Fansubs and YOU: A greater look into the legality of fansubs, aka Yes this is a followup to my earlier article.

August 27, 2006 at 5:00 pm 26 comments


I’ll be the first fan to say it. Fansubs are technically illegal, according to the Berne Convention. And by downloading fansubs, I have no grounds to complain if I were to get caught. It has been spelt out in black and white, and I chose to not follow it. If I were to get thrown in jail and get assraped, then I fully deserve all 1500 inches of hard, sexually-frustrated prisoner cock. If I were to get that much cock in my stay in the local penetiary, that is.

Here’s the thing. Most, if not all, of the anime you are seeing comes from Japan, right? And these series have a source material that comes from, right? And the source material has a creator, right? Would you be so evil as to rob the creator of the series you are watching his just dues for the years put into creating his little baby? I hopefully think that all of my readers aren’t that evil.

In a way, fansubs are like that. Even though most fansubbers mean well. And the Japanese sure know it. Though if the creator were to politely ask the fansubbers to stop doing it, this is where the fansub community splits.

In one corner, we have the ethical fansubbers, who would very nicely stop, or, if they’re about to finish it, ask very nicely to let them finish subbing the series before pulling it off the Internets for approximately 2 weeks before we see it pop up on Tokyotosho again.

In the other corner, we have fagsubbers, people who would spit in the face of the creator, hurl expletives, beat the fool up, rob him/her of his/her worldly possessions, and if they are feeling particularly evil, kill the creator, rape his/her significant other/Real Doll/hugpillow/dog/cat/pencil/still warm buttcrack/whathaveyou and ebay off the stolen goods. OK, so maybe I’m overly embellishing it, but these fagsubbers, while they claim to be promoting anime by saying it is more ‘pure’ and shit, what they are are just shameless pirates who want their shit free. Sorry to drop the bomb on you fucknuts, but you didn’t even participate in the creation of the series. Therefore when a nice letter comes into your mailbox telling you rather nicely to drop the series you are subbing, YOU’D FUCKING BETTER. If I see another AnimeJunkies incident… … … you all had better take self-defense lessons and hope I don’t come to kick your ass.

For all of you still following, here’s a summary: Fansubs are ILLEGAL, according to the Berne Convention, and fansubbers can be split into two groups: the ethical fansubbers, and the fagsubbers.

Most fansubbers, I believe, are doing a fine job in upholding the unwritten rules of fansubbing. Only sub unlicensed shows, drop the show when licensed, the like. Only a few bad apples and their rabid fanbases spoil the otherwise benign existence of fansubbers. I should know. I know people who haughtily proclaim fansubs are better than the domestic releases. (No they are not, you stupid gits.) And yet, it is these bad apples that are forcing the COMPANIES(I have avoided using the dreaded word in this article for quite a while) to change the rules of the game. in fact, it is the COMPANIES themselves who have tolerated the fansubbers for a very long time when they could have slipped a little ‘donation’ into a Senatorial/Presidential candidate’s campaign fund to ‘use’ the police/FBI/CIA to arrest them fansubbers. I use the word ‘tolerate’ because fansubbers are, ironically, important to the anime industry AS A WHOLE. And why? The Japanese anime industry could sustain itself, theoratically, but the Japanese themselves are a bunch of dirty pirates(then where did the raws come from? Heaven?), and thus, have to rely on FOREIGN MONEY to survive. Fansubs provide a form of advertisment for the FOREIGN COMPANIES to pay for licenses (using said MONEY) for these ‘popular’ shows. Without the FOREIGN MONEY, there would be NO ANIME, so to speak. Ergo, in this case, fansubs DO hurt sales. Even for popular ones. Because a good portion of the community are dirty pirates.

Now I bet you’re thinking: So what? I support the industry by buying the parenphilia they churn out. That’s supporting the industry, right? Again, sorry to drop the bombshell, but you’re so dead WRONG. Animation companies RARELY, if ever, get most of their profits off merchandise. The profits are funneled mostly into the merchandising comapny’s pockets, with royalties being paid off to the creator, and maybe a bit to the animation companies. Sure, they do get the cash from the merch, but it ain’t enough. It won’t be enough to fund their next project. They have to rely on the FOREIGN MONEY that’s coming in to fund their next project, and the only way the animation companies in Japan get more FOREIGN MONEY is that you buy the DVD RELEASES. Yes, they do release DVDs in Japan, buy they’re so HORRIBLY MARKED UP it ain’t funny. Just to recoup some of the costs. Would you pay the equivalent of USD$60 for a 2-episode DVD? Like bloody hell I will.

The only reason I’m downloading fansubs is that I would get to see otherwise unavailable series here. And most of the time, it is unavailable. Please, people, it’s not that hard to buy the domestic release (though ponying up the cash for it IS a different matter altogether), so spare the animation companies in Japan a thought and buy the DVD releases when possible, okay?

And now, for the fags out there who say I am a bloody hypocrite, why yes I am. Being Singaporean instantly makes you a hypocrite. It’s in my damn genes. I can’t help it sometimes.

And to everyone else, thank you, have a nice day, and respect the Berne Convention. If you want to watch more anime. In fact, I highly recommend you do it, for it’s the only way to help the industry (both CREATION and DISTRIBUTION) survive, evolve, and prosper. I’ve done it, and I’m pretty damn happy. Heck, as soon as I have the money, I’ll do it again.

And now, some rather useful insights that have helped shaped the article. Aka I HAEV LINKS.
The press release that started it all.
Certain intelligent discussion on the issue.
The whole AnimeJunkies incident.
Something so well-written and relevant it had to be included. AKA ANN’s take on fansubs.

PS: Hear my podcast debut! Only on Animenano Podcast!

Entry filed under: Anime, editorial.

Bandai and YOU: What it really means f*ck over a fanbase and then go ahead and cause another AnimeJunkies incident. al|together 2006: Hooray doujin visual novels! Hooray for angry Koreans! Hooray for pretentious Brits! Hooray hypocrisy!

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tsubaki  |  August 27, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    Being Singaporean instantly makes you a hypocrite.

    God, you need to be a politician. Love this entry. Here’s a cookie.

    Reply
  • 2. Alvin  |  August 27, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    LOL … i second tsubaki … U need to be a politician

    Reply
  • 3. LianYL  |  August 27, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    I didn’t really get what you were putting across. It sounded rather oxymoronic to me. And you’re on podcast… shit. Does Nasu approve?

    Reply
  • 4. Ronin  |  August 27, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    LOL at the “political” speech. I third it.

    Reply
  • 5. helspectre  |  August 27, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    Maybe if you stop trying to rape me, i’ll agree you’re a hypocrite. So far you’ve been toggling between highly intellectuall and hormonal.

    Reply
  • 6. LianYL  |  August 27, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    Do understand that ODEX anime ARE of lower quality than fansubs. But considering the amount of restrictions they face, it’s forgivable.

    Reply
  • 7. kwok  |  August 28, 2006 at 1:28 am

    haha drm go burn Parliament house down in a fit of unprecedented rage.

    Reply
  • 8. DiGiKerot  |  August 28, 2006 at 1:45 am

    Would you pay the equivalent of USD$60 for a 2-episode DVD?

    Errr, no comment ^^;

    Well, OK, I have on numerous occasions, but then I source the vast majority of my anime from legitimate sources, having a DVD collection spanning four regions (hey, I even imported some Odex releases waaaaaay back).

    That said, I guess the difference for me is that when I started watching anime I had to pay for it to see stuff – even with fansubs there was the cost of VHS tapes and shipping. I’m used to associating a cost value to anime. A lot of modern fans, aside from not earning anything, have only ever seen anime as those funny cartoons they can get for free over the internet. They probably see the current situation the opposite way around from me – that paying 20-30usd for a DVD of four or five episodes is expensive, whereas I still remember paying for VHS tapes only marginally cheaper with half the content ^^;

    Reply
  • 9. omo  |  August 28, 2006 at 2:43 am

    I think I may have some Odex crap too…. Dang. Cheaper to import than R2s at any rate.

    That said, maybe it’s just the Singapore anime scene is finally “merging” with the western, English-language anime scene, but fans back in the early 90s has long, long since concluded fansubs are illegal. It’s only from the late 90s and onward, thanks to the Intarweb, people has once again forgot what they have taken for granted is illegal.

    You can hang your coat on the Berne convention, or the fact that comprehensive copyright laws generally include “translations” solidly in the derivatives work section and derivative works are protected under copyright pretty much in every jurisdiction I know of. The latter is more useful, IMO–as far as the only substantive argument against a legal, fair-use fansub perspective. I don’t think we’re kidding anyone that given how internationally dependent most industries are today copyrights in one country should by all means work in another.

    Maybe I’m just a dirty lawyer wannabe, but all of that has nothing to do if you choose to be a fagsubber or a lesser-fagsubber (ie. normal fansubber). Or even worse, someone who gets all riled up when people disses or champions one fagsubber over another; or complains when a fansubber drops the show they want to watch or being too slow about it; or is unwilling to jump from one group’s release over another. Those people are the real lamers.

    Reply
  • 10. drmchsr0  |  August 28, 2006 at 3:37 am

    whai: Since when did I want to rape you?

    Lian: Correct. But they are trying to promote anime to the masses, so, they deserve a little credit. And yes, Nasu would approve.

    kwok: I think I will get myself lost before even reaching there.

    DiGiKerot: Oh, I know where you are going at, but I know people who earn enough money to buy PSPs and still proclaim fansubs are better than the domestic releases.

    omo: If you look through my archives, I have complained about fansubbers before. But it takes a lot to make me complain about fansubbers. And I do know these lamers IRL. Sad, isn’t it?

    Reply
  • 11. Crayotic Rockwell  |  August 28, 2006 at 6:17 am

    Some of the heavily cultural series are better fansubbed.. but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the official when it’s released.. it’s not like someone can’t train themselves to remember a gag or something.

    But yeah, even though I buy everything I really enjoy, I’ll still want to watch the all the fansubs first, because I don’t–except in very rare cases–purchase anything blind nowdays. Plus I won’t get all the new internet memes if I have to wait a year or two after the fact.

    Reply
  • 12. drmchsr0  |  August 28, 2006 at 8:12 am

    Cray: LOL that’s true.

    Reply
  • 13. Lupus  |  August 28, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    I hate it when people bring up licensing in fansubbing discussions, not because you shouldn’t respect licenses and their legal implications, but because what is licensed in one region might not be licensed in another…

    Reply
  • 14. drmchsr0  |  August 28, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    Lupus: Cross-border litigations, huh. Messy stuff. Well, most of us follow the American licensing list, so… … … … I don’t see too much of a problem.

    Reply
  • 15. DiGiKerot  |  August 29, 2006 at 3:01 am

    The thing is, a lot of the time when a US company licenses something, they are licensing it for the English speaking world and not just the US, even if they don’t have a local distrobutor or any intention of releasing a title there. A lot of the US companies actually sublicense their titles to the UK and Aus and the like.

    Reply
  • 16. Tyrenol  |  August 30, 2006 at 12:36 am

    Even though what you’re saying is right, we’re missing the main point here:

    90% of anime is usually CRAP. The only reason it has a fanbase is mainly because it serves the fans who are either children, teens, or otaku. No actual normal people. Nobody past their 30s.

    I can understand companies like Milky (who make adult anime) dealing with downloading and reverse-importing. But companies like Bandai, ADV, Geneon, et cetera; having such a violent knee-jerk reaction and thereby ticking off the very “fagbase” they’re trying to get money from…

    Anybody remember what happened with Bandai and “Gabbage Seed Destiny?” Jerry Chu, ex-Marketing Manager of Bandai Entertainment, RAN and never looked back. He tried his hardest to make sure that fans weren’t downloading this show. But it turned out to be worse than those kiddie-grade GSD models. (And that says a lot.)

    Note to these companies here and there before you use those planes and start bombing: Quality (of plot and production) before protection. The life you save may be your own.

    Reply
  • 17. Matt Cohen  |  September 19, 2006 at 1:29 am

    Well thought out post. I know it’s a bit late for me to reply found the post through google search. I must say that I am happy some of the titles have been licensed that were originally fansubs. A few that I never thought would be licensed were Girls Bravo, Planetes, and Zipang and I’ve bought all of these so far as it’s nice to own an original copy plus be able to have the extras and the boxset. A few I know may never be released that I have are possibly a bit too unique to Japan, maybe Platonic Chain, Macross Zero, Survive! Uninhabited Planet, flag and some others. It’s really hard to say, I can understand if a company has plans to license the anime in the US soon or sometime in the future but if they have no plans to ever license in the US I would see little harm fansubs would cause those companys. It’s completely understandable for those who are getting out to a international market however.

    Reply
  • 18. Person who's not a dick  |  February 11, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    What an idiot.

    When it gets licenced in one country but not another, people sub it for the unlicenced countries. It’s really up to people to not download it and buy it if it’s available.

    Reply
  • 19. unicogirl  |  May 1, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    TOO many anime fans are spoiled. its rather disappointing.

    Reply
  • 20. Yukka Tree  |  July 18, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    If they can make their video quality and the ability to switch on/off dubs or change to other languages, SGD 30 for 1 DVD is worth.
    Or at least, Purr-lease, make the box nicer in better quality or add extra scenes.

    Reply
  • 21. Val  |  November 5, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    I’m not disagreeing that fansubs aren’t illegal. I do watch fansubs quite often but I buy the DVD release whenever possible.

    Take Bleach, for example. I’ve been following Dattebayo/Flomp Rumbel subs for about a year and a half now, and the anime was only licensed in the UK about two months ago. Today, the first part of the series is released on DVD, and I WILL buy it, it’s a given. HOWEVER, I will continue watching the subs every week, because by the time the TV run/DVDs reach the Heuco Mundo arc, I will proabably be married with a house and kids ^__^;;

    Although £60 for the Azumanga Daioh boxset is a bit much for me O_o;;

    However, I will not settle for DVDs with only the dub track.

    Reply
  • 22. john doe  |  February 22, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    There are no ethical fansubbers…If you have to be “politely” asked to stop doing something illegal then you shouldn’t have been doing it. The fact is you can compare it to the Napster shut down. If I can download something for free then why would I buy it. Therefore the creator loses out on an american market if we are all watching it for free. Fear not, I am not casting a stone because I watch them too but I would not dare call myself “ethical” just because I would stop if I got caught. It doesn’t mean you are “remorseful” it just means you are “sorry” that you got caught. $60 bucks is a drop in the hat compared to what I paid for some of my series which is why I now dowload it. Not to rant but on the subject of “ethical” fansubbers Dattebayo drives me nuts because they are hypocrites. They claim copyright infringement if you post their vids on youtube because they do want “their” videos compressed and chopped. Yet on the website they claim they don’t take any money because they do not want to make money for someone elses work. Newsflash fansubbing aside distrubiting anothers copyrighted work without expressed consent is illegal. Otherwise they would just give out bleach DVDs rather then try to sell them. Sorry for the negativity I am just cranky.

    Reply
  • 23. Judge  |  February 12, 2009 at 12:29 am

    I don’t know which has more epic fail in it, the article or some of the comments here. And Tyrenol has never ran into anyone normal* pass thier thirtys who likes anime? I don’t know if he is that sheltered or that much of a flamer.

    * Of course his defination of normal is prob anyone who doesn’t like anime.

    Reply
  • 24. UnSub  |  February 26, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Not so fast. Adding text to video, is not illegal. From the translation to the act of doing so, is not illegal. The copyright of the script only prohibits someone else from using it in a commercial endeavor. I just won a low profile lawsuit in the state of Washington, US. Viz Media and Geneon tried to sue me for the usual infringement charges. The jury ruled in my favor. Adding text to video does not violate any copyright laws either in the US or Internationally. I never claimed that the content was mine, nor did I ever sell it.

    The copying of video over open air waves, is also not illegal. None of the aired programs ever specified their intended use-age or prohibited rebroadcast in any form. If this was illegal, everyone with a TiVo would be fined and thrown in prison, every digital cable and satellite company that distributed DVRs with their service, sued. Well Its not happening now is it.

    Because the media was paid for by advertisers, and given away freely, it is assumed that redistributing it freely was acceptable especially since that doing so was never prohibited in writing nor orally at any time during broadcast.

    I would also like to note that the court may proceed with a criminal trial against Viz Media for claiming to own the copyright for the material it has licensed. Licensing a show only means that they were granted permission by the content owners to sell their work in a certain region outside of their legal reach. By issuing those FBI warnings at the beginning of every video, and superimposing their © Viz Media, made them liable for claiming a fraudulent copyright notice, United States Code 17-506.

    So, all of these licensed anime distributors have ZERO claim to anything about copyright infringement. They don’t own the rights to the material, except in regards to selling it. The laws of the originating country, Japan take precedence and that as stated before, is null and void because they distributed it freely.

    Fansubbing is NOT illegal. They rely on putting pressure on websites and groups with the threat to sue, but they don’t have a case. Anyone can sue anyone for any reason in the US. It doesn’t mean that they have a legitimate reason for doing so. Spread the word, tell your webhost your legal rights, and don’t back down. With that, I may just sue them back for filling a frivolous lawsuit on me. Enjoy 😀

    Reply
  • 25. drmchsr0  |  February 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Under Article 8 of the Berne Convention, fansubbing is illegal until I hear the industry in Japan giving written permission for fan translations to be legal. Or until at least 3 years has passed and if no one wants to translate the animu you like.

    Fansubs may have a claim under article 9 of the Berne Convention, but since fansubs as it currently stands just shattered article 8 into fine dust, you’ll need a good lawyer to argue that point. We still don’t know how the Internet affects article 9 yet, and no one has ever thought of revising it.

    Now, the adjoining articles appended to articles 8 and 9 give me a massive headache, but it does seem that yes, you can kinda sorta translate eroge and shit.

    Of course, if going by Singapore case law, GENEON JAPAN should have come over to sue you. But since they didn’t, you’re technically free to go.

    Again, I’m not too sure how the Berne Convention affects public broadcast. I just assume I can apply the Berne Convention to any form of work.

    Reply
  • 26. Anonymous  |  February 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Basically, by posting this, you admit to having partaken in illegal activities, and are just as guilty as anyone else. I find this hypocrisy amusing. You can get off your high horse, as you aren’t better than anyone else.

    Reply

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I’M IN THE ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRMY.

And the prophet spake, saying: "Frak this, for my faith is a shield proof against your blandishments!"

- Alem Mahat, The Book of Cain, Chapter IV, Verse XXI

Email: DrmChsr0atgmaildotcom (at=@, dot=.)

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