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Answerman - Why Is It "Wrong" To Buy Digital Manga From Other Countries?


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SHD



Joined: 05 Apr 2015
Posts: 241
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:28 pm Reply with quote
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In my opinion, it's yet another reason to buy physical copies of the media you really really love.

And pay twice the amount it should cost due to shipping... yeah, no. Instead, how about making steps in order to put an end to region lock once and for all?

It sucks when something is not available for me even though it's available two countries away, in the same EU.

It sucks when I have to buy (ridiculous shipping and handling fees included) physical copies of manga which then take up space in my small flat (and if I don't care all that much about them then I'll probably have to throw them out eventually because I can't even resell the damn things my country) because the digital version is not available for me to buy.

It's like, guys, I want to give you money to use your services, look at your ads, etc! Why aren't you letting me?!

(And then they wonder why piracy still exists.)
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 1047
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:51 pm Reply with quote
I don't agree with the advice presented in this column simply because fans should be encouraged to buy licensed materials, even if said material is not available in their country. I use foreign iTunes cards all the time to buy music not available in the US despite it being easier and cheaper for me to DL that online at various other sites. If I could read French (or if the manga market in Spain were as strong as the French market), I would happily buy foreign titles that are translated into a language that I can understand. And yes, unlike shipping from Japan which is quite cheap in comparison to shipping items from the US, I would prefer digital content because the money saved on shipping fees could buy more manga.

The advice presented in the column basically boils down to telling fans that, either way, they're a criminal because they've either committed fraud by telling a company that they live in their distribution region or they're thieves because they illegally consumed the media. I think that those fans who do buy digital media, even if it is not licensed in their region, should be encouraged instead of criminalized. Depending on where that fan lives, telling them to wait until its localized or to cross their fingers that no one at their local post office steals the goods (happens all the time in Italy, even today) is unreasonable.
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CatSword



Joined: 01 Jul 2014
Posts: 348
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:29 pm Reply with quote
Using a fraudulent address to purchase a digital manga is still much better than going to a scanlation site in my opinion.
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lys



Joined: 24 Jun 2004
Posts: 886
Location: mitten-state
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:46 pm Reply with quote
The question was "why is this considered questionable/illegal?" and Justin explained the technicalities and regulations to answer that question. In an official-ish context, I don't think he's supposed to encourage people to commit fraud. But he does point out that the likelihood of it getting noticed or punished is low, and I don't think he outright condemned it. More of a "these are the potential risks, so that you know what you're getting into if you decide to do this."
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Joe Mello



Joined: 31 May 2004
Posts: 2003
Location: Tekkoshocon
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:07 pm Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:
I don't agree with the advice presented in this column simply because fans should be encouraged to buy licensed materials, even if said material is not available in their country.

If it's not available in your country, then it's still unlicensed. No one has been given permission to sell it to you. That's what "unlicensed" means here. What you are asking is for someone to codone a position that can't actually exist.
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 1047
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:18 pm Reply with quote
Joe Mello wrote:
If it's not available in your country, then it's still unlicensed. No one has been given permission to sell it to you. That's what "unlicensed" means here. What you are asking is for someone to codone a position that can't actually exist.


I see this being more of a case of not localized for the market that I live in rather than a case of it being unlicensed because it is, somewhere in the world. And in the case of someone like an ex-pat living abroad, it seems unfair to punish people for living where they do. If I want the product and am willing to pay for it, punishing me for living abroad or wanting it in a different language that what is being offered in my country is foolish. Chances are, though, no company is going to have me arrested because I choose to buy manga and read it in the language of my choosing. But the point here is that it benefits no one from labeling fans as criminals if they choose to buy media in a different language, regardless of format, than what is locally available. There is enough bitterness and piracy in this hobby. Creating more tension is unnecessary.
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SilverTalon01



Joined: 02 Apr 2012
Posts: 1540
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:25 pm Reply with quote
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If anything, by claiming you reside in a country that you're not, you're committing fraud. Is it a serious case of fraud?


Is it? I am also not a lawyer, but I believe for civil fraud that some sort of 'harm' must some to the victim. Seems like it quite the stretch to consider paying the price somebody is asking for as harm. Criminal fraud doesn't even remotely sound applicable.
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chito895



Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 480
Location: Lima, Peru
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:35 pm Reply with quote
This is rather confusing for me because I mostly use a VPN connection to watch stuff that it's not available in my country (or in Latin America). That's how I got to watch Soul Eater, Noragami (on USA Netflix) or Chobits (Canadian Funimation) without downloading the shows from a pirate site.

So what I've done is illegal? I'm still watching anime from a legal site like Crunchyroll so they are still receiving my money even though I'm not in the available country, right?
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littlegreenwolf



Joined: 10 Aug 2002
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Location: Seattle, WA
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:43 pm Reply with quote
The sooner region locked digital content goes, the better imo. Unfortunately the digital medium, and with that license rules and limitations are very new to Japanese publishers. There are some though that are open to it. FAKKU for example has a deal with Wani for publication and sales in the English language. Anyone from any country is able to buy these licensed works... as long as they aren't in Japan. That's more complicated though due to the erotic nature of Wani titles and the fact FAKKU gets to distribute them uncensored.
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ajr



Joined: 29 Nov 2010
Posts: 399
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:43 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
In my opinion, it's yet another reason to buy physical copies of the media you really really love.


Or, and maybe this is crazy talk, how about DRM-free download-to-own files? Physical copies are of limited size, durability, and contrast; these things aren't exactly printed on the best paper in the world. *sigh* Alas, the realities of business. It really does look like the best solution is a kludge of buying the media and pirating the same title and just hoping the courts are sane when you or someone like you eventually winds up there.

chito895 wrote:
So what I've done is illegal? I'm still watching anime from a legal site like Crunchyroll so they are still receiving my money even though I'm not in the available country, right?


Yes, it's illegal, and yes, they're receiving money. I'd argue illegal ≠ unethical. It's not really in Crunchyroll OR the licensor's best interests to prosecute people in your situation, not unless you're doing it to dodge a higher priced alternative in your country (e.g. Japan).
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ScruffyKiwi



Joined: 25 Oct 2010
Posts: 428
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:53 pm Reply with quote
Cutiebunny wrote:
Joe Mello wrote:
If it's not available in your country, then it's still unlicensed. No one has been given permission to sell it to you. That's what "unlicensed" means here. What you are asking is for someone to codone a position that can't actually exist.


I see this being more of a case of not localized for the market that I live in rather than a case of it being unlicensed because it is, somewhere in the world.


You might like to see it like that but unfortunately that doesn't make it true.

What wasn't made clear in the answer given in this article is that this sort of thing also applies to printed books. Just because a book is printed and sold in a particular market doesn't mean you have the right to import that book. Luckily where I live (New Zealand) we have special provisions within our copyright law to allow parallel importing which makes it perfectly legal to import books sold say in India for the domestic Indian market, where books, especially university text books are sold much cheaper, and import it.

Incidentally the USA is not particularly happy about that provision in our copyright law and part of the TPP was to remove or dilute this considerably.
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
Posts: 1670
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:00 pm Reply with quote
Curious. Is it also against the terms to buy a Crunchyroll subscription legally while residing in the U.S., and then use a VPN to watch it after having moved to Japan (where Crunchyroll is region-blocked)? Or vice-versa, with an online game account for a Japan-only game?
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xchampion



Joined: 21 Jan 2009
Posts: 177
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:08 pm Reply with quote
The advantages of living in the USA!!!
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chaccide



Joined: 16 Aug 2016
Posts: 214
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:08 pm Reply with quote
ajr wrote:

chito895 wrote:
So what I've done is illegal? I'm still watching anime from a legal site like Crunchyroll so they are still receiving my money even though I'm not in the available country, right?


Yes, it's illegal, and yes, they're receiving money. I'd argue illegal ≠ unethical. It's not really in Crunchyroll OR the licensor's best interests to prosecute people in your situation, not unless you're doing it to dodge a higher priced alternative in your country (e.g. Japan).



It's not illegal. Cite the law that forbids it. It's only a practice that a company can put in its TOS as not allowed on that site.
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ScruffyKiwi



Joined: 25 Oct 2010
Posts: 428
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:32 pm Reply with quote
chaccide wrote:
ajr wrote:

chito895 wrote:
So what I've done is illegal? I'm still watching anime from a legal site like Crunchyroll so they are still receiving my money even though I'm not in the available country, right?


Yes, it's illegal, and yes, they're receiving money. I'd argue illegal ≠ unethical. It's not really in Crunchyroll OR the licensor's best interests to prosecute people in your situation, not unless you're doing it to dodge a higher priced alternative in your country (e.g. Japan).



It's not illegal. Cite the law that forbids it. It's only a practice that a company can put in its TOS as not allowed on that site.


It IS illegal and what law is broken depends on the country you are viewing it from NOT the country that is streaming it. To give an example recently in New Zealand Netflix and co "encouraged" our government to pass a law cracking down on ISP providers that were providing a VPN services. The argument given was that this was bypassing potential GST income, so now all streaming providers in NZ have to pay GST.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11499034

So to summarize, yes it's illegal and the laws broken are in the country you are viewing it in.
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