GDH Int'l Head Condemns Illegal Anime Distribution

posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
Describes it as industry's "biggest global threat" in ActiveAnime talk posted an interview with Arthur Smith, the president of G.D.H. International, in which he strongly condemns fansubbing and illegal sharing of anime online. G.D.H. is the parent company of the animation studio Gonzo (Afro Samurai, Last Exile, Yukikaze) and the game company Gonzo Rosso (Knight Online, The Tower of Druaga: The Recovery of BABYLIM). "Viewing fan subbed versions before official release is not different from smashing the window of a Mac Store and taking an iPhone the day before it is released," he said. Smith then stated that fansubs are hurting the anime industry both in Japan and in the United States. According to the interview, because of the decrease in DVD sales caused by fansubs, G.D.H. has had to lower production budgets for a number of its current series and limit staff salary increases.

Smith also talked about some of the ways in which G.D.H. has dealt with fansub distributors, such as issuing cease-and-desist letters via its American partners. At the same time, Smith acknowledged that fans are frequently dissatisfied with the long time it often takes for an American company to begin releasing an anime series it has licensed. In response to this, G.D.H. is looking into legal ways of distributing anime online (such as via Apple's iTunes and Microsoft's Xbox Live stores) and into any other possible ways of cutting the wait times.

The differences and similarities between intangible, intellectual property and tangible, physical property have been an ongoing legal controversy. The popularization of the Internet and new copyright legislation in various countries in the last decade have only added more fuel to the debate. While Read or Die director Koji Masunari implied tacit acknowledgment of unauthorized anime distribution in 2002, Sony, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex scriptwriter Yoshiki Sakurai, Media Factory, Gonzo, and Excel Saga director Shinichi Watanabe have spoken or acted against it.

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