga etc automatically, making it thus impossible to leave out the stampings there either way.
For ~3-4 releases it worked that way, but then the jerks from MF etc had gotten their retarded employees to infiltrate our site and steal those releases as well by manually downloading and uploading them onto their sites.
We are not willing to tolerate such behavior.
We tried to find a way to please the ones willing to follow our warnings but, yet again, thanks to the hoster mafia, our efforts were destroyed.
While it may not be a consolation, you might now understand why we have to be as extreme as we are. We did not exaggerate: That company makes thousands upon thousands of dollars by stealing the hard work of people doing this for free as a fan-service. They earn enough, that they can pay employees to browse the internet for scanlator sites and their private online readers and even manually steal special releases.
While I guess we could maybe do something like have each and every person who wants to read the releases with less stamps write us and talk to us for long periods of time in order to verify them as trust-able, we
1) do not have the time for that (we'd need 2-3 persons JUST doing that to make it work) and we'd much rather spend that time on actually scanlating,
2) use the stamps to make sure that people will still buy the original either as a Japanese version or future licensed English version,
3) want to make it less likely for publishers to request take-downs for the release so that those who cannot and will not be able to afford the manga, still have a chance of reading it. [Scanlation is supposed to be a bridge between official releases - not a nice way to scam publishers by loop-holing out having to buy the original... The mangakas etc need money too (it's their job and they have to buy food with their income just like you and I)]. So even if we could get the hoster mafia to not steal the releases, we'd never publish without any stamping. Just the obnoxiousness is courtesy to their fucked up behavior. If it weren't for them, we'd be fine with putting less reading-flow disturbing stamps.
You are not reading on batoto or use our forum download for us. You're doing it for yourself, if you want to continue seeing mangas being scanlated and being scanlated nicely.
A lot of great scanlators have stopped because of the hoster mafia and publishers are much more likely to go after small scanlators because even they don't have the financial means to track down that mafia in the depths of China to make them stop. So they try putting an end to it by stopping scanlation. And that is not what any of us should want.
I, too, prefer the nicer layout of i.e. kissmanga over batoto. But I refrain from reading there because they are actively destroying the scanlation scene. Batoto is run by more or less just one or two admins. The mods etc don't have anything to do with the whole server work etc. The admins are also not earning money with that, they have normal day-time jobs like you and I as well, so it does take longer for things to be developed and follow up with more site management. But the important thing: Batoto is run with the acceptance of publishers (even they -for the most part- have realized that batoto is not their enemy and therefore leave it alone which is a huge plus for scanlators and readers) and respects scanlator's wishes. While it might not always be nice and comfortable to not have a certain groups release on batoto, it's because of the group's wishes. And that should count for a lot. You can always contact the groups that don't allow re-hosting and ask them for their reasons and maybe even have them change their behavior (Plus, even if you have to visit their online reader to get a release... How long does that take you? 5 minutes? It takes like a minimum of 24-48 hours of pure work to bring out a single chapter, so it shouldn't be too much for readers to navigate their internet browser to heed the scanlators' wishes.). The hoster mafia does not ask permission from anyone, they do not give a shit about either readers or scanlators. They stuff their site with ads (that are often infected with trojans and whatnot) and pass on your email address to third parties, so your inbox is spammed with BS mails from "deceased uncle Charlie's lawyer" informing you that he's left you a million dollars if you just contact him soon. By reading there, people are spitting at everyone who dedicates his spare time to bring out scanlations for free because the hoster mafia takes their -and the mangakas'- hard work and exploit it for their own financial gain. That is not how it should be, therefore I hope that you will still avoid those sites and inform your friends about the reasons behind it in the future.
3) I hate stamps! I won't read this!
You can whine, you can rage, you can insult me - it won't change a thing. The only thing that those actually accomplish is annoying me and making me want to stamp something even more obnoxious onto the pages. Right after the ZG forum version getting leaked onto the hoster mafia sites, I splashed a "DO NOT RE-UPLOAD!" in red over every page in addition to the obnoxious stamp. Truth be told, it felt quite good and made me laugh a lot.
Our releases are no substitute for the official release by a publisher and aren't meant to help people to avoid buying it. The mangas you love so much are created by people whose job is drawing them and inventing stories. They are publicized by people who work hard on getting them to be displayed in stores and on online-sites. Those people make a living out of this. So they rely on the money made as income from the manga sale. Therefore I feel like it would be unfair to publish a 100% perfect, clean release. Now we could just as well use crappy cleaning and typesetting to make the release less attractive compared to an official one. But we think it's better to stamp it instead. The obnoxiousness of that stamp is subject to the greed of the hoster mafia and their readers though.
So, if you don't like the stamping, go buy the official release. Even if you don't know Chinese or Japanese, you now have a way of reading it with our translation. We provide links on where you can buy both ebook versions as well as paper versions of the mangas we scanlate (and no, we're not affiliated with those companies). One manga generally ranges from something around $2 - $9 depending on which publisher, artist, format etc. it is. Ebook versions are also often less expensive than paper versions and you don't have to pay for international shipping.
For your own language releases, just check out your country's manga publisher sites.
4) Why should I buy the manga if it's not available in my own language or one I understand (i.e. Japanese or Chinese)?
Publishers love big money. So they are more likely to pick something up that promises to make them loads of it because it has sold well in Japan for instance.
And remember... an official release has no stamps so you get 100% access to the beautiful art...
If you really love the manga so much, I don't think it's wrong to ask you to support the mangaka and publisher that created it. If they do not receive enough money, they will stop creating new ones. A lot of great series and magazines were dropped because the sales weren't big enough. And the creators have to live from the money they make of those releases. They have to pay rent, buy food etc. so they do need the money.
5) I can't spend all that money on buying all the books of the series!
6) I've got an idea on how you could forego the obnoxious stamps!
So far we've had the following suggestions:
6.1) Pressure the hoster mafia into taking down the releases because the fonts used to typeset our scanlations are for non-commercial use only.
Theoretically, that's a nice idea. But it's not practical because as far as my understanding of law goes, the creator of the font would have to sue us to sue the hoster mafia for a take-down. And as scanlators, who work for free as a fan-service, we do not have the money to engage lawyers. Also, you should know that the hoster mafia makes so much money, they can easily pay for good lawyers to defend their cases should the need ever arise. Plus, their companies are built on shell companies, so it's nearly impossible to track them down to the source and sue the one responsible. It'd be one endless track-and-search chase of cat and mouse.
6.2) Upload an obnoxious stamp version first and sneekily update it with a non-obnoxious one a few weeks or months later to avoid the automated scraping (copying) of the bots (computers) of Mangafox etc.
Theoretically, that's a very nice idea as well. The only problem is that batoto does not let me update the actual files for a chapter. I have to revoke permission from one release and upload a new one. That new one will thus create an RSS alert to subscribers and pop up on the "new releases" page, thus trigger the bots (computers) to scrape it again.
6.3) Make obnoxious-stamps free versions for your forum again.
We would have to verify every reader manually to be trustable. How would we do that? Talk with each and everyone? Even then the paid employees of MF etc could infiltrate us. It's just making it harder for them. But believe me when I tell you that they are really hard to shake off. From what I've heard, they even went as far as trying to hack some groups sites to gain access to their releases. Now, that's pretty sick in my opinion and shows how bottomless their greed (as well as their income -> they can pay hackers to do their dirty jobs) is.
Yes, it'd be harder for them that way, but it'd also cost us a lot of time and effort. Even if we were to stamp a person's name onto the release they'd receive to read, this would just be a hurdle they'd pass. They've done that before numerious times. Just think back to Paperdollscans. They've done that but were still robbed. And they spent a lot of time and effort and money into creating those precautions. We, on the other hand, don't even have a paid page and reader. We're only using free forums and hosting possibilities. We make zero money with our stuff and we also do not pay for having our own site and reader etc. Those also cost like ~30-100 USD per year, depending on the features and traffic on the site. If people are so reluctant on spending money on buying the official releases, then it's even less likely that they'll happily pay for the running of a site and online-reader.
7) How can I contact CRS?
8) (Not a question but a statement ) We give out obnoxious stamp free versions of our releases to those of you that can prove they bought the Japanese original.
Also, because so far no one has reached out to us about it on his/her own drive, I'd like to officially offer a deal to everyone who's supporting the mangakas and publishers of the awesome mangas we scanlate by buying the original Japanese copy:
If you can prove to our satisfaction that you have bought the Japanese version of the manga, we will give you a copy of our scanlation without the obnoxious stamps with only the tiny group logo. That way, those of you who actually support sensei, get a nicer copy and have their good will rewarded. However, if we should discover that you have shared that version, somehow cheated us into believing you bought the thing (we'll try to come up with something more or less fool-proof though...), or leaked it onto the locust aggregator sites like MangaFox, Kissmanga or co., sold it or w/e other bad, by us not intended purposes of that version (which is only for you to read it privately), we will stop this courtesy immediately. So I ask you to be fair and honest. Please contact us via email for this.
9) I've got another question about this scanlation!
Please be aware that you won't get an answer to questions like "When's the next chapter coming out?" though. The answer will always be "When it's finished.". I generally try to upload everything we've finished (if it's the next chapter in line) as soon as possible.
If you think we're too slow, then that's because we do not have enough staff to do it any faster. Come help us, if you want it to be released faster.