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Tempest
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:05 pm Reply with quote
AchtungAffen wrote:
Tempest wrote:
No, the issue here isn't just Anime Junkies, but nor is it "fansubbing in general. It's Unethical Fansubers as exemplified by Anime Junkies fansubs of licensed titles and their extremely rude behaviour.


And that is the biggest hypocrisy I ever heard. Its unethical to fansub an 'american licensed' title, but its not unethical to override the copyrights of the original author... just because it hurts the industry in america is a crime, but if it hurts only that of japan its ok??? How's this?


Many people accept that there is pretty much no market in North America for untranslated Japanese animation. So the arguement generally used to rationalyze fansubbing is that it doesn't hurt the Japanese producer or an American licensor as long as certain guidelines are followed.

This is why many in the industry itself don't mind fansubing (provided again that guidelines are followed). Many Japanese producers have in fact given their support to fansubs (the creators of ROD for example).

Still, technicaly it remains illegal, and if you feel that Fansubs are wrong under any circumstance, that's an opinion I can respect.

The point of this thread is to discuss when and how fansubs are ethical, and when they are not.
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Shouta



Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 32
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:46 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
You make fansubs voluntarily, out of your own free time, because you are a fan. Never for personal profit or recognition. If at any time you feel you should be compensated for the work you've done then you're probably doing this for all the wrong reasons.


Just to make a quick comment about this since I didn't see this before.

The only time I'm going to expect money for my work is when someone is using my work for their own profit (with my consent). So if a commercial came knocking on my door for scripts for example, I'd expect to be compensated somehow because they're making the money off my work.

That's just a personal opinion though.
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cookie
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Joined: 02 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:52 pm Reply with quote
AchtungAffen wrote:
So, if its American-licensed is a sin... but if its licensed somewhere else it isnt???? What is this? Only its a law when its an 'American' law?


Well, your country might differ on its domestic laws...
... but your country does respect Japanese copyright law, since they've signed the Berne Convention.

(Source: http://www.wipo.org/treaties/documents/english/word/e-berne.doc)

Quote:
Should I still have to see the dub credits, and not be able to watch the anime as it was originally?


If you're that much of a fan, why not watch it raw? I buy R2s all the time; I'm sure if you're as much a fan as I, you could do that.

Quote:
Again, if its a law in the US its a universal law. This is the biggest hypocrisy ever. So, why should it be unethical to break the copyright law in Japan, but not in the US, if the anime isn't licensed? Aren't those laws... international? Where's the ethic there? I thought ethics required something called "equality" (was it?)


No, it's not, because Argentina respects US copyright law, and US respects Argentian copyright law. And in both cases, BOTH countries respect Japanese copyright law.

THIS is what we call "equality". What you're calling equality is actually unbalanced in your favor. What at least some of us are suggesting is TRUE equality as seen from legal agreements between the governments of our nations.

Also, I see no problems continuing a fansub in non-English languages, if the only intended area of release is North America. Since Last Exile's licensed for North America, why not sub it in Spanish? You won't be hurting the English-language market, which is all (historically) Pioneer puts on their DVDs.

That doesn't mean that copyright laws don't need corrected (I'm all for limiting US copyrights to 40 years; that would also make Astro Boy public domain, but that's beside the point..)
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AchtungAffen



Joined: 11 Jun 2003
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Location: Sur, paredón y después
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:00 pm Reply with quote
Tempest wrote:
AchtungAffen wrote:
Tempest wrote:
No, the issue here isn't just Anime Junkies, but nor is it "fansubbing in general. It's Unethical Fansubers as exemplified by Anime Junkies fansubs of licensed titles and their extremely rude behaviour.


And that is the biggest hypocrisy I ever heard. Its unethical to fansub an 'american licensed' title, but its not unethical to override the copyrights of the original author... just because it hurts the industry in america is a crime, but if it hurts only that of japan its ok??? How's this?


Many people accept that there is pretty much no market in North America for untranslated Japanese animation. So the arguement generally used to rationalyze fansubbing is that it doesn't hurt the Japanese producer or an American licensor as long as certain guidelines are followed.

This is why many in the industry itself don't mind fansubing (provided again that guidelines are followed). Many Japanese producers have in fact given their support to fansubs (the creators of ROD for example).

Still, technicaly it remains illegal, and if you feel that Fansubs are wrong under any circumstance, that's an opinion I can respect.

The point of this thread is to discuss when and how fansubs are ethical, and when they are not.


So the question is "When is crime ethical?".

Well as I said before, I find unethical that they sell their fansubs, but on the rest not. Why? Because of justice. It isn't just that I have to stick with a bad licensed copy instead of a fansub, ergo, unethical that I have to take that. (if there's any justice in fansubs, because its a crime after all).

About the 'english language', if you want to make a universal guideline, then I suggest you change 'english' for something like 'any language that is not japanese'. Because if not it will only be a guideline for english fansubs.

But hell yes, Fansubs should compete with licensed. Why? Because if there's no competition, then why should the licensers do a good job that's worth the money? Each title is a monopoly then (unless diferent licensers can release the same title). And say: why the hell should I pay for a dub, when I don't want dubs? And I don't mean dub only, but also dual audio tracks.

Fansubs don't have to suck to be ethical, because they would still suck. What's wrong if I release Eva in 350 megs, 530*3xx, 192kbits AC3 sound with a revised translation? Is it unethical that ADV would have to make a better job (in that case, apply to all fansub vs licensed) to earn their bucks? Licensers have to do something to make their products worth purchasing, if not, its ok for fansubs to be great quality and all. I'm not a conformist, and I don't wanna be. I want them to work if they want my bucks (which they won't see either way, because I WONT PAY A DUB, and I WONT PAY 200 bucks for a DVD).

Or what happens when, for example Utena, a long series is released in 2 eps per disc (not sure if Utena is the case)? Its a load of money, wich is unjust for me to pay, more considering there are so nice Utena (or whatever fansub may be the case) fansubs floating around for free.

If not, what? Crime is ethical as long as it doesn't hurt the 'legal' criminals? In any case it should be 'fight fire with fire'. Fansubs don't have to be an innocent piece of crap, they have to be a threat to these suckas, so they release better products. The law of capitalism is also the law of the jungle.

In any case, as long as I think I'm doing a better job than the licensers, I will move forward. A better industry is not a profitable industry, but a better industry is one that produces good products and makes profit from them. With conformism you'll only get a crappy industry wich will make good bucks and bad products.
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AchtungAffen



Joined: 11 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:02 pm Reply with quote
Cookie wrote:
Well, your country might differ on its domestic laws...
... but your country does respect Japanese copyright law, since they've signed the Berne Convention.


I don't mean my country! There are no licensers here!! Everything here is fansubs, what you dl and what you buy! But I don't buy a single thing because I wont make greedy fansubers bellies grow bigger.
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Tempest
ANN Publisher & CEO


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:15 pm Reply with quote
AchtungAffen wrote:
If not, what? Crime is ethical as long as it doesn't hurt the 'legal' criminals? In any case it should be 'fight fire with fire'. Fansubs don't have to be an innocent piece of crap, they have to be a threat to these suckas, so they release better products. The law of capitalism is also the law of the jungle.

In any case, as long as I think I'm doing a better job than the licensers, I will move forward. A better industry is not a profitable industry, but a better industry is one that produces good products and makes profit from them. With conformism you'll only get a crappy industry wich will make good bucks and bad products.


You're pretty damn greedy aren't you?

Anyways, what you're talking about are bootlegs, not fansubs, and I fully support the industry in shutting down bootleggers and suing their balls into poverty. Smile
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Kaorimoch



Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:32 pm Reply with quote
I have to agree with subbing old series. I did Akage No Anne a few months ago and it was a very rewarding series to do. It was released in Japan 20+ years ago and was a forgotten title. There are quite a number of forgotten titles out there.
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radicaledward



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 9:19 pm Reply with quote
AchtungAffen wrote:

So, if its American-licensed is a sin... but if its licensed somewhere else it isnt???? What is this? Only its a law when its an 'American' law?


I just wanted to point out real quick that most of the larger fansub groups are North American (Primarly in the States) to the ethical code was writen for that target audience. However, if you live in a different country just replace one country name with another, and the code still reads the same. Try not to be so quick to take offence Very Happy
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mufurc



Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 612
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 8:22 am Reply with quote
Cookie wrote:

Also, I see no problems continuing a fansub in non-English languages, if the only intended area of release is North America. Since Last Exile's licensed for North America, why not sub it in Spanish? You won't be hurting the English-language market, which is all (historically) Pioneer puts on their DVDs.

Because there are not THAT many translators around. In most countries (but at least in my country) anime fandom is not old enough to have anime fans who are fluent in Japanese. (I know only two people who like anime and speak Japanese well enough to translate. Not to mention the "fandom" means 300 people at most...) If these two people don't like Last Exile, they won't translate it. However, let's say there's a translator in another country who LIKES Last Exile, and is willing to translate it... Wouldn't it be much, much easier to translate it into a language everyone can understand (English)?

Cookie wrote:

Well, your country might differ on its domestic laws...
... but your country does respect Japanese copyright law, since they've signed the Berne Convention.

Japanese companies don't seem to mind fansubs... Anyway, I'd really like to press one fact: that it's very easy for Americans to talk about why fansubs are unethical. After all, you can buy anime, manga or even Japanese CDs/DVDs/etc. in your local Japanese bookstores; if you don't buy something, you can see it in your local anime club; you can see preview for it on anime cons, where you can also buy doujinshi and stuff; etc.

In many countries, there's NOTHING like those above. No local Japanese bookstore, maybe there isn't one in the whole country. No local anime club that shows movies, series, etc., only a loose group of friends who like to come together and talk about anime, among other things. No anime cons. Worse currency -> American releases costs twice as much as for Americans (plus shipping fees are higher). Many people don't have enough money to have credit card that can be used on the Internet (at least here it takes a LOT of money to get one of those).

What do you expect people living in those countries to do? They can only turn to fansubs. We can argue about ethical and unethical fansubs, but the sad fact is that even if they're not ethical in the US, people around the world still NEED them, because they're their only source of anime. We're not greedy or anything - we have no other choice! So if we're talking about ethics, I'd really like people to consider why would it be fair that people in other countries should be deprived of anime just because it's available for people in North America.

Btw, in places like where I live, fansubs DO help popularizing anime, and don't hurt the English market, since those who can afford it will buy US releases. But the fandom is too small, so there's no market for anime here. However, if we "spread the word" with the help of fansubs, we will (sooner or later) reach the point where there WILL be a market, and compaines will invest in anime, and release it here, on the native language, so we won't have to download fansubs anymore. Clearly, the US is past this point, but other places need to "catch up," and in my opinion, fansubs are vital to reach this goal.

radicaledward wrote:

I just wanted to point out real quick that most of the larger fansub groups are North American (Primarly in the States) to the ethical code was writen for that target audience.

Fansub groups usually DO stop translating and distributing titles once they become licensed in the US - much to our (foreigners) chagrin. (Where's LoGH? Where's Super Gals? *sigh*) There are only very few groups (in fact, I know only of AJ) that behave like a fansubbing company and think they own the rights to the anime they sub.

By the way... I don't know just how much fansubs affect DVD sales in North America. As I see, they don't hurt the English market too much - those who really love a series will surely invest money in it, and those who don't buy DVDs, wouldn't buy them anyway - they'd just copy them, or rent them, or something.

So I really question the strictness of the "ethical codes," especially as fansubbers are not responsible for the people who dowload their stuff. I think more general rules would be much better. Like:

1) sub it, but if it becomes licensed in your area, stop subbing and distributing, or give the project over to a group that's not in your country. - This way it remains open to people who have no access to US releases; also, the fansubbers themselves can come clear: they did what they had to do. The rest is up to other people who either do or don't continue downloading.
2) don't encode in ultra super high quality, so you won't tempt people not to buy DVDs. - Not to mention 2 episodes/CDR is just as unjust as 2 episodes/DVD... many people can't play them on their computers, and CDRs cost money, too.
3) don't sell your fansubs. - Obvious.
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LordRobin



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 10:00 am Reply with quote
What I'm reading from many of the non-US anime fans is that they think that fansubs should not cease to be distributed just because there's a US license, because there's no license in their country.

(Please forgive me if I misunderstand. I haven't had anywhere near the time to read through all the insanely lengthy replies in this thread, so I've been skimming.)

I'm sorry, but that won't work. The current ethical guidelines were instituted to keep fansubbers from coming into conflict with US anime companies. We can talk all we want about what's right and what's moral, and I certainly want to see such goals pursued, but the core reason for the code has always been to avoid a lawsuit.

If fansubbers continue to distribute licensed titles, eventually there will be a lawsuit. And it won't be a defense to say "Your honor, I was only trying to help out my disadvantaged brethren in South America and Europe."

Non-US fans are just going to have to accept that US-made, English-language fansubs are primarily for American fans, and that it's a bonus that they can get them too. Is this fair? Of course not! But it's the way it is.

------RM
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ÄlveKatt



Joined: 10 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 10:54 am Reply with quote
Your ethical thinking is so onesided.

What about the arguement about competition? A very valid one if you ask me. Just look at the shoe inustry for a good example. By silent agreement they only make shoes that will last one year at most before they quite littarary fall apart. And yes, it was more expensive to research materials that break after a certain amount of tear, but they still make more money as you need to renew your shoes every other year. With a digital medium like this one have a unique ability to compete with the companies, forcing them to produce something of alot higher quality if they want to sell.

The point is that the companies most often have very little ethics about giving you a highquality product. In the case of anime fansubbing is one very good way to force them to give us our money worth.

The copyright laws seem to be all about giving the company more money and haveing the consumer give money for their products no matter how crappy those products are.

Democracy means rule of the people. But if the peole only stand and look on with empty eyes you don't have democracy. Democracy actually requires some effort from the people.
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mufurc



Joined: 09 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 11:35 am Reply with quote
LordRobin wrote:
What I'm reading from many of the non-US anime fans is that they think that fansubs should not cease to be distributed just because there's a US license, because there's no license in their country.

Well, we'd certainly like it... ^^;; But no no no, that's not what I was talking about. Maybe I wasn't clear enough... I completely agree that American fansubbers shouldn't translate (to English) anime that's already licensed in the US. What I was arguing against with the "no license here" argument are the following two points:
The main purpose of fansubs is to allow English-language fans access to obscure anime they would never see otherwise. (since we would've no access not only to obscure anime, but to any anime, if it wasn't for fansubs)
and
Because of the speed at which new series are picked up, it should be assumed that a new series *will* be picked up. Therefore only the first 4 or 5 episodes should be fansubbed in order to give a taste of the anime. (roughly the same as viewing the first DVD release)

What I was trying to say is that it would be more.... well, fair towards foreign fans if, when fansubbers pick up a title (any title as long as it's not licensed), they would continue to translate it until a company officially announces a license. THEN they should stop translating it and distributing it (as they all do, except for a few groups).

Furthermore, I was speculating whether it would be a solution to the how-foreign-fans-could-see-US-licensed-anime problem if a non-American group would translate US licensed anime to English... but that's pure speculation. As I said before, I don't know the legal background of this, and I certainly don't want to find it out in court.

ÄlveKatt wrote:
The point is that the companies most often have very little ethics about giving you a highquality product. In the case of anime fansubbing is one very good way to force them to give us our money worth.

I agree with this. Since I don't buy anime (I buy manga), I don't know what the norm is in US DVD releases, but my friend has recently bought the Macross Plus movie DVD. Ugly cover, uninteresting extras, etc. Yes, the sound and picture quality is good, but this alone isn't worth buying it, no matter how much I love it - because a good quality fansub has only slightly worse sound and picture, and it's free. If the DVD had better cover, more interesting extras, etc, etc, I'd certainly would buy it. But this way, one feels like paying for a fansub. Same with those releases that come 2-3 eps/disc. It's ripping people off, no matter if the visuals are hyper-high quality, or the disc has great extras. Not to mention there are titles that have been licensed, but have never seen the daylight in the US...


Last edited by mufurc on Thu Jun 12, 2003 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kapool



Joined: 09 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 12:15 pm Reply with quote
Since many are balking at this attempt to revise the ethics code, maybe we should discuss why an ethics code is needed at all? Comments, particularly from fans outside of the U.S. seem to indicate that even the current ethics code is burdensome.

The purpose of the ethics code is essentially is try and convince the owner of an Anime not to sue the fansubber. It's not an acknowledgement of right or wrong, but an informal agreement between anime fans and anime companies to ignore each other and everything with be fine, anime fans will be happier and anime companies will sell more product. As part of this agreement, it was said that when a company bought the license to an anime in it's region, that the fansubber would stop distributing that particular anime in that region. No contract was ever signed but it was through a sort of consensus in anime society that the agreement was made and it would be through this social fabric that the agreement would be enforced.

Things have changed a lot.

The internet has broken down the boundries so that it is impossible to stop distribution to one country. Also, anime fandom has grown and diversified so much that the social framework of anime fans can't enforce the ethics code any longer. (which is why AJ can be so popular outside the ethics code)

So, what to do?

Should we even bother with an ethics code at all?

If so, do we need to create a new code to reflect the new situation?

Can the anime community as a whole come to an agreement on a new code?

Can the commerical anime companies have faith in this ethics code and trust the fans community?

There is a lot to discuss.

Here is my opinion. Yes, the new situation with the internet and digital fansubs means that the old ethic code can't work and is otherwise unenforcable. The anime community will never come to a consensus on a new agreement, so fansubbers that want an ethics code will have to come up with it one their own and separate themselves from the other fans and try and convince the Anime companies that "at least you can trust us"
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Laughing Hyena



Joined: 11 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 3:17 pm Reply with quote
Interesting point, Kapool.

I think that VHS fansubbers still and will follow the old code as they have always done.
But there should be a code for digisubbers who happen to be on the rise now.

As for people of other counties, it's probably best to have fansubs on sites that Americans can't read themselves. VHS Fansubbers could also make a title unavailable to American fans if it gets licensed here and still available to people from other countries that have no license. I don't know how this would work with Digisubbers though.

As for the few going about, "you have no idea because your not a fansubber". While I'm not a fansubber, I am a manga scanner. And gives good reason why I was into the whole script idea. As for thinking people copying your work: People copy other fanfictions on Fanfiction.Net and it happens rarely and yet it doesn't stop people from writing fanfics. You can also give scripts to those who ask for it by e-mail who you know well. Heck, I give out my manga scans to people I know as well.
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mufurc



Joined: 09 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 7:55 pm Reply with quote
Ah, the "good old times" when anime was subbed on VHS, and all the good fansubbers followed the code... I remember groups asking for ridiculously high amount of money for tapes or putting 1-2 episodes on a tape... there were (are) groups and individuals selling VHS fansubs, along with copies of official releases... etc. And I remember people BUYING them instead of buying the official videos. So I think it's quite a bit of hypocrisy to say that those who fansub to VHS or support VHS subs are ethical and fully understand the nature of fansubbing while digisubbers and digisub downloaders aren't.

Anyway, I think there's no need for a new "ethical code"... the old, unwritten one works just as well today as it did before. I mean, was there such a great uproar against fansubs before this AJ incident? No (at least I don't know about it). And why not? Because fansubbers usually DO stop subbing and distributing titles when they get licensed. And even now, as I see, it's only the anime community that's in such upheaval. After all, AJ wasn't sued or anything, as far as I know.

But even if there was a new, written ethical code, it wouldn't be enforcable - as the old one isn't enforcable either. Fansubbers either already abide by it or not - it has always been so, and it'll always be so, and it can't be helped. People either abide by rules or don't, but unless you have something very strong and/or scary enforcing your point, you can't do anything against those who break the rules, especially if the rules are unwritten.

However, it's not only fansubbers' fault that fansubber groups like AJ can exist and give bad name to the whole fansubbing "business." It's because there are people who download from them. And as long as there will be people who say "I don't care if the translation is bad and the picture is lagging behind the sound, I don't care that they fansub licensed anime - they're fast, and I NEED MY FIX NOW!", groups like these will continue to exist. As I already said, if anything, there should be an ethical code for downloaders (that wouldn't be enforcable either, but I guess it'd give many people a warm and fuzzy feeling). You think that a fansubber groups is doing something that's unethical by your standards? Start a boycott against them (this is what's happening to AJ - what WOULD happen to AJ, if people weren't so damn impatient... ah well). Otherwise nothing will happen, unless someone sues them.

Eek, I'm going OT again...

The problem with VHS fansubs: too troublesome. You have to find the right people, you have to know who are reliable and who aren't. Then, tapes are expensive to ship, and packages may disappear on their journey from one end of the world to the other... Also, tapes lose picture/sound quality after a few viewings. Not to mention there's no chance for previews - you have to fly blind with anime, losing precious money in the process. Digisubs are much more accessible, much more easy to deal with. No, I still don't know how the digisub-US license-other places problem should be solved, but I know VHS fansubs wouldn't help out.

...over and out.
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