The end of fansubs?

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The end of fansubs?

Postby Otohiko » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:02 pm

Here is a blurb from a popular 'ethical' fansubbing site, which I can't link to for obvious reasons.

I'm not suggesting a discussion of fansub ethics, rather noting the possible implications of something like this.

(thanks Vlad on DS for initial heads-up)
By limiting the content to only unlicensed anime, we had tried to avoid associating A******** with piracy, even though fansubs are technically a violation of copyright.

On December 7, 2004 A******** received an email from a Tokyo law firm who represents the interests of Media Factory Inc. (a Japanese anime studio) requesting us to stop uploading "works" (anime series) of MFI to our website and/or stop "inducing" our visitors to websites where their "works" can be downloaded.

The beginning of the end?
Maybe, maybe not. Depends on if any other Japanese anime studio decides to follow MFI's example.


I'm sure some of you are familiar with this story.

Well, I certainly hope other animation companies don't follow suit in this. Though I'm not putting any money on that; if the original copyright holders go after fansubs, who's to say they won't move on to other 'grey areas', too - say, oh, AMV's?

Anyways, I'd like to see what comes of this.
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Postby Moonlight Soldier » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:07 pm

Hmm interesting.

While stopping fansubs makes sense, I think it would be hard to stop the amv community. Sure sites could get shut down, but eh, I doubt that would stop editors.

While my morals/ethics on this matter are somewhat skewed, AMVs act as free publicity for what could become only licensed anime (if fansubs sites get shut down)...

/shrugs.

Whatever, the world won't end if fansubs disappear, it may give companies more incentive to ship things over when everyone starts whining though :lol:
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Postby valentine » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:14 pm

I think getting rid of fansubs would acutally hurt anime companies in the long run. They build alot of hype for the series until they get released in the US. I'm already chewing on my fingers (finger nails are long gone) waiting for Samurai 7 to be released by FUNimation because of fan subs. If I know the quality of the anime I'm much more willing to spend big, big $$ for it-- and all its little specialty extras.
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Postby shadow-the-hedgehog » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:16 pm

Unless more US companies license Anime as soon as they come out, its might take a hit on the fans.

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Postby Otohiko » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:34 pm

Well, my main concern is that this sort of removes the 'ethical' cushion from these kinds of fan activities - the IS the actual japanese animation company requesting a stop to the distribution. This is a lot higher on the creative chain than anything before, which means that the creators' concerns are more directly involved here.

And with all my dislike for corporations and lawyers, I do respect the rights of groups directly involved in creating the product. To parrallel, if my favorite artists' manager asked me to remove AMV's using their music, I would do so.

So, like fansubs though I may, I think this could be a huge setback to their 'code of ethics'.
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Postby valentine » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:42 pm

That's true. Now that I know MFI doesn't want their works available, I wouldn't download them.

The ethical area that was muddy has now become swampy. Personally, I think I'll take it on a studio-to-studio basis, and if they all decide they don't support fan-subs, I will stop downloading. The drawback for them will be, I'll buy animes as they come out to the US market a lot slower because I refuse to buy an anime unless I already know it.

But maybe that will be worth it for them, if they have a lot of people who aren't buying domestically because of fan subs?
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Postby Kai Stromler » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:43 pm

shadow-the-hedgehog wrote:Unless more US companies license Anime as soon as they come out, its might take a hit on the fans.


The thing is, this is more or less exactly what's happening. With a few notable exceptions, anything popular is licensed almost immediately after its premiere, if US money has not actually been committed to it in the production stage. More licenses are being announced earlier than ever, and there's a lot of catalog stuff being picked up (like Slam Dunk, the most notable in recent weeks) that people thought would never be licensed.

However, I don't think this is in any way 'the end' for fansubs, though it's definitely the end of people getting internet-famous for putting out fansubs with any sense of honor. The pirates are going to continue their zero-day obsession, and the few who put out less popular or weirder titles are still going to be able to do so more or less free of interference. If popular stuff is getting picked up commercially, there's no need to fansub it; if something looks like it's not going to get licensed right off, fansubs still have a promote-and-preview niche to fill.

And, of course, everyone and their brother will continue subbing Naruto until, and likely after, Funi and 4Kids announce that they have finally won the Powerball jackpot and can marginally afford the license to the series.

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Postby bum » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:49 pm

The problem with fansubs is that people who watch them dont end up buying the dvd's when they're released (the magorit of the time anyway), which ultimately ends up costing anime related companies money. Then again, thier are more than a few fansub groups out thier, and even if they do stop diistributing thier work one by one, that doesnt stop torrent sites.

With amv's its totoaly different. Its fan art, not copies of whole eppisodes.
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Postby Otohiko » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:51 pm

bum wrote:With amv's its totally different. Its fan art, not copies of whole eppisodes.


Yea, but soon that may well be our only 'ethical defense'.

And if Gainax directly asked me to stop distributing some of my AMV's, I probably would, too...
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Postby Alucard_FoN » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:54 pm

How stupid can they be? Do they not realize how good of advertising they are getting for free in fansubs? Yeah, okay, some people download it for free and never buy it. But a lot more than that download, realize that it's awesome, then but the DVD's. For Media Factory to do this is incredibly short sighted and stupid. I predict that without fansubs being distributed, interest in and therefore sales of their work's will plummet in the US.
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Postby valentine » Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:12 pm

bum wrote:
With amv's its totally different. Its fan art, not copies of whole eppisodes.


Yea, but soon that may well be our only 'ethical defense'.


Otohiko, you have hit the nail on the head.
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Postby bum » Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:13 pm

Alucard_FoN wrote:How stupid can they be? Do they not realize how good of advertising they are getting for free in fansubs? Yeah, okay, some people download it for free and never buy it. But a lot more than that download, realize that it's awesome, then but the DVD's. For Media Factory to do this is incredibly short sighted and stupid. I predict that without fansubs being distributed, interest in and therefore sales of their work's will plummet in the US.


One can only wish that was true. The sad fact is, its probably very rare to find someone who watches fansubs and then buys the local dvd release because the anime was good.
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Postby Alucard_FoN » Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:21 pm

I don't think so. The vast majority of the anime fans I talk to buy shows that they liked when they watched the fansubs.
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Postby Otohiko » Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:25 pm

I don't buy all I watch on fansubs, and sometimes I can't even afford some things I really liked from subs, but it would be very safe to say that I would've missed out on some definite 'buys' without them. Of my top 5 favorite anime, I saw 3 on fansubs first...

And hell, I'm even thinking of importing one that's unlikely to get licensed soon :roll:
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Postby bobbarker31 » Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:27 pm

It happens though. I saw all of Wolf's Rain subtitled before it ever appeared on Cartoon Network and video stores. I have bought every episode so far and plan to do so until I have all of them. Subbing does have a place and I hope the corporate suits do realize that it helps them more than hurts them. Anime has only in recent years emerged out of the cult status that it once occupied here in America. It would not take a lot to put it back into the cult status. The high prices of anime DVDs ($10 to $20 higher than regular DVDs) is already keeping the fan base from spreading farther.

Don't get me wrong, my money is my vote. I buy the legal title of what I may have seen subbed earlier. I don't just consider it the right thing to do, but what you need to do to have the studios you like develope the right titles.
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