Freedom vs Prohibition: Why both routes will not stop an industry from dying

February 19, 2008 at 8:00 pm 13 comments

(If you notice any Biblical references, can it. The reliability of The Bible is not something I am willing to debate about now and it’s not even relevant.)

It seems like the epic fail that is the fansub debate will never end until one side is utterly decimated.

On one hand you have the stuff should be for free zealots. They go on about freedom of the Internet and how businesses should adopt business models to the Internet and freedom of information and such. These people are complete idiots.

On the other hand are the industry rags, people who promote being corporate whores in order to keep an industry on life-support. They think that all animé fans should support legal means of getting animé, or else they are hypocrites and whatnot. These people are also complete idiots. (And for the record, Mr. Zac BerYourFrickingSurnameIsTooHardToPronounce, let’s use the terms ‘sinner’ to replace ‘annoying leech’. Since you seem to be preaching some messed-up sort of ‘gospel’, that term should suit the people you detest just fine.)

Why are both groups of people idiots? Because it wouldn’t matter which path the industry takes, it’s going to die a horrible death either way. It only depends how long do you want an industry to die.

Let’s say the industry finally decides to stop prosecuting fansubbers, not sue downloaders, etc. Total freedom of information, at least for animé. It’ll be a freewheeling anarchy, where people do as they like, grab raws and fansub whatever they like, it’s good news for the industry, right?

That’s where the fun stops and the troubles begin. You see, the overseas animé industry is nothing but a dumping ground for Japan to recoup their losses in the domestic market. The same kind of freewheeling chaos I mentioned earlier exists within the Japanese market. Comiket may seem huge and whatnot, but it’s actually a celebration of depravity and lack of control. Perversions run rampant. Copyrights are being violated like hotcakes being sold. And the funny thing is, none of the cash generated by Comiket and its associated/related events ever go back into the industry. And without money, you don’t get new animé to obsess on. Long story short, no money from domestic sales leads to overseas selling, lack of overseas funds leads to cutting of production costs, which leads to the making of less animé, which will eventually lead to the collapse of the industry as a whole.

It’s interesting to note that we have a parallel for freedom leading to destruction. It’s called the Book of Judges, and it chronicles the history of Israel before they had a king. There’s a lot of stories in the Book of Judges, but one line always stands out. “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Except for three people, anyway, but that’s not the point.

Israel, during the time of Judges, was kind of like the situation in Japan regarding copyrights. Everyone did what they felt was right. Of course there were laws telling them what to do, but without someone actively hammering these laws into their heads, they slowly forgot these laws. Of course, the punishment for not following these laws were rather severe; Israel was conquered many times. But even though they were saved when they cried out for help, they soon forgot the laws and again they were conquered by a foreign power.

With that said, Prohibition seems the way to go, yes?

Ironically, Prohibition will also lead to the collapse of the industry, only this time, asinine regulations prevent fans from legally purchasing what they like.

In theory, it all sounds fine. Throw in a couple of laws, kill a few thousand downloaders, DMCA fansubbers out of existence, and you have a ready line of cash. Sounds like a capitalist’s dream, right? Guess what? It’s not as easy as it looks.

First of all, people will get what they want, even if they have to resort to illegal means to get it. And by taking out the most obvious targets, it makes the rest wiser and harder to catch. It’s like a vicious cycle of Darwinism in action. Elimination of the weakest makes the survivors stronger and harder to kill or eradicate. And even if enforcement proves to be wholly effective, there’s still the limited selection to deal with. Not everyone likes to be told what to do, or in this case, buy.

We’ve seen the effects of Prohibition firsthand. An Era of Prohibition in America failed to stop alcoholics from getting alcohol. RIAA lawsuits have failed to make a dent in illegal music downloads. Suing The Pirate Bay and DMCAing sites like Torrentfreak have failed to stop people from getting free software. Ivory is still being traded illegally. Drugs still get into the hands of addicts. Heck, even my idea of killing innocents to prove a point may not stop people from getting what they want. Killing people may have worked in Vlad Tepes’ time for law enforcement (say what you will about the death penalty, but Vlad Tepes DID eradicate poverty and crime when he was in power. People in Romania still view him as a hero because of that.), but pure greed is far harder to stop, even if we resort to Vlad the Impaler’s tactics. It sure didn’t stop him from being defeated by the Ottomans the second time they invaded. (I’m not too sure if he did use the same psychological blow he used the first time round.)

And what’s even funnier is this: the industry would still die anyway. Instead of the industry imploding quickly, it dies a slow, long death. Trust me, it’s not fun seeing people (or industries) die slowly.

In both cases, no one would pay for stuff or acknowledge the fact that their actions will kill the industry. Both sides pull out the same tired arguments again and again.  Heck, people may call one another stupid names just because they don’t agree with their side of the argument. And it creates avenues for unscrupulous, shady entities to extort money.

If both methods fail to stop the death knell from sounding, what will? Honestly, I don’t know. Anything I suggest now would not make an iota of change. And the only way I know to save the industry, it will take me the rest of my adult life and then some to accomplish.

You tell me how to save this dying (and most probably dead) industry. I’m at a complete loss for ideas here.

Entry filed under: Anime, Bitching.

A question for anyone who cares. Let’s get a couple of things clear.

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. IcyStorm  |  February 19, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Maybe it needs to die or at least crash so that the industry will restart with a new mindset. For those of you that are familiar with the video game crash of 1983, we know that the video game industry (at least in North America) collapsed with company bankruptcies and whatnot. Perhaps an anime crash will force these idiots to rethink their marketing, prices, and approach. I’m not sure if that’s even entirely possible, but we know that the studios don’t make that match money, or even any money at all.

    But this needs to happen in Japan, because a North American crash would not do much, because the Japanese anime industry has shown themselves to be arrogant and greedy. Although they probably make a lot of anime selling licenses, I doubt anything will change.

    I don’t know, I’m just throwing ideas out here.

  • 2. dak22  |  February 20, 2008 at 12:40 am

    The thing I hate about this debate is that it only focuses on one thing, fansubs in relation to the industry. Right now there are so many problems with the industry that even if fansubs never existed, the industry would still be in the spot it is today. Instead of talking about these problems, fans would rather argue about fansubs and their effects.

    IcyStorm brings up a point about the videogame industry crash. The thing is that some of the factors that caused the crash can be seen in the anime industry itself and it’s sad that no one is giving a damn before it’s too late. That’s like ignoring the elephant in the room while arguing about something else. Still a crash might be a good thing if it changes the attitude of the whole industry.

  • 3. Kai  |  February 20, 2008 at 12:52 am

    An industry needs not lean towards complete freedom nor harsh crack down in order to adapt and thrive.

    There is a better

  • 4. bomblol  |  February 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    hey its the anon fag from earlier here. FIrst of all, why is wikipedian faggotry linking here: when the fuck did thise become a reliable source? Oh wait, I forgot, its wikipedia
    suck a dick fuckin bible thumper

  • 5. bomblol  |  February 20, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    also if you want I can spend hours disproving god, and then if you are a dumbshit who doesnt believe established science, I can talk about how history also shows hes a lie, and then still after that I can show you how horrible and hypocritical organized religion and ‘god’ is
    i can also curbstomp your fucking face for being a creationist

  • 6. Guncannon  |  February 20, 2008 at 9:58 pm


  • 7. Tyrenol  |  February 21, 2008 at 4:58 am

    The problem with this anime industry could be solved like it was solved with alcohol: You regulate it to a certain extent. You keep the drinks out of the hands of minors by hitting each indiviual liquer shop that doesn’t check their IDs. And you do this off and on in order to put some fear into the people who sell them.

    Also: I believe that now is the time to keep anime out of the hands of people who are not mentally old enough to enjoy them. (Please, folks! The fact that Clannad is showing off some hot chick’s thighs does not fix the problem of Sunahara getting 1000-Burst-Kicked by Tomoyo’s foot.)

    The main problem is the Japanese anime industry’s fear doing something really revolutionary. Like, say: Featuring the “average joe” male lead who can defend himself from a woman’s attack. An average-looking guy who can defeat an equally powerful (or even more powerful) female. Sure; we’ve all seen men pilot robots and fight aliens. But can they fight and win against the “in-front-of-your-face” demons that had been plaguing them for WAY too long?

    • 8. Errant  |  October 1, 2010 at 5:50 am

      “The main problem is the Japanese anime industry’s fear doing something really revolutionary. Like, say: Featuring the “average joe” male lead who can defend himself from a woman’s attack. An average-looking guy who can defeat an equally powerful (or even more powerful) female. Sure; we’ve all seen men pilot robots and fight aliens. But can they fight and win against the “in-front-of-your-face” demons that had been plaguing them for WAY too long?”

      Please keep your personal insecurity issues out of the topic. Also, Index/Railgun.

  • 9. bomblol  |  February 22, 2008 at 3:58 am

    “Also: I believe that now is the time to keep anime out of the hands of people who are not mentally old enough to enjoy them. ”

    gb2/arthouse elitist faggot

  • 10. Tyrenol  |  February 22, 2008 at 7:16 am

    bomblol: “gb2/arthouse elitist faggot”

    I rest my case.

  • 11. abao  |  February 22, 2008 at 10:34 pm


    I’m always amazed by your impassioned essays about the staganating and dying of our beloved anime… They strike deep into my heart each time I read them here…

    I cant match your level of love. But I express my support for your pleas. If only we can gather a big enough movement to be felt across borders…

  • […] Do I have to repeat myself 5 times before I start anew? (tl;dr: fansubbers are egoistical jerks and we should beat some sense into them.) […]

  • 13. flare  |  June 17, 2008 at 6:04 am

    As a corporate analyst I believe you’re mistaken in your judgment. The eras are changing. As a whole we’re transitioning into the information age, and all non-electronic media forms are taking hits and losses. Magazines, newspapers, and television stations are all taking large losses due to the advent of the Internet. Pick up the New York Times, read the Wall Street Journal, all of the media industries are taking declines due to the fact that we have TiVO nowadays, we have the Internet, there is no longer a notion of “primetime”, and the bulk of revenue, contrary to the arrogance of you Americans who think that the anime industry is reliant upon American licenses, but rather the bulk of revenue in the media and entertainment is advertisement.

    A popular anime draws hundreds of thousands of viewers, and the greater number of viewers the larger the advertising impact. Why is cable only $20/mo, whereas a television ad will cost you millions of dollars?

    Newspapers are taking losses, magazines are taking losses, television series are being cancelled, and the existing series are getting bigger and the newer series are getting pushed off due to the fact that people don’t have to have primetime. If they want to watch something, they can go download it, stream it, or TiVO it and have a recording to watch at their leisure. Corporations can no longer control their viewers.

    Bloggers are getting huge. The Huffington Post, a liberal blog is being valued at $80 million dollars, due to its advertising strength and impact, and amount of viewers.

    People download anime. Just like people pirate music. Just like people find television shows on the Internet.

    The Japanese, as we most Asians are, are fairly conservative and traditional. It’s the failure of the Asian CEO’s to adapt to the changing times. The Internet is inevitable, so we as business owners must adapt to the climate.

    Cable companies in the US are starting new media tactics to keep with the times; others are capitalizing on media and streaming, and more and more companies are beginning to debut series and episodes for download on the Internet.

    The simplest thing to do to “save” the anime industry, who’s “dying” has been contorted and overglorified in melodramatic nonsense is merely to stream anime online, fansubbed, oust the competition because obviously you have your own product first, and capitalize on the Internet for the advertising impact once achieved on cable television.

    Some companies are already adapting. Anime will not die. This is a transition period for everyone.


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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

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