Stellar & Aule Neko Mimi

The anime cat food is mine!

If you’ve been to Anime News Network or some of anime forums, you might have heard about it already. If not, here it is – The Japanese government had requested the US government to help stop unauthorized sharing and downloads of anime on the Internet, including those on video-sharing sites (such as Crunchy Roll) and peer-to-peer downloads.

Of course this isn’t the only request that the Japanese government had made, but it’s the only one that has grabbed the interest of (and relevant to) online anime communities.

I’m not sure if the Japanese government had done this on behalf of the anime production companies, but if they are, you have to wonder… why now? And why through a government formal request?

Perhaps they are trying to follow in Odex’s footsteps but more indirectly so fans would not go banging down their doors and giving them death threats like what Odex experienced (and while a death threat is overboard, I daresay they deserved it). Let’s just hope this isn’t the case here.

Perhaps the Japanese government just wants to protect their intellectual rights, since “anime” is just part of the list.

Cloud Strife Advent Children

“Hello, mommy? I think they’re coming for me…”

Anyway, I just hope we won’t face yet another Odex fiasco from this. They have done enough damage to the online anime community, and while it’s still very debatable and legally “not right“, I believe that if you kill the online anime community, you kill the anime industry. At least, the anime industry outside Japan.

However, it’s been proven time and time again that nothing could prevent the use of the Internet to spread and share files, legal or otherwise. Instead of trying to track and punish those involved, the pursuers should instead try to go along and make use of what’s working against them to work for them.

Give the fans/downloaders what fansubs are giving them – fast release, quality video, accurate translation, cheap – and everyone benefits. This and many others has already been suggested to death already and only a very handful have been seen implemented.

Viz has done this to a certain degree and while I don’t have the numbers to prove it, I’m pretty sure they are doing well with it. Although their releases are still very limited and since they do not have any of the anime I want to watch, I’ve never tried their services. Kudos to Viz!

The original article on ANN can be found here.

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20 Comments to “Japan wants N. America to stop anime downloads”

  1. GoddessCarlie | October 24th, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I do think that people need to move forward with the times. One example is music. For years they tried to stop people from downloading music. Now they are going with the flow. I believe people don’t illegally download music much anymore in america because of Itunes and the like offering really cheap music downloads, and now there a bands who are offering their albums up for download from their site asking for a donation.

    The downloading of tv shows here in Australia compared to the US and Britain, I hear, is very very large because here in Australia we (used to) get shows months after they were originally aired in the US etc. Now they are trying a new things such as airing shows the same week as they are in the US but I think they also need to offer free downloads like some US stations do (I don’t watch tv but I would like to watch it in my own time if that makes sense, and we don’t have tivo or whatever it’s called here like the US does).

    Anyway, long rambley post. I would argue that things like Amine, tv shows etc, that we would normally never have the chance to see if it wasn’t for the internet is actually going to make them more money. Because I would be quite willing, and do, spend money on products to do with these. With music, if I like an album that has been downloaded – if I don’t buy the CD, I’ll definitely go to their concert when they visit – if it hadn’t have been downloaded, I never would have risked the $30 it would cost for a CD… etc etc

  2. steven | October 25th, 2007 at 10:12 am

    u said u dont think anyone downloads music illgly anymore i am still in 9th grade i would say at least 90%
    of the students download illagly and so do i

  3. x | October 25th, 2007 at 10:31 am

    If you are in 9th grade, you should be pushed back into fourth grade and restart your primary lessons in English, grammar and spelling…

    That being said, the amount of illegally downloaded music is still high, but it is slowly going down. Considering the issue with DRM is still around, certain music will continue to be illegally downloaded, however, with more and more companies turning their backs on DRM, I anticipate that there will be far less illegal downloading over the next few years.

    As for illegal anime fansubs, well, considering most anime stuff outside of Japan gains its cult following through these illegal means, and considering that the majority of people buy the actual releases once they are available, and considering that a huge number of releases never /are/ made available, I have a feeling that being rid of this stuff is going to do more harm for the anime companies than it will do good.

  4. NinjaBunny | October 25th, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Maybe if they’d publish quicker I wouldn’t have to download. I recently was browsing the web and saw a picture of a poster for death note and it seemed interesting so I went ahead and downloaded a few episodes…the next thing I knew I had divX quality videos of every single episode and had watched the entire series right before finding out it was coming to adult swim. I will also note that as soon as the box set comes out I’m all over that thing.

    But back on topic, I’d be more than happy to purchase said animes if only they were dubbed/subbed/whatever and brought to the US. The lack of translations and content is what truly pushes me to download, and seriously, what other options do I have? I love japan but I gotta say asking us to stop our downloads is simply idealistic and will not get you anywhere.

  5. lol | October 25th, 2007 at 10:49 am

    viz? lol wtf? viz fails

    ADV is doing the best in the US, in terms of translations and getting the largest number of good anime

  6. maddie allen | October 25th, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    i think that the downloading of animes should be kept to a minimum and that we only download the ones that are in English. because i don’t like reading the subtitles, it’s really hard[at least for me] because i can’t concentrate on both at the same time.

    well i said my opinion

  7. Neko Kyou | October 25th, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    @Carlie: My thoughts exactly. I’ve actually spent a lot on anime DVD and merchandise that I would have done so otherwise if it weren’t for the Internet.

    @Steven: Illegal downloads is probably impossible to completely be prevented. But I believe that their percentage is dropping.

    Note that I used the word “percentage” and not “numbers”. That’s because the numbers are definitely increasing, but the percentage of people actually paying for legal downloads are more than let’s say, 5 years ago.

    @X: I dare to estimate that around 80% (or at least, the huge majority) of anime fans outside Japan are due to fansubs. So cutting off the main source of anime outside the country will definitely have a huge negative impact on the community. And I agree, there are a lot of good anime that never gets licensed and would have been a great loss if it weren’t for fansubs.

    @NinjaBunny: Spoken like a true fan 😀 We need more people who are like you, then perhaps those studios will realize that fansubbing is not “killing” their profits.

    @lol: I’m pretty happy with Viz and what they’ve done so far so I don’t really think they failed that badly 😛

    @maddie: The majority of online anime fans actually preferred subs over dubs, which is why all the new DVD releases have both subs and dubs. And one thing I noticed is that the subs are translated from the Japanese audio and not the scripts from the dub, which definitely pleased many fans, including me 😀

  8. Sean | October 26th, 2007 at 1:47 am

    The solution here is for North America to just stop watching anime altogether. The organizations that make these kinds of decisions are not capable of understanding anything but the bottom line, so if they figure out that persecuting the people that fund the industry leads to the collapse of the industry, they’ll shut the hell up.

  9. Josh | October 26th, 2007 at 2:42 am

    I mean, there are some things that can be done – such as going after websites that host some of the files and going after bootleggers, but my thoughts on this is this:

    1) if they’re worried about shows already licensed in the US, then you would think that would be up to the companies that licensed the shows here in the US.

    2) If it includes shows that aren’t licensed yet – while they certainly have the right to pursue copyright violators, one has to ask how cost effective that would be since, hypothetically if all fansubbing stopped – how many more units are they actually going to sell as a result? My guess is not that many.

    The only argument I could come up with for going after those being cost effective is if they thought that fansubs reduce sales once the shows get licensed (I guess not an unreasonable argument), and that as a result they can’t get as much money for the licenses and/or they can’t get some shows licensed that they could have otherwise.

    Of course, with things like torrents, many of those are hosted on servers outside either Japan or the US, so there isn’t a heck of a lot one can do about that.

    I personally think the best solution would be to set up some website that streams episodes like the day after they air in Japan subbed in English and translated by professional translators, for some monthly fee.

    Of course, there will be people who will never pay for it ever, but if you got it faster, and at a higher quality, or a monthly subscription cost, I think you could get a lot of people to sign up for that.

  10. Chris | October 26th, 2007 at 10:29 am

    I agree with stopping the downloading of anime, I just wish that they would sub the anime’s they have completed and release them here.

    I’ve heard that they’ve finished Naruto in Japan already, and I would much rather watch a subbed episode than a dubbed, because the original voices for all animes are better than the ones casted in America.

    I watched an episode that fans have subbed, and it was ten times better than trying to watch the American one. That whole “Believe it!” bit wasn’t even in the original version and the dialog was great. In fact, they completely ruined episodes when dubbing them in English, and not just Naruto.

    I’ll stop ranting, but I’m just trying to say, if you want them to stop, the best thing to do would be to market it yourself. Otherwise, fans will do what they do regardless of whether it’s permissible. I wish that it wasn’t so, but that’s how some people are.

  11. narkee | October 26th, 2007 at 11:03 am

    While I won’t say that I’ve never illegally downloaded anything, I do have to point out that your indignation and smug “you’ll never stop us” attitude is a little concerning.
    As consumers, we don’t have some sort of inalienable right to this content.
    It’s astonishing how people have been downloading for so long without consequence, that they have come to view it as not only perfectly acceptable, but any attempts at stopping illegal behaviour are ridiculed and laughed at.

    Not that I completely agree with the content publishers and their business models, but really, I think there has to be some respect for the owners and creators of these works.

  12. Neko Kyou | October 26th, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    @Sean: While it’s a tempting idea, I doubt that’s possible. Fans will not be able to stay away and companies will never stop blaming fansubs unless they change their perspective.

    @Josh: Check my new post 😀

    @Chris: Naruto is still on-going, but the anime is now known as Naruto Shippuuden instead to reflect the 2nd part of the story. “Believe it!” is translated from “Dattebayo!”, which is some random string of words Naruto likes to use that doesn’t have any meaning. Goes to show how dubs can really change an anime 😛

    @narkee: What you said is correct, there’s no denying it. But the world is changing thanks to the Internet whether people like it or not. What I’ve suggested is actually in the interest of all related parties. I don’t encourage “free leeching” at all, but it is the current trend and as history has so often proved, it’s virtually impossible to completely stop. Nor is it in the best interest of the companies pushing for punishment or compensation. Just look at Odex.

  13. Pythonite | November 13th, 2007 at 11:51 am

    As I said in your other post about fansubbing helping the community, I believe the largest problem with fansubs is that people just don’t want to pay as much as they have to. Even assuming an anime gets licensed for America, if said anime doesn’t happen to get picked up by a channel someone gets, that person will probably be forced to pay for DVDs. And $50 for a few shows isn’t within most people’s budgets, so they turn to the internet. If companies simply looked at what the most popular fansubs were, they would be able to figure out what shows they could (probably) successfully license and sell to the US. If they took said shows and released them on the internet, then think of the possibilities; it would mean more shows in the US that fans want, and more money without any risk of getting a show the US won’t like for the companies.

    The possibilities are endless, and yet many companies force themselves down the path of tradition and release their shows on television only. The internet allows companies to both collect revenue directly and release far more shows. Fans can provide much more feedback, and the company can better direct their money towards releasing higher quality dubs or subs. I think that before long people will realize that the internet has made most media-based business models obsolete, and everyone will benefit from it.

  14. Neko Kyou | November 13th, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    I think that before long people will realize that the internet has made most media-based business models obsolete, and everyone will benefit from it.

    And I think anime is one of the best market for that. Fans are already watching the shows online. What other market could be more ripe for companies to take advantage of the future of online-based television?

    Unfortunately, like you’ve said, many companies are still not looking into the future and continues to do it “the old way”.

  15. blaster2046 | November 20th, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    @Pythonite: Not only DVDs, people downloading can also get merchandise related to anime… Bad thing is that there’s too much pirated/fake merchandise out in the market too…=_=

    Do you know how many batch of Maxfactory Haruhi figure did that make?


  16. Smoky | August 10th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I definitely have to agree with the need for accurate translations. I have view over 300 titles of anime in the last decade. Most of that was fansubs. What little I have seen on DVD releases in the U.S. has sickened me. The dubs sound horrible and are poorly translated if they are translated at all (by this I am referring to entire story lines being trashed to make an anime “kid friendly”), the subs are not accurate and I have learned enough Japanese to be able to hear the spoken language and know that the subtitles don’t match.

    I have only read about what was done to One Piece, I have yet to see this for myself and have been warned that it will traumatize me if I do. I rather enjoyed One Piece for its comic value and it saddens me to hear that guns were replaced with super soakers, cigarettes replaced with lolipops, and beer replaced with milk? WTF? You’d go so far to market it towards kids?

    When Bleach got licensed, the subtitles changed drastically. Where Dattebayo would leave certain words untranslated (shinigami), now it is spelled out in full translation and to me just looks retarded.

    Most non-fansubs will drop the honorifics, reverse the names, and translate wards that would be much better left in romaji form. Shinigami, nakama, and itadakimasu are perfect examples. Besides, whats wrong with learning a little Japanese?

    Basically, to save the anime industry in the U.S., the licensing companies need to realize that children aren’t the ones wanting the anime. Anime doesn’t belong on broadcast or even cable TV in the U.S. Quit editing it. Have advertisements on regular TV that a series is available in stores and have a rating on it just like American movies. Problems solved.

    But I’m just an anime fan, what do I know about what other anime fans want to see?

  17. Alan | October 14th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    No, its just that the Japanese government is trying get the US government to comply with the treaties the two nations have signed and enforce international law.


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