[MA-SOC] Fansubbers are evil! Oh hell yeah....well maybe....but notexactly

Ralph Young ralphyoung at optonline.net
Mon Nov 26 08:48:07 EST 2007

I don't buy it.   Yes, cable made it economically feasible for anime to be 
legally distributed to a mainstream American audience.  It also made it 
economically feasible for Spanish bullfighting to be legally distributed to 
an American audience, yet bullfighting hasn't caught on.  The fanbase was 
created by the fansubbers, and cable just expanded something that already 
existed.  Remember, cable was around for years before the current mainstream 
fad.  The cable executives for Cartoon Network were persuaded by numbers 
provided by the distributors regarding the preexisting fanbase they were 
exploiting vut had not really nurtured.

Am I saying fansubbing is legal?  No, its not.  No matter how you cut it, 
its a violation of the law proscribing how things are supposed to be done. 
But I am saying that, with respect to the American anime "industry," it has 
done more good than harm, and all the whining of the executives about how 
fansubbers are stealing money out of their pockets doesn't change the fact 
that if those fansubbers didn't exist that money wouldn't have made it into 
their pockets in the first place.  If fansubbers are horrible beasts, the 
industry execs are the fleas and tapeworms sucking the blood from those 
beasts.  At worst, the industry people who bitch about the fansubbers being 
theives are hypocrites.  At best, they are ignorant, self-deluding fools who 
draw a sense of entitlement from the letter of the law without really 
understanding how their own business works.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "B Smith" <ifuritaoni at yahoo.com>
To: "Metro Anime New York City--social list" <ma-nyc-soc at lists.baka.org>
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 2:26 AM
Subject: [MA-SOC] Fansubbers are evil! Oh hell yeah....well maybe....but 

> Dude....
> I do not wish to contradict you but no matter how you
> cut it, it's stealing in one fashion or another.
> If someone breaks into your house and steals your
> stuff leaving a note saying "sorry, but it's a
> recession", are you going to nod your head in deep
> philosophical understanding or are you going to be
> pissed and say what you paid for is YOURS, end of
> story.  Sorry but to advocate theft in any way - be it
> digital or monetary or physical - is to my mind
> totally wrong and inexcusible.
> Unless you can tell me that on the grounds of
> recession it's okay to pull up to the gas station, hit
> the pump, then flee at top speed; I don't see how
> anyone here can philsophically justify the theft via
> internet of anime.  Please prove me wrong.  Go ahead.
> (PS, this is not a matter of simply taking the moral
> highground, considering I am a cocksucking faggot who
> downloads too on some lvls....)
> Now, getting to the point, when it comes to the otaku,
> lets be frank...even being unemployed has RARELY
> stopped the average fanboy/girl from hitting their
> Pokemon/Yugioh tournements, buying their hentai/yaoi
> mags/books, buying sheets of fabric for the next
> cosplay, travelling to cons, buying that boxed set of
> Guitar Hero III with wireless instrument, paying for
> that Final Fantasy Online subscription, etc.  There
> are tons more examples but you all know the drills and
> you all know you've done yourselves at some point, so
> that "it's the economy stupid" really doesn't hold
> much water to the fanperson mentality or to the
> teens/tweens who can nag their parents into
> submission.
> Can the distribution be better? Yes.  Can it be
> cheaper? Well, can't everything?  Oddly enough I don't
> see ppl saying "I'm gonna save money and not go to
> Anime Fest or NY Comic Con" or something.  We ALL can
> spend less and save a bundle by just giving up fandom
> entirely but we don't...so like Pathmark, Texaco,
> Exxon, NY/NJ Transit, why should they lower their
> prices when they know we'll keep coming back?
> Hell...all our jobs depend on others who are willing
> fork out $$ to the company/institute/whatever that
> write our checks.  I think it's safe to say none of us
> are willing to take a salary cut to effect lower
> prices and more business at our respective
> companies...so why should the anime companies be any
> less?
> Because anime fans have this huge network a
> bittorrenting and an attitude of "we don't need you
> anime/manga companies".  Well...guess what, yes the
> fansubbers helped start and continue to propagate the
> fandom (hell, where else could i get all my yaoi and
> Legend of the Galactic Heroes from?) but there's a
> great deal of disrespect towards the legitimate
> companies and disregard for the fact that the legal
> companies helped push anime into the mainstream.  The
> subtitlers have always catered and nurtured the core
> fandom but things changed with the late 80s when
> Robotech, Voltron, Thundercats and many other came on
> the air...hell, enough so that a purely american
> effort called "Exo Squad" was developed in the late
> 90s.
> Ralph is correct that broadcast TV anime floundered
> badly, suffering from local networks/affilates shoving
> them all over the place.  What changed things -
> especially for anime - was CABLE.  Anime could
> consistantly be fed to the eager young minds based on
> established schedules.  Guess what? THAT"S when anime
> hit the mainstream.  With the internet hitting its
> stride, fans are able to connect and share.  All
> good..but it's because of the legit companies that
> dubbed the stuff and put it on the air that this
> happened...not because of the core fandom hunkering
> over their computers watching their bittorrent ratios
> or the more sociable fandom who met in small darkened
> spaces where only the boldest dared to venture....
> The companies deserve some respect and appreciation
> for helping create the modern fandom, not be treated
> as a hinderance or embarassment.  Yeah things Like
> Naruto and Death Note and Bleach were crazes in the
> fandom and fansubs long before they went "legit"; but
> almost everyone IN the fandom are here because of
> stuff that some company dubbed and put on the air be
> it Robotech, Sailor Moon, dragonball, WHATEVAH.
> The companies definitely need to be change their model
> to more like TV on DVD where boxed sets are the
> norm....but still, they deserve our support and
> encouragement to improve, not our scorn and dismissal.
> B Smith
> --- Daniel Marx <dmarx621 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Ralph, you're absolutely right. I don't even think
>> fansubbers, or even
>> bootleggers, are having that much of an effect on
>> the downturn in
>> sales. Maybe someone who makes as much as Arthur
>> Smith probably does
>> wouldn't have noticed, but WE ARE IN A RECESSION.
>> People have less
>> money then they used to, and, in most households,
>> the
>> entertainment/luxury budget is the first to get cut.
>> That's why sales
>> are down for anime, not because of people
>> downloading fansubs-even if
>> the series has been licensed.
>> -- 
>> "To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread
>> out before you, and
>> hold intimate converse with men of unseen
>> generations--such is a
>> pleasure beyond compare."
>> --Kenko Yoshida, 1340
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