The 2nd Dimension

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Anime Downloading in Trouble?

CNET has published a very interesting article about the technically illegal act of distributing fansubbed anime online. For years fansubbing has been considered a necessary evil for fans who want to view anime titles that have not yet been licensed for distribution in the US. Japanese and US studios alike have turned a blind eye to the act presumably because fansubbing tends to build the word-of-mouth popularity for a particular title and as a result helps US companies determine which titles to license.

But recently, a Japanese anime studio called Media Factory (Gravion, RahXephon) has been sending messages to fansubbing sites demanding that they cease and desist the distribution of their titles regardless of whether or not those titles have been licensed for US distribution. So now the fear is the other companies will follow suite.

I don't really think companies are going to be giving up the benefites of a responsible fansubbing community, and I definitely don't see anime fans giving it up, so I doubt that there is anything fans need to really worry about (anymore than MP3 music downloaders need to worry that their source of MP3s will drying up). But the article at least does a good job of presenting both sides of the debate.

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