Vu Nguyen - Page 2

by Zac Bertschy, Mar 25th 2008
Did you ever attempt to reach out to the fansubbers or the content providers before you started hosting their material? Asking permission beforehand and letting them know exactly what you were doing, how much money was changing hands, before hosting these fansubs?

We didn't – and there are a lot of groups out there and maybe we should've – but logistically it's difficult considering how much stuff our users were uploading.

In a recent interview we did with a fansubber, he mentioned that sites like yours – that charge access to fansubs, Crunchyroll being the largest and most prominent - all of which have a very specific “not for sale or rent” tag on them and were never made to make anyone any money for any reason,  are reviled within their community and among anime fans at large. What is your response to that? How does that affect you?

Unfortunately I can't comment on that directly, but we've never restricted access to anyone, and everything on our site isn't really unique to our site. There are very easy, similar alternatives. However I will point out that our content pages do mention the fansubbers, and we offer links to their websites.

Have you ever removed content at the request of a fansubber?

Any time the fansubbers have asked us to remove them, we've always complied.

I spoke with the fansubber that we interviewed prior to this and he mentioned that a prominent “speed subber” had requested that their files be removed from your site and their requests were simply ignored.

I know what you're referring to and we have removed those files, a long time ago. It depends on who they're talking to and hopefully they're not talking to forum moderators because those guys are volunteers. It depends on how they contact us. When they email us, we do something about it.

Who should they contact?

Copyright [at] Crunchyroll dot com.

In the future, in partnership with the Japanese companies, have you considered contracting fansubbers to subtitle the legal content you plan on hosting on the site through a legitimate agreement sanctioned by the Japanese companies?

This is a really interesting topic that I can't talk about much because it's uncertain, but we've been reaching out to embrace fansubbers, and we see them as fans who are just hoping to promote their work, but the problem is there's no structure to help them cooperate with the content providers. We think we're close to something, but what we're doing right now is trying to secure all the rights needed to allow the fansubbers to create their works. There's going to be some interesting things coming up, and we need feedback from fansub groups on the different ways we can reward them, whether it be monetary or otherwise.

Your DMCA policy is almost word-for-word identical to the copyright policy on YouTube. The main exception is that YouTube offers copyright holders a Content Verification Program for faster electronic notifications, which is useful for multiple copyright violations. Do you plan to offer a similar system, and if so, when?

We definitely have a similar system on our road map. I couldn't say when exactly. I will say that when we delete something, it stays down. We don't get multiple requests for the same item; if it's gone, it's gone and never comes back.

It's been mentioned you are now reaching out to Japanese companies in the hope of creating a partnership. Which companies are you reaching out to?

I can't say who we've been talking to, but right now everyone's just thinking about how to make digital distribution work.

What has the response been like so far from the companies you have spoken with?

It's a mixed bag, to be honest. There's less resistance than people would imagine.

Have you encountered any resentment or anger from the companies that know what you were doing?

I can't comment on that.

Is your intention to one day ensure that every single video hosted on Crunchyroll is offered legally, with some money going back to the production company and the artist?

We are in revenue sharing agreements with our partners now, and we are pursuing more content partnerships. It is our intention to make sure every content creator gets properly rewarded for their work.

If your intention is to reach out to Japanese companies and pursue these content partnerships, why are there still so many illegal videos hosted on the site? If you're attempting to gain footing within the Japanese industry, wouldn't it be prudent to remove any and all copyrighted content?

Unfortunately I don't think I could comment on that either.

Do you plan on reaching out to R1 companies and working with them in any capacity?

We want to. I can't get into specifics, but I think there will always be a demand for some form of physical media that users would want.

What about dubs?

Yes, dubs are also a big thing that R1 companies do well.

To my understanding, all the content on the site is uploaded by users. The staff doesn't upload anything.

Yes.

There are still so many copyrighted videos on your site – things that have been licensed in America for years. You mentioned that all of the videos are submitted by users – is there any screening process, even one monitored by volunteers? Why is someone allowed still to upload movies – stuff that's been licensed, like The End of Evangelion? Is it entirely reliant on the copyright holders to enforce their copyright, even in extremely obvious cases?

I can see that – I can't comment on exactly how it's filtered now. I can say that we have filters in place to ensure that once something comes down, it's never re-uploaded. Once again I'll say that it's not really unique with regards to users submitting videos – there are plenty of sites out there that don't respect takedown notices like we do.

But none of those other sites were charging for access to the content. That's the chief difference here and it's basically unique to Crunchyroll, with a few exceptions.

We never restricted access to anyone.

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