Forum - View topic
Answerman - Is It Ethical To Import Anime From Other Countries?


Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Rika Hue



Joined: 19 Dec 2015
Posts: 147
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm Reply with quote
UK...US..Australia...etc...

I'm not from one of those, and here at this corner of the pond we don't have a 'domestic anime market' (sadness).

However, I have a region 2 player, so I can play UK discs just fine (and some funi blu rays before they got smart about their As and Bs). I bought a couple of anime releases from Amazon UK, but my latest dvd I imported through a local online retailer. It was an Animatsu release. On the disc it stated 'NOT FOR SALE OUTSIDE UK OR IRELAND' haha oops.

But since the local online retailer must have a distributor, this could be like the case of the publisher selling the dvds to an online retailer and them selling it to whoever.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
thekingsdinner



Joined: 25 Sep 2010
Posts: 865
Location: Terheijden, Netherlands
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:07 pm Reply with quote
I've already imported so many shows I've never seen the harm in importing. I mean, I'm european so I support the UK market more (also because it's usually cheaper), but there are PLENTY of releases that never make it here so I choose to import those. Discotek comes to mind, almost none (if any at all) have made it over here.
At this point I'd say my collection contains about 60% Region 2/B and 40% Region 1/A.

Also the retailer I most commonly buy from, Archonia, imports on their own. The price isn't always great but it's still an appreciative effort. I'm awaiting Rinne Season 2 at the moment.


Last edited by thekingsdinner on Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger My Anime My Manga
nagpo



Joined: 30 Dec 2015
Posts: 133
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:07 pm Reply with quote
The question itself is nonsensical. Ethics =/= Legality. It doesn't matter if it's "ethically" right to do something, all that matters is that it's legal to do so and it is.

A few other interesting things about the article

" And those discs are important and do add to the bottom line, but the revenue from those is lower (in part because the discs are cheaper) and is received indirectly. "

From my understanding, and I'm by no means an expert, the japanese studios get barely any of the revenue generated by licensed DVD/BD sales in other regions. When people say you're supporting the industry by buying from Funi or whatever, it's not entirely accurate, you're supporting the american anime market but the japanese studios barely see any of it.

"but as consumers we'd never know, and frankly it's none of our business."
I don't understand this attitude. The question had nothing to do with things being "our business" so why add this bit in?

" It IS slightly better for them if you buy your own country's anime goods, simply because they'll have better data of what products work in each territory. "

Really? One would think that they'd be able to collect data more easily without using a middle man.

Overall a good article
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Psycho 101
Moderator


Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 15102
Location: Inn of the Last Home
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:17 pm Reply with quote
nagpo wrote:
The question itself is nonsensical. Ethics =/= Legality. It doesn't matter if it's "ethically" right to do something, all that matters is that it's legal to do so and it is.

I do agree that ethics does not equal legality. However, for many the ethics and morality of doing it does in fact matter. Goes back to the notion of "just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do it". Now I am not saying whether importing anime discs in this case is or is not ethically sound or not. I am simply saying that for many people the ethics do in fact matter so that question is not nonsensical.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Just Passing Through



Joined: 04 Apr 2011
Posts: 261
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:43 pm Reply with quote
You're arguing ethics and morality over consumer goods. Governments don't work that way in a global market, why should consumers? If it is a legitimately licenced and produced product, who cares where it's made?

With anime, there are three tiers for me. Titles that I can't get in the UK at all. Titles that were released here, but were so borked that I had to import to get a playable version (there are a lot of those given some of the shoddy authoring companies like Manga and Kaze have inflicted on us in the past). Titles that are just cheaper to import.

It's not undercutting a local distro by importing, they should have released a better, more competitive product. Sony's US release of Metropolis (BD-R) probably boosted Eureka Entertainment's sales. Anchor Bay's GITSSAC probably boosted the S Korean economy a tad. That's business.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ultimatemegax



Joined: 26 Jan 2010
Posts: 412
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:44 pm Reply with quote
nagpo wrote:
" And those discs are important and do add to the bottom line, but the revenue from those is lower (in part because the discs are cheaper) and is received indirectly. "

From my understanding, and I'm by no means an expert, the japanese studios get barely any of the revenue generated by licensed DVD/BD sales in other regions. When people say you're supporting the industry by buying from Funi or whatever, it's not entirely accurate, you're supporting the american anime market but the japanese studios barely see any of it.


The revenue from international rights gets spread to the companies that financially invested in production of the series according to how contracts were drawn up. These were the companies who gave the money for the animation to be produced. As such, these "studios" do get revenue generated by licensed DVD/BD sales or streaming views. You are supporting the industry beyond the localized market because they have to give back royalties after meeting the minimum guarantee on royalties.

If you're talking about the "animators", then direct your concerns to the animation production studios who refuse to financially invest in their products or choose to pay by the cut instead of paying per salary and properly scheduling productions. Those ones are the companies who won't receive anything, much less anything from international sales, but that was their choice and we cannot do anything about it.

nagpo wrote:
"but as consumers we'd never know, and frankly it's none of our business."
I don't understand this attitude. The question had nothing to do with things being "our business" so why add this bit in?


The reason why people say "it's none of our business" is because it truly is. We're not financially invested in these productions; the businesses who sell these releases are the ones who care about it. Our role is to support what we like to pay back the ones who financially invested in creating it. That's legal streaming, legal DVD/BD buying, etc. We're not going to go bankrupt if things don't work out, the companies who finance this will. That's why it's not our business. If we were financially invested in it, then maybe we'd

nagpo wrote:
" " It IS slightly better for them if you buy your own country's anime goods, simply because they'll have better data of what products work in each territory. "

Really? One would think that they'd be able to collect data more easily without using a middle man.
The best records are what people show financial support of. That's what they believe in most. You can poll all you want, but it won't give an accurate result of what's successful or not.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
invalidname
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 2073
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:44 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
But in a landmark 2013 case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the Supreme Court declared that imports were OK if they were legally licensed to begin with. In other words, §602(a) would make importing Chinese bootlegs illegal, but not properly licensed discs.

Thanks for this… it answers something I remember being unresolved from ages ago. (sidetrack, sorry, but I think it's germane to the law here) Until like 1987, there were no compact disc plants in the US, so everything had to be manufactured in Japan, the UK, or West Germany (yes, kids, there used to be a "West" Germany. "East" too. Go watch Schwarzesmarken). That meant it was really hard to keep CDs in stock if a title took off. In 1985, Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms was a sensation because of the "Money For Nothing" video and Live Aid, and because it was one of the first full-digital rock CDs. But Warner Bros had only made a handful of CDs for the US because the band hadn't been popular here. So it was impossible to find in US record stores, at the height of its popularity. So Tower Records, which had stores all over the world, started importing CDs from their UK division to sell in their US stores. Warners sued Tower, because the UK release was on Vertigo Records, so WB was missing out on sales (except that they couldn't actually supply product to stores… I guess they expected fans to wait a few months for discs to come in from overseas). It seems like Kirtsaeng makes it clear that Tower was in the right here, as they legally obtained their stock in the UK, and were free to sell it as they pleased.

Same thing with the same anime being licensed by different companies in different countries. Like, when Zac and Jake bought A Silent Voice off iTunes UK, that's one sale the US distributor won't get (of course too bad so sad, maybe if someone had licensed and released the movie here first, that wouldn't be a problem).


Last edited by invalidname on Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mglittlerobin



Joined: 28 Aug 2008
Posts: 1070
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:52 pm Reply with quote
I imported the Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2014 DVDs from the UK, if it was ethically wrong, I don't think Amazon UK would have shipped them to me, it might say "Not for sale outside of X" country, but I don't think online stores care that much unless it's like CD Japan when they stopped letting you buy Yuri On Ice and then CD that Japan did that "work around" so they could still sell those items overseas.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
angelmcazares



Joined: 23 Sep 2010
Posts: 4637
Location: Iscandar
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:54 pm Reply with quote
When I saw this question my first thought was about R1 costumers importing UK and Australian releases as a way to avoid Aniplex USA's expensive releases. I prefer buying U.S. releases, even AoA, because it seems too much of a hassle to get a region free player, and I don't mind paying for expensive discs; it is not as if I buy more than 4-5 AoA or PCUSA releases per year.

The only thing I am considering importing is the Australian DVD release of Monster. I am still waiting for Discotek or another R1 publisher to rescue it and do what Viz never did: be professional and release all 74 episodes, not just 15. If I go the import route, it is good to know that it is not considered illegal.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
chronos02



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 236
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:14 pm Reply with quote
Importing goods, in and of itself, is not unethical. Legality has no issue here.

In regards to the Japanese licence holders not perceiving much off of the licencing deals, that is absurd. They do receive quite a lot, but usually as a huge upfront payment, though it all depends on the conditions they thought of for every business deal regarding their licences. Each contract would normally include three main ways to perceive income:

1. An upfront payment by the interested part
2. A fraction of the profits/income from the disc sales and related media (DVD, BD, Online dl, etc.)
3. A fraction of the profits/income from stipulated merchandise.

2 and 3 are hard to track, since it means the licence holder in X country needs to calculate that amount and comunicate it correctly, which, being frank, usually isn't done very well and there are plenty of disputes afterwards regarding wether or not the amount of money sent to the japanese holder of the licence is the correct one or if it is below the actual number that should be sent. This being the case, they usually charge a huge amount first and hope to keep getting more in the future. Still, the future looks better in this department, since now it is possible to keep track of the sales in real time from anywhere in the world (that we consumers can't is unrelated), it will be possible to bring more anime without those huge investments, and instead giving better dels in terms of sales revenue for the japanese licence holders (I doubt the initial payment disappears, but who knows.).

As for that legality, at least in the EU, it is banned to import bootleg goods, and if cought, not only will the goods be confiscated (probably incinerated), but you will also get to have your name added into a list that keeps track of people that import illegal goods (it only means they will keep a close eye to your imports, there are no actual repercussions). In some rare cases, you will get charged an inhumane duty import tax (between 300% of the goods (shipping included) and up to 1200%, but you'll be able to keep the imported item, if you don't pay, the items get immeditaely incinerated and in some rare cases, returned (if they came from a private sender and not a company). It's fun how they love to incinerate stuff, reminds me of Fate/GO.

As for me, I only import Japanese discs. They are insanely expensive, but the video and sound quality goes beyond the EU releases, not to mention the packaging and extra goods. I remember buying a 30€ DVD of GITS (Mamoru Oshii) in a special steel case... well, the disc didn't work (movie stopped playing after 5 min...), the case got scratched very easily, and the "extras" were made of one of those stupid "image galleries" which were screenshots form the movie... Also, the quality fo the DVD itself was horrible, the sides were incredibly sharp and I almost cut myself more than twice, since the case also held the disc in a way that was absurdly hard to remove. And this extends to pretty much every single release I have purchased in the EU, and some from the US (that .hack//SIGN collector's edition with some dumb pins and a lot of empty space within the box, and it was almost 80€). My last purchase was the BD edition of Madoka Magica, and it was very bare bones, but it still went for almost 30€ for 3 episodes... it was a chance I gave to the local publishers but... no thank you, there's almost no effort put into these editions, the extras are sad, and the collector's editions are only in name.
Maybe I got spoiled by the Japanese releases, but even their normal editions are bounds and leaps better than our collector editions.

I'd support the local publishers, but only if they sold stuff that could compare to the Japanese counterpart, otherwise, why bother? Why must I suffer through their bad releases until they become better at their craft? Why can't they commission the design of the boxes and goods to the Japanese licence holder so it's similar to the Japanese release? (The Japanese being scared of reverse imports? Think of a solution then) Being blunt, I do not care one bit about the publishers other than the Japanese, the reason being, they only licence stuff and try to make a profit off of it, they never make original content, and the few times they tried, they failed so hard it hurt...

I don't know where the solution lies, but for now, I'll keep importing stuff and buying the rare good release they might do here.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SpacemanHardy



Joined: 03 Jan 2012
Posts: 2449
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:37 pm Reply with quote
I own a region free player myself, and I have absolutely NO problem importing Aniplex titles from the UK. The prices are often one-third of what AoA charges over here.

Henry Goto will have to pry my money from my cold, dead fingers.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
DmonHiro



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 3278
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:38 pm Reply with quote
I have long since discarded any ethics regarding anime watching. Do I have a few Japanese Blurays? Sure. But that was only because I really wanted those Madoka BDs on my shelf. Other then situations like that though, I'm just goona watch my anime and let other worry about ethics,
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kruszer



Joined: 19 Nov 2004
Posts: 7880
Location: Minnesota, USA
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:39 pm Reply with quote
Very helpful article. I've occasionally wondered this myself since I've imported legal DVDs from the UK and Australia as well as Blu-ray from Japan.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
CatSword



Joined: 01 Jul 2014
Posts: 1319
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:41 pm Reply with quote
I've got a number of releases I'd like to import from the UK (Kill la Kill, Madoka Magica, Monogatari, The Tatami Galaxy). What a surprise that three of them are because AoA's releases are overpriced and insane. Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
DJStarstryker



Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 138
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:47 pm Reply with quote
I agree with others that I don't see where ethics enters into the equation. As long as it's a legal copy, I don't see that it matters that much.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to import a copy of something from another region.

- It doesn't ever come out in your region.
- It came out in the other region first and/or you weren't sure if it would ever come out in your region.
- The other region one is better (video and/or audio quality, extras).
- The other region one is cheaper.

I do wonder where people think ethics come into play especially for the never think it's going to be released thing. I have the Japanese Gosick BluRays, and got them a few years ago, back before we thought it would ever be released officially in the US. It's released in the US *now*, but it's 1) only out on DVD, not BluRay, and 2) it doesn't include all of the extras my Japanese set does anyway.

Are there people who think I should "have to" buy the US Gosick release from an ethical standpoint? Even if the only benefit I get is the English subs - in every other way it's less good? Even though my set is a legit Gosick set also? Probably.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 1 of 4

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group