It had to happen eventually, I suppose, though I still don’t see why. The Anime Encyclopedia, a book that took several years to write and update, has been stolen online.
I’m as angry as anyone would be if a slice of their paycheck had just been removed without so much as a by-your-leave – and that’s exactly what has happened. A slice of my income comes from royalties – payments from the ongoing sales of my books. Making my work available free reduces my income. My publisher, co-author and I should decide if giving The Anime Encyclopedia away free is OK, not some unknown person hiding behind an Internet alias.
There has been a considerable media fuss around Google’s proposal to digitise authors’ works and charge for access to them, but at least Google plans to pay owners and creators a share of the profit from downloading their works. Digital copyright law encourages Internet service providers to facilitate theft of authors’ income, because they have no liability.
Ever since 1998, when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton (known in some US media circles as “Slick Willy“,) it’s been possible for websites to provide access to copyrighted material without the consent of the copyright holders while disclaiming all responsibility. The DCMA was intended to protect rights holders across a wide range of media. Unfortunately, Title II of the DCMA, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, or OCILLA, gives Internet service providers the legal (as distinct from moral) right to enable theft of intellectual property with no redress to the owner or creator. It does this by limiting the liability of online service providers for items posted on their services, providing they remove or block access to allegedly infringing material when notified.
Sounds reasonable, you might think – but read the small print. OCILLA lays down precise forms in which a request for removal or blocking access must be made, and allows only certain people and bodies to make that request. The whole process completely fails to take account of the speed and global spread of the Internet. All requests must be made in writing to the ISP’s designated agent – so even if an infringement is picked up on the day it happens and acted on immediately, there will be at least a few days’ delay before a written notice takes effect. Meanwhile, the upload may have been re-posted from the original site to sites all over the world. Each of those sites must be identified by the rights holder and contacted separately in the same way as the original. Some may be outside relevant legal jurisdiction.
Download sites make money from advertising, because illegal downloads generate huge volumes of traffic. The scale of data moving up and down makes it very difficult to police exactly what is on offer and to whom; it’s a good way to attract lots of young people and generate useful funds. Site owners and administrators can refuse to identify anyone who uploads material to their site unless the rights owner pays for and serves a writ – and this has to be done for each separate infringement. (Uploaders always use assumed names. They may not ALL be global terrorists, but they probably don’t want their mothers and grandparents to know they steal for fun and kudos.)
If you’re a big name author, you’re shielded from much of the loss and aggravation involved. Your Huge Publishing Corp. has a crew of specialists policing infringements. Not only will they trawl the Internet to pick up on any new infringement, but they have the resources to send out immediate cease-and-desist notices, and to take legal action against offending uploaders. Little-name authors and Tiny Publishing Inc. don’t have that much time or money.
Of course, The Anime Encyclopedia has been mined for information by most of the online info sites ever since it appeared. Writers of non-fiction expect that. A reference book is there to be referred to. But the only way the transaction works for an author is if an individual, school, website or local library buys the book before using the information. Some download sites appeal for donations so they can carry on their “work,” but don’t even think of paying creators for content.
Creators already have a perfectly good mechanism for making work available for free download. It’s called a Creative Commons Licence, a wonderfully simple and flexible instrument that enables the maker of any kind of work to choose exactly what level of access to allow and what rights to give away. I’ve used it to give educational institutions rights to use some of my work to promote and record their activities. The difference between Creative Commons and the legal latitude allowed ISPs is precisely that between gift and theft – one is the free choice of the owner, the other is imposed on the owner by persons unknown.
Creative Commons is a gift from the individual to the wider community. Uploading and downloading without creator consent is theft by the community from the individual.
Not even Bill Clinton – a man clever enough to talk himself out of most messes, despite not understanding the link between oral and betrayal – can talk me round on this one.
P.S.: The Blue Oyster Cult reference in the title is homage, not copyright infringement. History proves again and again how Nature points out the folly of men….
I completely understand what you mean. With huge conglomerates like the RIAA and MPAA and the hate they attract with their more frivolous lawsuits, most people don’t realize how freaking impossible it is for a content provider to do anything once their work is stolen and distributed online.
There’s so much gray area in all this, even among organizations most people don’t think about. Google, for example, a publicly traded company, profits heavily from indexing illegal content. Unfortunately, it all goes undiscussed.
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Thanks Helen this is a topic I have been privately discussing with people for some time.
I’ve posted about your blog entry in my blog, in some private online conferences and on Usenet (yes it still exists).
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Imagine, if you can, a United States in which carriers like UPS and FedEx are liable for transport of illicit goods. Imagine a cadre of inspectors at every central depot, inspectors who open every package you send, every package you order from Amazon, rifle the contents, and hopefully repackage well enough to survive the remainder of the delivery process. Imagine, if you can, a United States in which your telephone and cellular companies are liable for illicit conversations. Imagine a cadre of people listening to your conversations, looking to pick out the drug transactions, prostitution assignments, terrorist activity or what have you, and shutting you down if you say a word or phrase that is on their proscribed lists. Imagine, if you can, a United States in which ISPs are liable for illicit conversations. Imagine a collection of filters that scan every mail message you write, every IM, every Livejournal and Facebook post you make, and lock you out of your account if they detect words or phrases on the proscribed lists.
The last happened a few years ago. AOL shut down the support groups for breast cancer victims because AOL added the word “breast” to the “sexual” banned words lists.
I’m not justifying what’s been done to your work. I’ve had work stolen before, too. It hurts, but blaming the common carriers and holding them accountable is not the answer. It levies an onerous duty onto the carriers and punishment on the honest users. That isn’t fair to them and it isn’t fair to us.
There are already inspectors rifling through our mail at random and at will – Christopher Handley had been collecting and ordering manga for years before the opening of a package led to his being charged with possessing child pornography. There is already a cadre of people listening to our conversations and scanning our emails under the new terror prevention laws, which don’t actually prevent terror but do give the State new and terrifying powers over our private lives. Britain and America have created whole new categories of thought crime to ‘fight’ terrorism and child pornography, and if you imagine for one moment that politicians will not be tempted to use those powers against anyone who disagrees with those in powers, you have more faith in modern politics than I do. We are already a fair way down the path to the society you fear.
The case you cite – shutting down breast cancer groups because the word “breast” is proscribed – is an example of exactly what happens when our legislators and corporations try to “protect” us. Everyday words become forbidden and common sense flies out the window. It wasn’t beyond the capacity of AOL to allow sites featuring “breast+cancer” – but then it wasn’t beyond the capacity of those searching for sites to skip any that included porn, or those worried about their children to supervise them while online and teach them what sites to avoid.
I am not suggesting that common carriers are to blame when users to something without their knowledge. I am suggesting that common carriers are to blame when they profit from increase in traffic but have no responsibility for content. They can filter and scan all sites on their network. Why not build a simple online check to enable them to scan everything with the word “download” against the Library of Congress database or iTunes and block any title tagged as copyright unless a certificate is obtained from the owner?
If I steal your bike, it’s my fault. If I knowingly let someone who has stolen your bike keep it in my garage, it’s my fault. If I get a kickback from the thief every time someone rents your stolen bike at my garage, it’s my fault. How is it unfair if I’m expected to accept responsibility and make redress?
The idea of scanning a site and compare it to works on iTunes or LOC is a good idea, but in reality it’s a step closer to the society RP fears.
Let’s take the title “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Would the system scan the site for keywords (Kill, Mockingbird), all the words but in any order/location (A Kill Mockingbird To), or all the words in the exact spot as the title? Of course there’s the “download” word, but that’s still doesn’t make it clear for the system.
For example, if I wrote a review for the book and titled it: “To Kill a Mockingbird: Why you should read it” and provide a download link for the full review in PDF, the system described would flag it.
Another example, let’s say I created a documentary where I visit colleges and ask students if they read books like “Catcher in the Rye” or “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Once the video is done, I post it online, along with the list of books, for people to view and download (of course with the student’s permission). Most likely than not, the system described would flag it.
To make a rant short, a system like this would restrict freedom of speech, no matter how good it is or how good it’ll benefit people. I’ll admit that both examples can be consider extreme and unlikely, but not unreasonable in this age of the Internet.
As I said to RP, Danny, our freedom of speech is already massively restricted. If we have decided that it’s OK to attack countries that have neither attacked nor threatened us, to lock up individuals without trial or access to counsel, and to arrest people for personal thoughts and preferences that have never been acted out or acted upon, what have we got left to lose?
I can’t image why people would want to read a book digitally, but that’s another discussion. Hate to see it happen, inevitabily though.
Loved the book though (I have a ‘real’ copy), too bad I went chasing after anime which wasn’t commercially available with Engelish subs.
Glad you enjoyed the book and sorry all the anime you want isn’t available in English – but many titles never will be, because the market for ‘niche’ has been shredded by illegal downloads. No commercial company is going to put out a title likely to attract, at best, 1000 sales if it’s up for download, because a good number of them likely buyers will have downloaded it and most will not also buy the commercial copy.
Hehe, I was talking about a niche OVA (can’t recall the name at this point) which wasn’t even fansubbed.
But since you brought it up:
The fansub coin has two sides of course. It was fansubs which got me into anime and that resulted in me buying a nice collection. But there are lots of people who watch fansubs and don’t bother buying the dvd’s when licensed/released.
But I don’t think it’s fair to blame it all on fansubs. The companies themselves are part of the ‘problem’ too. People don’t want to wait months or years before they can watch a certain anime. They don’t want seven episodes on one DVD (ever compared the bitrate and quality of a Funimation dvd and one region 2 disc from Japan?). They don’t want to buy 4 singles and hearing that 5 and 6 are canceled and will be available in a half season boxset which has the 4th disc too. People don’t want extras stripped from the dvd’s in a re-release of a series (I had to buy a second copy of Magical Shopping Arcade for the ad-vid notes). No wonder people will turn their back on some of the companies. It’s way to easy to point at fansubs.
Internet made it almost necessary for companies to change but the entertainment industry was far too late to catch on and at this point wastes more money fighting the pirates in an ineffective way instead of thinking of ways to make piracy redundant. People are willing to pay for downloads, look at crunchyroll and iTunes.
I would disagree that what people want is high quality releases – Geneon released fan favourite shows with deluxe extras and low episode counts, and ended up disappearing. Funimation deliberately picks up a number of shows without much buzz and gives them simpler releases and they sell like hot cakes. The problem is that the discerning “fan” doesn’t buy in nearly high enough quantities to make this argument practical. Geneon’s stats for the well-fansubbed title Rumiko Takahashi Anthology, which had a loving release and a premium box available? Less than 100 copies each sold for volume 2 and later, across the whole USA. And at least 1 of each of those went to me, not even living in the USA. Crunchyroll is infamous for not currently making any of the creators significant money back on their investments, something they are trying to change but forcing people to pay for something they are used to stealing isn’t working out. There are still digital piracy groups who make available torrents of things shown on Crunchyroll, because a few dollars a month for unrestricted anime is too much for literally tens of thousands of self-entitled people.
I’m very sad to hear that Helen has been hit by this sickness in our fandom too. Her books and articles were a guiding light to me as a new fan back in the day when I had no friends with any interest in anime/manga at all to learn with. I hope that the legal system modernises itself to allow creators more rights to defend their works soon, or we’ll end up with nothing of value being created at all at this rate; what’s the point?
I looked it up, it was Deep Blue Fleet.
Oh, by the way, I read your entry about Gun x Sword where you (or Jonathan) claimed the pretty girl had an arsenal of antique guns. IIRC she only had one. (minor nitpick)
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I’m very sorry to see your work stolen and hope you manage to shut them down eventually.
I got a copy of your encyclopedia from the library, VERY good work. Could have used longer entries on some items, but considering how long the book was already… *lol*
I’m glad you enjoyed the book. We would have liked to make it longer but the second edition is already at the limits of what you can bind in that format – if there is ever anther print edition (very unlikely now) we will have to make it multi-volume.
If it were up to me you could skip the hentai.
One of the options we might have considered was putting all erotic material into a separate volume.
I think you should be flattered that your work has been made “pirate worthy”. If you were in this for the money, then I guess you have your reasons (although the people who DL the scans didnt deem it worthy enough to purchase it…so its not a big loss). But you should be proud that your book is being DL and read by many people. Hell, many “writers” have trouble getting one person to read their works.
I think you (and others who bitch about these things) should be grateful and count your blessings. Unless, like I said, you only care about the money, you can go ahead and whine that your weaboo encyclopedia is only worth pirating.
When you’re happy to do your job for absolutely no pay and to have other people dictate to you who gets to use the results of your labours, come and preach at me some more.
If writing is your only job (or main source of income as it appears to be judging by what you said), honey, you have bigger issues than just having your works stolen.
Anyway, by the looks of things, you did it mostly for the money. Which is perfectly normal, and makes your anger more logical. The only thing I was trying to say was that instead of moping and complaining about the inevitable, you should look at things more positively by looking at the other side of things.
Many people desire to be in your position. Hell, as I said, many just want their crappy works to get recognition. You are amongst the few who are fortunate to have their works recognized. Having it pirated sucks, but at least your work is being recognized. I mean whoever thought it was worth taking apart and scanning EACH page must be a strong admirer (owning a copy myself, I cannot imagine having that much time).
I don’t know if you get where I’m coming from, but just stop thinking about the money you’re losing for a second and imagine your situation if you didn’t get your book published.
That’s hilarious. So if I make paintings for a living I should be happy people make forgeries of it?
If I have a nice car I have to be happy because it’s worth to be stolen?
I don’t have to imagine my situation if I didn’t get my book published. It took me 12 years to find a publisher willing to take a chance on my first book on anime. It took years to find a publisher for The Anime Encyclopedia, and for my book on Tezuka.
Like most writers, even ‘recognised’ ones, I have a number of books that haven’t been published yet, and maybe never will be. Persuading a publisher to put time, effort and money into publishing my book instead of someone else’s is a long, hard slog, and one reason it’s so hard is that publishers don’t believe they can make money on a book in these days of easy Internet piracy. People who put books online illegally don’t only deprive one author of a slice of income, they also make it harder for all authors can get work published.
If someone admires my work, why not just buy it? It’s readily available in bookshops and online, all over the world. I really admire Johnny Depp and David Bowie, but I don’t think that entitles me to abduct them for a photo session and then post the results online.
I found your blog via ANN. I want to ask you, if you would allow me to translate this article about the illegal upload of your book and post it at the forum of IYFP.de.
The reason for the question is, that we, too, suffer from illegal uploads. The IYFP is not only a forum for fans of the anime Inu Yasha, but also a project, which worked together with a publisher and made the subtitles for the DVDs, the translations for the dubbing of the movies. But as many other animes, Inu Yasha was so many time uploaded, that after episode 104 it was for the publisher, due to the financial loss resulting from illegal uploads impossible to go on with this. The result is, that if not another publisher finish it, this anime will be uncompleted in Germany. This happens to other animes too. Some of them will never make it to be published. This also happens with mangas and with books.
At the moment, some of us try to do something against illegal uploads. One thing is, we try to explain to the uploader the consequences of their doing, we try to show them the result of illegal uploads In your blog, you show from the point of view of the injured party what illegal uploads mean. The loss of earnings for the creators, the loss of credit for their work. As some of the people are not that good in English, I would like to translate your article and post in the mentioned forum. I will, of course, link to your blog to the original article.
I’d be happy for you to translate and publish this post on IYFP.de, Angie, as long as you don’t edit or amend it in any way and as long as you credit me as the author and attach the blog URL. I think a Creative Commons 3 licence should cover all the bases you need. Go to http://creativecommons.org for more information.
Thank you for giving me the allowance for translation. I have done so and it is postet here http://www.tarigon.de/forum/viewtopic.php?p=61368#61368
If anything is, please let me know and I will change it.
Thanks, Angie. My German is not good enough to criticise yours, but I really appreciate your open and honest approach. Thanks for helping to share this important topic – we are not just talking about my work, but that of millions of creators all over the world. If we can discuss this openly, we have a better chance of generating ideas to help creators continue working in the digital age.
Digitising an 850 page book is hardly a small effort. If there was enough demand for someone to go to all that trouble, there is probably enough demand to release a digital edition and sell it.
The music and movie industries made the same mistake: instead of trying to destroy a market via legislature, embrace it and monetise it. The latter may not exactly be easy, but the former simply fails miserably.
I also came from ANN and the article posted a small snippet from your blog and curiosity piqued to see what else you had to say. After reading, I’ve some issues I hope you can address.
“It had to happen eventually, I suppose, though I still don’t see why.”
And right there is the problem, Helen. The fact you couldn’t answer the question has been overshadowed by those who did answer it, albeit in not-so-friendly terms.
“My publisher, co-author and I should decide if giving The Anime Encyclopedia away free is OK.”
Agreed, but the question is: why didn’t you (et al) do this before it became a problem?
“…the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton…”
Because copyright law didn’t cover digital copies.
“OCILLA, gives Internet service providers the legal (as distinct from moral) right to enable theft of intellectual property with no redress to the owner or creator.”
I sure don’t appreciate when angry people twist the truth simply to make a point.
Without Safe Harbors, ISPs would be accountable for *everything* online, and that’s just not right. That’s equivalent of holding YOU responsible if an anime fan, carrying a copy of your book, robbed and murdered someone.
If you can’t see the fallacy in your argument, then that’s a problem. Don’t deceive your readers to make a point.
Safe Harbors isn’t perfect, but then again, neither is the DMCA, which is abused illegally more than it’s used under legal terms.
“They may not ALL be global terrorists, but they probably don’t want their mothers and grandparents to know they steal for fun and kudos.”
Wow, two insults with one sentence regarding the fans of your work. Incredible. Let’s just hope this doesn’t come back to haunt you, Helen.
Also, you need to learn the definition of stealing vs. infringement. They’re not the same, and this little rant makes you look a little pathetic, grasping at straws rather than dealing with this situation in a positive manner.
“Of course, The Anime Encyclopedia has been mined for information by most of the online info sites ever since it appeared.”
That’s called fair use (legal in copyright), but even this is being taken away from people who legitimately purchase the works in question EVERY SINGLE DAY. Blame the DMCA for this.
“It’s called a Creative Commons Licence, a wonderfully simple and flexible instrument that enables the maker of any kind of work to choose exactly what level of access to allow and what rights to give away.”
Creative Commons isn’t a law, Helen. Just because works are listed there does not exclude them from copyright law. For the record, supporters of CC have been trying to get it added to copyright law for years, and fails every time its up for congressional voting. Why is that?
“P.S.: The Blue Oyster Cult reference in the title is homage, not copyright infringement.”
Wrong. It’s infringement, Helen. Worse, it’s not even covered under fair use.
Though, that’s the problem with copyright. People simply don’t know or understand what’s truly copyright and what’s not.
The copyright changes have done more harm to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts than ever before.
This blog proves it, because you’re more worried about loss of profit than you are promoting your work.
So please: stop whining and turn this “bad” into a positive, potentially revenue generating, market opportunity.
Or are you still hung up on the “why”?
If someone hides their actions and opinions behind a pseudonym, saying that they don’t want their nearest and dearest to know about it isn’t an insult – it’s a statement of the obvious. I may not agree with your views and you may not agree with mine. I’m happy to attach my own name to mine, though.
“So please: stop whining and turn this “bad” into a positive, potentially revenue generating, market opportunity.”
“marketing” for what, exactly? she joyfully gives away her publications to promote her gigs, maybe, as in that old utopian view of what the internet was going to do for bands?
yeah, i’m sure that the talks in libraries and the school visits, and guesting on anime podcasts and such will really pay the bills.
why shouldn’t helen vent? it’s a real pain in the pen-ôl for her.
I am really angry when my stuff gets stolen. Most people are. But it’s not just about my personal loss – it’s a principle that affects many creators and may well restrict the creative marketplace in future.
How much money an individual author may or may not make from writing or other activities will vary from author to author and year to year. Unless you have a big hit fiction series, you need a string of steady sellers returning royalties year in, year out, to make your business viable. Think of it like a corner shop – the owner needs a string of sales on a variety of products to many customers to make a living. If the corner shop gets hit by theft to the extent that the owner can’t make a worthwhile living, it will close. If the aggravation of dealing with theft gets too extreme/uninsurable, the store will close.
When corner stores close, people lament the loss to the community and the lessening of choice – yet they mostly carry on shopping at Wal-Mart, perceiving no irony in this.
People also protest very loudly when their own property is stolen, and expect the police to spring into action against thieves. Some of the victims of theft download illegal material off the Internet, yet they don’t regard themselves as thieves, again perceiving no irony in this.
There’s no point getting annoyed with the people who don’t like having their work stolen. Why blame the victim for the theft? Instead we need to work out a mechanism for dealing with he changing marketplace, while also ensuring that everybody who profits from theft – and that includes the ISPs – is involved in restitution.
OCILLA tried to do something positive: but because lawmakers didn’t understand how fast things can move on the Net, they relied on old-fashioned means of enforcement and unbalanced the equation too far. We need to strive for balance. We can’t do that unless we accept the realities of the situation.
I’m appalled that this happened, and I’m also incredibly sorry. As a creative individual that greatly respects writers that are able to get a book published, and you in particular, it sickens me that people are saying that this was to be expected and you shouldn’t be surprised or angry. After all of the work you clearly poured into that book, and all of the others you’ve written, you have every right to be angry.
I wish you the best of luck with this, and I do hope it all gets resolved well.
Here in Britain we have a very low rate of arrest for burglary and robbery, and people say the same thing – that victims shouldn’t be surprised or angry at being robbed. Some also express the view that if they are insured they can claim the value of their loss back so they haven’t been ‘injured’ at all. I think that’s wrong, and I don’t see this as different.
But what also interests me in all this is how do we move forward? To give a few examples: would insurance against Internet theft be workaible, and how much would it raise costs to honest readers? Would ISPs be interested in a voluntary code, or in developing identification tools as discussed above? Could the ISPs who get advertising and donations via downloads set up a fund from which pirated rights holders could claim compensation based on how long their work was available before take-down? Could OCILLA be modified so that, for example, authors and designated individuals such as authors’ agents had the same rights as the publishers to make takedown requests? (At present, only certain rights holders can make such requests – for most books this is the publisher.)
The dialogue needs to develop to embrace solutions, but at the moment, the only people losing out are creators and rights holders, and they are not a strong enough lobby to create change. When we reach a stage where only the already-rich, celebrities or endorsed creators can afford to publish, consumers will also lose out, but by then it may be too late to maintain the diversity of our creative industries. Let’s have the conversation now.
On a sidenote Helen, and this is a point I always forget to make, it’s LEGAL for me to download the ILLEGAL copy of your book (*). As long as it’s for private use and/or private study the law here says it’s okay to have it.
And I’m just across the channel (the Netherlands).
You think I’m a thief because I *do* watch fansubs but the law here says it’s okay. As long as there isn’t a global law covering it people will find loopholes for it.
The government here is not adverse to change that law but they want the Entertainment industry to offer a viable alternative. I find it amusing the government here actually has the one idea that the industry seems to ignore: find a cure, don’t waste time and/or funds fighting the symptoms.
No, the Netherlands hasn’t sanctioned theft and you’re not stealing because your Government has set up a mechanism for payments to creators whose work is downloaded. From the information I’ve seen it looks as if this functions along roughly the same lines as our Public Lending Right and ALCS payments in Britain. Levies are collected, and then shared out among creators/rights owners.
There is no reason that this couldn’t be done by all ISPs, everywhere in the world. They can track the number of times an item is downloaded, so they could pay a levy to a central fund which would share it out among creators according to the use made of their work.
While I do agree with you I can see a storm of protest from people who like their privacy.
People who like their privacy don’t need pseudonyms – they stay out of the public arena. People only need pseudonyms when they want to say their piece but not own it. I don’t know why anyone who has commented on this or any other blog would feel they need to hide who they are, though I don’t dispute their right to make that choice.
People simply like to stay on the safe side.
(Yes, I changed my nick).
Speaking as a person who’s occasionally in charge of making hiring decisions, one of the very first things I do for any candidate is throw their name into Google and see what comes back. There are a lot of questions I can’t legally ask in an interview that are readily answered by their public postings, if they’re using their real name.
That would be why _I_ use a pseudonym online. I’m sure other people have valid reasons as well.
As for fansubs, unless you download/copy them via your Government’s mechanism for paying the rights holders, then yes, that is theft because no money will go back to the creators and owners.
Back in the old days of videotape, many titles were only released as dubs, or were not released at all, so there was no way to get them subtitled except illegally. Today that doesn’t normally apply. I can understand why some items still get fansubbed – for example, there are many very old shows that will never get a professional release, and where the creators and companies are no longer with us. It doesn’t hurt anyone or deprive anyone if they are fansubbed. But many people download commercially available material, just because they want the stuff but don’t want to pay for it.
I don’t have a problem with people deciding that they are going to steal. I don’t like it, especially when they steal my stuff, but everyone has their own reasons. I object to them trying to pretend it’s not theft, or it doesn’t hurt anyone, or it’s OK – especially when they do all this while sheltering behind pseudonyms. I think people should be willing to own their actions and opinions.
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“especially when they do all this while sheltering behind pseudonyms”
I’m actually quite vocal about watching fansubs. My psuedonym isn’t a shelter, it’s the way I’m registered at WordPress it seems. At my blog (http://www.animeblog.nl) I also point to where people can buy the DVD’s when available. I think it’s important people don’t forget anime isn’t free.
Watching fansubs doesn’t mean I don’t buy the DVD’s when they come out (for the right amount of money I want to spend on it). Watching FMA as a fansub made want to buy it on DVD. Watching Casshern Sins as a fansubs won’t keep me from also buying it when released, I also bought the Casshan: Robot Hunter because of it. Fansub watchers aren’t all evil you know 🙂
But let’s say I want to know if Bamboo Blade is worth buying. It’s available on region 1 and the summary seems nice. But I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a series of which I don’t know I’ll like. Funimation has a Youtube channel but they won’t let me watch their stuff because I’m not residing in the US. So what option is left? Fansubs. Sample it. Do I like it? I’ll buy it. Do I hate it? I won’t buy it.
But the main reason why people in general download stuff? Because it’s easy and they simply can.
Sad to hear this finally happened. Manga and anime have been taking it in the shorts from this sort of thing for almost a decade, of course, but now it’s on to the tougher pickings, I guess.
As I said to Fred Schodt the other day, “The sad truth is that we are approaching a future where the value of anything that can be digitized will be zero.”
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