Illegal Anime Websites: FUNimation Retaliates

Today saw some unfolding action in the realm of illegally hosted online anime. FUNimation sent out a DMCA notice to sites violating copyright laws. One of these sites expressed its discontent and posted a message on their site, which included...

I hope whoever DMCA’d us from Funimation feel good about what they just did, because we must have been SUCH a threat to the industry that they had to have us remove One Piece alongside other good Anime.

Some of funimation's twitter posts on the day of included:

  • Less $ spent on anime in U.S = fewer dvd's in stores = less $ to buy titles from JPN = less $ for production = fewer anime = Global impact!
  • We get that fansubs exist. We get that people watch them. In fact, we totally get that its the only way to watch some series because those series may not get licensed in the U.S. -BUT- I want others to get how supporting fansubs of licensed series hurts the industry.
  • hey bloggers and new anime-focused web site folks...don't request review copies or interviews with voice talent if you openly support fansubs or have links to them on your site. I will say no.

I must say, I agree with FUNimation's actions. It is tough in this economy to survive, let alone thrive. It costs a lot to bring new series to America, and sites showing anime illegally are indirectly shooting their users in the foot. As popularity of these sites grow, the amount of new content that can be added to the sites will diminish because companies such as Funimation will no longer have the resources to bring in new series without the revenue generated by sales.

Something I would like to point out, however, is that the online market needs to be addressed. Though it is new(ish), it has been around popularly for over 10 years. The anime industry needs to find a way to monetize through the internet and keep up with the trends of technology and consumers. This will help combat sites hosting illegal material in the way itunes monetized music and hulu as well as similar sites are revolutionizing the small and big screens into online media formats.

4 years, 10 months ago
TomHarrigan
4176 1 5 11

7 replies (reply)

2

About damn time. Sites that illegally distribute licensed anime in the name of fandom are hurting the fandom more than they think. It's a real shame that a lot of energy in spent on readily available licensed anime where instead it could be used on anime that is unlikely to be licensed for plethora of reasons.

4 years, 10 months ago
The_Bug
666 1 1 7
2

I've been in the anime-world for most of my adult life ... and the later-half of my youth. So I've not only seen the birth and growth of anime as a culture in North America, I've also seen the birth and growth of the fansub sub-culture

Fansubs are something that should be supported. They help give anime coverage and exposure to the North American audience that they would never get if left to anime companies alone to liscence. Several titles like Naruto, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist to name a few, only found the light of day because of fansubbing.

Now, that being said, whether continued fansubbing of a title licenced in North America, in my opinion, is a bit of a grey area. Rarely is a title liscenced over here simautaneous to its release in Japan. Shows like Naruto or Bleach, which are in triple-digit episode numbers are being released at a rate that if subbing was completly dropped people would be waiting years for the US release to catch up ... and anyone who lived through the days of shows like Dragonball or Sailor Moon on cable know how painful it is to go through a long stretch of new shows to suddenly have to go back to ep 1 because they caught up with the newest release.

I do feel, however, that in the case of a static-length show like FMA, Ouran Host Club or Kenichi, where the title has run its course in Japan, fansubbers have done the whole show, and now its out on DVD, it is these titles that should have fansub distrubution decreased, if not eliminated. After all, at this point you are in one of two categories with the show:

a) you are a fan who downloaded it all and watched it, and know either do or do not want to own the DVDs

or

b) you're only JUST hearing about the show in the "coming soon" ads of other anime/website banners and are starting the show from the beginning

Thus, making the purchase of the DVD ... or eventual digital download ... reasonable. But then we come to another problem ... namely cost.

For example, Ouran Host Club, I fall into a bit of column a and b as mentioned above. I've not seen all the seriese, but I'm new enough into it, and like it enough I'm willing to support it ... or I was until I saw the price. The show, released in two parts, each ebing half the show (13 eps each I do believe) ... $60 each for a total of $120 before taxes. Now, I expect due to import costs and such that getting a full season of an anime may cost more than a live-action cable-tv show ... but $120 for a full season ... and in the middle of a recession?? I'm sorry, not even the "piracy" of anime as they call it legitimizes this kind of price gouging.

I'm going to leave my rant at this ... because honestly, one of the things driving people to download their anime versus buying it, is the excessive prices they expect people to pay. Unless you make the legitimate purchase of the material more attractive than the free download of it from the internet ... then you're fighting a loosing battle.

4 years, 10 months ago
sheldoom
226 5
1

FUNI's attitude has been generally pretty mature. They really aren't out to get people and so far I've only seen them DCMA the most blatant violators. What I don't find mature are the rabid attitudes of some within the fandom itself - equating file sharing to theft, or insisting that buying DVDs is the only way to support the industry, are both inaccurate views. Those who insist on everyone else doing things their way are not helping the cause of creating a supportive environment for a sustainable industry.

4 years, 10 months ago
moritheil
924 9
1

Things relevant to this topic:

Legal Sites For Watching Anime: http://otakupride.com/posts/18/what-is-the-best-site-for-watching-anime/#post1356

Problems With Anime: http://otakupride.com/posts/181/5-reasons-nobody-buys-anime-and-how-to-fix-it/ (Read the OP, Nina's posts, and my own.)

There's nothing wrong with what FUNimation did, so I'm not complaining. It didn't ruin my life in any way, shape, or form.

4 years, 10 months ago
Albireo
813 1 7
0

I have to say that I do appreciate FUNimation taking a proactive role in this business. As a viewer it is often difficult to not watch some anime that's already been licensed, since the streaming sites make it freaking easy to watch anime.

It requires an active part on my side to not watch licensed anime.

I personally have no real knowledge which anime are licensed and which are not, and to be honest I am not that interested in that particular knowledge.

Regarding the market argument, though - I doubt that without freely available fansubs for a plethora of anime there would be a large market. I don't really buy the argument that more free subs equals less money spend on anime in US. Take MS Windows for example - without the massive amount of pirated copies it wouldn't have the market share it has now.

Our generation (roughly) grows up with freely available anime - we certainly shape the market.

Without the fansubs I'd be spending my money on books, now I allocate money to try to buy DVDs of series I loved.

Those are my 0.02 €.

4 years, 10 months ago
phoku
690 9
0

I admit, I watch fansubs, due partly because there hasn't been any english dubs created for some series. However, I do make it a point to purchase the DVD's of series that do make it to the US that I enjoyed. Like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I've seen that subbed when it first aired in Japan, but I bought the entire season on DVD when it hit America. And I'm going to keep this up with Lucky Star, Ouran HSHC, etc. My point is that fansubs to give anime some exposure to the US audience, but I can see where companies like FUNimation are coming from, since some viewers may not even bother to support anime licensing in the US by purchasing the DVD's, especially with the way the world is in an economic slump. It's a double-edged sword.

In my opinion, I feel subs are necessary for exposure, or else we wouldn't even have some anime licensed here. But I don't agree with fansubs being the only method of watching anime. We have to support the anime industry by purchasing the DVD's, so that we can keep enjoying anime.

Also, another thought: If the anime industry goes down, so do the conventions. And we wouldn't want that, would we?

4 years, 10 months ago
DarkIceXIII
1071 1 7
0

There's nothing wrong with what Funimation did, but they should understand that not all places have DVD's of licensed anime readily available in their country, and that's why the fansubs exist. If they can make a way to actually make licensed anime readily available and affordable, then I'm all for it.

I also think that they should be knocking on the doorsteps of those who download fansubs and SELL them to people. Those are the ones who really hurt the industry.

4 years, 10 months ago
ninjovee
21 1

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