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Interview: Gilles Poitras


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victorinox243



Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:02 am Reply with quote
I love this guy. He hit the nail on every issue. I went to the "Older Titles for Newer Fans" panel with him in it. He knows his stuff!

Anime is on such shaky ground right now I have no idea what will happen to it. We're talking about international relations, huge untapped markets, quantity of a quality item, the Animation Ghetto, and pirates. And so many fans don't realize their significance in this delicate time.

Pizza Hut supports the Rebellion!
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akitainu



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 105
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:01 am Reply with quote
Great interview, very interesting. I have all three of his books. I bought the first Anime Companion right after I went headlong into watching anime. That was over a decade ago. I can still recommend it to anyone starting out. The references are dated (but very much worth looking into) but the cultural explanations are priceless.

That said, I get uneasy with the idea of moving copyright from civil to criminal.
Really, we lock up enough people in this country.
I have nearly four thousand anime DVDs/BDs. Yes, 4000. All bought brand new. All legitimate R1 releases.
But, I still download and watch fansubs. I download them through BT. That would make me an uploader also, and thus primed for handcuffs.
Surely, my argument will fall flat with the "fansubs are killing the industry" crowd. But I'd rather not do two years in prison for spending a ridiculous amount of money on anime.
I know I'm an anomaly...but I'm me...and that is all that matters.
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ittoujuu



Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 146
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:34 am Reply with quote
Wow, really great interview! It makes me feel bad for having lived in San Jose since 2003 but never having made it to Fanime any of these years. I see Gilles Poitras' name pop up in anime-related articles every now and then, and he really seems to be a guy on top of his field, with insights on a crazily-wide bandwidth of Japan-related things. It'd be interesting to hear him give a talk, certainly. Hopefully, living in the Bay Area, I'll happen upon another chance to hear him lecture.
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rabrek



Joined: 06 Apr 2009
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:20 am Reply with quote
they'll drop lawyers from the stratosphere

Really enjoyed the interview, not least of all the mental image of suits undertaking night-time HALO jumps over populated areas, O2 cylinders strapped to their briefcases. It just pleases me. Pink Box is a fascinating read, very respectful yet informative. Now ordering Practically Religious... table of contents looks right up my alley. Thanks!
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 3199
Location: NE Ohio

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:39 am Reply with quote
akitainu wrote:
Surely, my argument will fall flat with the "fansubs are killing the industry" crowd. But I'd rather not do two years in prison for spending a ridiculous amount of money on anime.


But you wouldn't be going to prison for spending a ridiculous amount of money on anime ... you'd go to prison for the other stuff.

In any event, to be specific, in the US its not the fansubs per se that are killing the industry, its the leech streaming sites. And as long as they rely on the big free video upload sites, and as long as the big free video upload sites respond to C&D letters, then its something that can be addressed by using the leech streaming sites to point to the uploads and taking the upload down.

If, and only if, there is a free ad-stream available, a small handful of people with authority to issue C&D letters could easily disrupt the head to head competition from leech streamers on the current standard and push them back into a niche of mostly streaming unlicensed titles ... using the leech streaming site purely as a catalog of links and episode titles and going straight to the actual content on MySpace, Megavideo and VEOH.

Once it gets to the point that the leech streaming site is uploading each targeted episode a couple of times a week and its still "removed for copyright infringement" half the time, its just becomes easier for a lot of people to watch the legit stream.

The leech streaming sites have shown that its possible to get people to dump a large amount of time into watching the material - but as noted in the article, they are market destroying rather than market building activities.

However, free ad-streams have the potential of being the "wide and shallow" foundation on which to build the more lucrative channels, including subscription streaming, downloads, and archival media.

The big institutional breakthrough are the Japanese production companies taking the plunge into crowd sourcing their localization, which has the potential of pulling the break even for ad-streams down to a few thousand views. That turns streaming the back catalog into an activity that is quickly self-financing, with the popularity of the ad-streams helping to determine which titles are chosen for further investment to release them in the more lucrative channels.
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_V_



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 616

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:32 am Reply with quote
This was a very interesting interview, thank you.

Quote:
I noticed in Japan that being a female foreigner in a porn shop often meant that the male Japanese patrons would quickly evacuate.


I wonder how this came about... Smile
Quote:

But a lot of small assumptions about religion...things that are not exactly wrong but aren't quite right. A lot of people have a hard time wrapping their brains around the idea that there is no concept of one supreme god, and that's just the way it is.
The nature of religion as a very private thing in Japan...not in the sense of "it's not anybody's business," but in the sense that it's just what people do themselves. They don't go to the temple every week, or the shrine every week; they might walk by and stop and pray for a bit, make a small offering, light some incense, and then they'll go on.


yes, what's intriguing to me about religion in Japan isn't the basic "we don't believe in a single monotheistic God" thing, other religions don't do that; its how casual/private it is, not on a regular basis.

Quote:
Yamaga also mentioned that they don't have any English speakers working at Gainax but that they used to, which was surprising since foreign interest in becoming a Japanese animator is probably way up.

Whenever I get asked that question when I'm speaking, I point out two things. One: I hope you're not going to get busted for this, but if you get busted for any prostitution-related crime, or any drug-related crime, you cannot work in Japan. You cannot go to school in Japan, you cannot move to Japan, those are the two things that will keep you from getting a visa. Whereas, you get busted for almost anything, you can't get into Canada. [Laughs] There's always some kid in the back who hears about the drug conviction thing who you go, yeah, he's going to change his life.


that was...odd. what did he mean by that?

Quote:
In Japan, digital piracy is a criminal law, here its only a civil law. This needs to change.


interesting...
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catbert



Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:10 am Reply with quote
I'm like you akitainu, I have a large collection of DVD's and I watch fansubs too. I like to think of the fansubs as similar to watching on TV. And then when it is released I go out and buy it. But the primary draw to fansubs for me is that I can watch things that don't get licensed. I get all excited when something gets licensed that I thought would have no chance, like Tytania and Guin Saga recently.

I actually think it is a good idea for the industry to contract a bit; there have been a lot of shows in recent times and few of them stand up to the older stuff. With a smaller market, hopefully there will be more of a focus on fewer, stronger shows.

Third point; I don't think many people realize how high quality the products we get here in the US are. A friend of mine went to Japan recently and he found that Japanese DVD's look like bootlegs; the cover images are low resolution and look like they were printed with a personal printer. Add this to the fact that their DVD's only have 2-3 episodes on average and they cost around 4000-7000 yen for standard editions and upwards of 12000 yen for special editions. Maybe if more people learned of this, they wouldn't feel like they were paying so much.
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Gilles Poitras



Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 365
Location: Oakland California

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:41 am Reply with quote
"that was...odd. what did he mean by that? "

I suspect edits made it sound stranger. I'm sure I mentioned that I recommended building a resume before applying to Japan.

On the whole the transcription of the interview has few changes. I take responsibility for any errors in my statements.

I do caution folks to take any interview with a grain of salt as the speaker may be operating on faulty memory tho' I try to be accurate.

I also have posted reports, more like supplements, on three of my Fanime panels in my blog:

http://gillespoitras.blogspot.com/​
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Youkai Warrior



Joined: 07 Aug 2008
Posts: 505
Location: Sarayashiki

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:07 pm Reply with quote
Great interview, I have The Anime Companion and The Anime Companion 2.

Quote:
Anime is on such shaky ground right now I have no idea what will happen to it. We're talking about international relations, huge untapped markets, quantity of a quality item, the Animation Ghetto, and pirates. And so many fans don't realize their significance in this delicate time.


Yes, anime is on very shaky ground. I don't know what will happen to it either, but I fear the worst...
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captainbanana



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 175

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:56 am Reply with quote
Interesting interview until the "criminalize copyright infringement" bit. I can just imagine the conversation now;

Inmate 1: "Hey, whatta ya in for?"
Inmate 2: "Oh murder, robbery, you know, the usual. How about you?"
Inmate 1: "Arson. How about you?"
Inmate 3: "Uhh.... I downloaded an episode of hanamaru kindergarten off of bittorrent"

You've seriously got to be warped to think that locking people up for infringement is (sane) reasonable when our justice system is already so thinly stretched. It's not a solution to piracy, nor will it save an industry that is drowning itself in moe.

I agree with him about the sex industry though. Ikebukuro West Gate Park is my favorite example. Seeing life through the eyes of someone that just happens to live next to a brothel is interesting to say the least. In his world, a relaxing day might be to run next door and have his childhood friend (or was she older than him...it's been too long) give him some "healing" without it being weird for either of them. (if I'm thinking of the wrong show, I'm sorry)


(full disclosure: I watch maybe 2-3 shows a season, and I buy them when they come out in the U.S. I don't support piracy, but I don't support insane ideas about locking people up for it either)
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hyojodoji



Joined: 08 Jan 2010
Posts: 425

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:47 am Reply with quote
Gilles Poitras wrote:
I do caution folks to take any interview with a grain of salt as the speaker may be operating on faulty memory tho' I try to be accurate.

 
Gilles Poitras wrote:
I remember being in a book-off store, the one in the Radio Kaitan building in Akihabara,

 
Probably the building which Mr Poitras thought of is Radio Kaikan.
However, actually, Book Off in Akibahara is not in Radio Kaikan. It is 120 yards or so away from Radio Kaikan.
The book shop in Radio Kaikan is K-Books.
 
 
Gilles Poitras wrote:
...if we could get the NHK live-action Taiga dramas on PBS,


Probably Mr Poitras wants to watch Ryōmaden.
In Ryōmaden, Takechi Hanpeita is now spoiler[in jail], and Ryōma has arrived at spoiler[Ikedaya].
As to Takechi Hanpeita and spoiler[Ikedaya], see the Anime Companion Supplement and The Anime Companion 2.
 
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Gilles Poitras



Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 365
Location: Oakland California

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:37 am Reply with quote
Thanks for the correction, yes it was K-Books. So many good bookshops in my last trip I start getting confused. Tokyo is a wonderland of bookstores.

Alas the current NHK Taiga drama, Ryōmaden, is not being broadcast in the San Francisco Bay Area. I miss the shows as I had been watching them for over a decade.

On criminalization of illegal file sharing. Not all convictions end up in incarceration. Fines and public service would do quite well. In Japan they seem to be going after the people who originally upload the files rather than ordinary downloaders (who I feel should not be prosecuted).
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victorinox243



Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:46 pm Reply with quote
_V_ wrote:

yes, what's intriguing to me about religion in Japan isn't the basic "we don't believe in a single monotheistic God" thing, other religions don't do that; its how casual/private it is, not on a regular basis.


I think "Mythology" would be a better fit than "religion". From what I have seen their spirituality looks more like extensions of everyday life than a set of rituals and services. I would say it is more augmentative of their society rather than the basis of their society.
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jr0904



Joined: 24 Dec 2005
Posts: 2028
Location: New York City,New York,USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:48 am Reply with quote
Quote:
There's one thing that could dramatically improve their situations, and the Japanese situation, and that is a change of law on copyright enforcement. Illegal downloads are decimating the market. I mean, I was a huge supporter of fansubs back in the VHS days because fansubs were a great way to promote titles and bring in new fans. Nowadays it really erodes the market, and one of the ways it erodes is not that people aren't buying the shows when they come out in the US-- and many are not buying.


That is all too true. And for series that are extremely popular in japan but never been released in the US for questionable content are the main targets for fansubbers. and it's cause of it that now were hearing comments from that bang zoom ceo that he may not be dubbing anymore. However the one thing he did not target are illegal streaming sites and video sites that host them like myspace and veoh that host them which was odd.

Quote:
Is there a specific change you'd make to copyright law?

I'd make it a criminal offense. Right now it's a civil offense, and it can cost an American company hundreds of thousands of dollars to shut an operation down and try to get restitution. In Japan it's a criminal offense; if you find somebody distributing something you report it to the police and the police will shut it down.


I could not agree with you more. however i'd make it a federal offence. Also i'd be tageting fansub groups and taget streaming sites as well as have those video sites like veoh suspictible to damages. the DCMA should definately start giving advice to both the US and Japan industry on using the laws to prevent all forms of their content from beeing illegaly streamed and downloaded on the internet.
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Covnam



Joined: 31 May 2005
Posts: 484

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:53 pm Reply with quote
I clicked the link for this interview by accident, but started reading and found it interesting. A bit too tired to read through the whole thing now, but I plan to continue reading later.

The only thing is though, is that this feels like a part 2. Maybe it's just the lack of a proper intro, but I feel like I've missed something. I didn't see an earlier interview when I checked the interviews page. So,... did I miss something?
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