Tokyo Anime Center's Kubo Offers Proposal on Fansubs (Updated)
posted on by Egan Loo
The Japanese government's Task Force on Media Content Business and Japanese Brands published the fourth series of proposals from its content-planning working group on February 1. The proposals discussed "a comprehensive policy for promoting content in the digital age" — particularly, how to eventually legalize the content on Nico Nico Douga, YouTube, and other video-sharing sites. The working group suggested that it may be necessary to approach the illegal uploaders directly, so that Japan can formally approve these sites.
One of the committee members, Tokyo Anime Center executive producer Masakazu Kubo, submitted a document that dealt with three specific issues, including fansubbers. Kubo is the executive producer of the Pokémon anime franchise and the director of Shogakukan's Character Business Center. He is also involved with the Tokyo International Film Festival, the Tokyo International Anime Fair, and China's Beijing Film Academy. The business news website Bloomberg.com recently quoted Kubo in an article about the manga industry. The second of three sections in Kubo's document is translated below:
2) Dealing with Fansubs (Fun-Subtitle) and Other "P to P" Pirated Copies (*1)Because "Fansubs" are works, such as television animation, on which fans have added subtitles, they are usually made without authorization. Currently, 6 million copies of illegal, English-subtitled Japanese animated videos are said to be downloaded from BitTorrent each week (http://animeanime.jp/biz/archives/2007/12/bittorrent600.html). This has affected the DVD sales of Japanese animation in North America, which have dropped dramatically. As a result, the overseas prices for animation programs have fallen considerably. After the April 2008 television program schedules [in Japan] are laid out (*2), the drop in the number of animated programs will be clearly seen. In short, the Japanese animation business has fallen into a great crisis.
About 10 fans (whose translation abilities are high compared to professionals!) (*3) are said to put animated videos with foreign-language subtitles on YouTube, BitTorrent, and other file-sharing sites. If our country is to formally deal with YouTube and other services, it will be necessary to have some sort of approach to dealing with these individuals. Personally, I hope to resolve this by officially making use of their abilities.
*1 The "Fun-Subtitle" spelling is in the original document. "P to P" refers to peer-to-peer file-sharing.
*2 April is the beginning of the financial and academic year in Japan, so usually, more television series premiere in this month than in any other month.
*3 The exclamation point is in the original document.
Source: Mainichi Communications' MyCom Journal
Thank you to enjin2000 for the news tip and to dormcat for research.
Update: Corrected the translation for "personally" in the last sentence. Thanks, zalas.