Via Slashdot: CNET reports on Fansubbers, fans of Japanese anime who get a copy of a title that has yet to be released in the US and add their own subtitles to the movie and of course release it online via BitTorrent or other P2P networks. Japanese studios, which had previously turned a blind eye to the practice presumably because it helped to build buzz for a release, are now sending cease and desist letters to some fansubbers. Sales of Japanese anime DVDs are flat:
…sales of DVDs–which amount to about 5.7 million copies a year, according to internal industry estimates–are holding steady or dropping. Companies worry that the easy prerelease availability of fansub versions means that the otaku class has already seen their products, and no longer need to buy anything but the must-haves.
The result has been growing anxiety in the industry, although little in the way of direct action. Anime distributors don’t have the financial resources for protracted copyright lawsuits, and for the most part, the fan communities are diligent about pulling down titles once they are licensed for distribution, leaving American companies diminished ground for legal action.
I haven’t done all the research on this, but in a magazine or two I’ve read covering anime, there were some complaints about American releases not containing the same amount of content or episodes, compared to Japanese releases. If American consumers aren’t getting value for the dollar with these DVDs, that could continue to drive the fansubbers.
Great word by the way. The current growth of the global lexicon amazes me these days. There will probably be at least two other names for fansubbers within the next month.
larzini — thisblogismyblog.blogharbor.com