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  1. #1
    GWOnline.Net Member Black's Avatar
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    Is Fansubbing Legal?

    I was reading up on bit torrents etc... in regards to laws regarding fan subbing popular anime. In the US there are laws that record company are pushing for in order to ban the use of file sharing. Since they are claiming it hurts their profit shares etc... that is in the music genre.

    With popular anime shows like Naruto, Bleach, Deathnote on the rise, just to name a few, what is exactly the law in regards to downloading anime that has been fan subbed?

    Does downloading fansubbed anime is on par with downloading MP3's? or is this a whole different animal?

    What are the copy right laws for these media? and how are they different from freely hearing or seeing it on television?

  2. #2
    GWOnline.Net Member Gaendaal's Avatar
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    I'm sure that the companies involved would say that fansubs are pre-empting the "official" subs that will/may be released and so eating into their potential sales.

    Ultimately, you're taking a copyrighted material, modifying it to be used in a different region and then distributing it without the licence of the creator/owner. That will probably break copyright laws.

  3. #3
    GWOnline.Net Member sequel's Avatar
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    The thing is copyright laws are outdated to a point it becomes ridiculous. Strictly speaking companies like napster didn't break the law, in fact they followed it by the letter and exploited a grey area. Of course a judge can always fill that grey area with his own conviction but he doesn't have a law to use as foundation, at best he can say it's based on an interpretation of the law. Only a few countries, like germany for instance, have declared owning copies to be illegal while other countries didn't react yet. In the later ones the only illegal act would be going into a store, buy a dvd, make copies of it and start selling em. Sharing copies via the internet doesn't offend the law, those that wrote it probably never thaught that people would share stuff for free on such a scale. That is keep track of amendements or new laws that might be voted, once this happens in your country it's time to bail out and clean your harddrive.

  4. #4
    GWOnline.Net Member Gaendaal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sequel View Post
    Sharing copies via the internet doesn't offend the law.
    It does in most places, certainly the UK.

    "What is online piracy?: Online piracy is the distribution/sale of unauthorised copyrighted material via the internet. This can take the form of either physical goods (eg DVDs) being sold through websites and auction houses, or the sharing of infringing copyrighted material through sophisticated online methodology such as FTP, IRC, BitTorrent, P2P and file-sharing networks." - http://www.fact-uk.org.uk/site/about/faq.htm#6

  5. #5
    What the industrys argument is against filesharing...

    Sharing files and data itself is not an illegal process... but they claim the only reason these file sharing companys are making money is because of the copying and sharing of copyrighted materials...

    The end user can already be legally charged in copyrighted filesharing, but every now and then the industry has a go at the file sharing programs themselves.

    I think the music industry in particular needs the file sharing to some degree... but they are set in some old way and need to get with the times and find a better way to make money from the file share market instead of using restrictive DRM's and file types...

  6. #6
    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/ency...icon.php?id=63

    Nearly all fansubs are produced by anime fans for fans, and are distributed free (or at the very most, for reimbursement of incidental costs such as blank tape for the particular copy, postage, etc.) Those who do charge money for fansubs are frowned upon as bootleggers. Fansubs are distributed through local anime clubs, trading through the mail or now through file-sharing services on the Internet.

    Although technically illegal -- Japanese copyrights are honored in the US and other Berne Convention and WTO countries and vice versa -- some anime licensors look the other way on fansubs as "free advertising" since people who see a fansub might buy the release on DVD if they enjoy it. Other companies, both Japanese and North American, have much less tolerance for fansubs. Some Japanese companies have asked fansubbers to not translate their properties (Production I.G in relation to Ghost in the Shell, and Media Factory in relation to all its titles), while representatives of some American companies have publicly stated that they do not appreciate the efforts of fansubbers.

    Fansubbers also follow a code of honor of sorts, and many fansubbers halt all work on a title once it has been licensed in the US. By the same code of ethics, people who collect and watch fansubs are expected to destroy their fansubs when the show is licensed and purchase the commercial products when it is released.

    Despite the code of ethics, fansubs routinely remain available long after the commercial release and are often sold by thrid party bootleggers who are not affiliated with the original fansubbers. Furthermore, some fans and fansubbers disagree on the code of ethics and do not cease production and distribution of the fansubs when the show in question is licensed. Some fansubbers stop only when a commercial release date is announced, others don't stop until the commercial release, and still others continue until they have finished fansubbing the entire series.

    heh, leave it to the pirate to know this...
    Last edited by Feannag; 11-01-2008 at 14:22.

  7. #7
    GWOnline.Net Member sequel's Avatar
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    Several points of interest :

    Damage alone doesn't generate responsability, there has to be either a fault or a crime that can be linked to this damage. The damage so far is the loss of finacial gain endured by those that payed money to licence ( buy the rights to sell, broadcast and reproduce ) a specific movie, as in people buying less or not going to the cinema. Why does this damage occur, obviously because of the sharing via internet. We got the damage and the link, it becomes tricky when you have to establish that certain individuals or companies commited a liable fault or a crime punished by law.

    If someone makes money with copies he didn't have the authorization to make it's a crime, he gains money with the work of someone else. His gain is the rightful owners loss. You don't have to prove a fault, the law states that this behaviour is considered a crime.

    If the behaviour in question isn't qualified a crime, you got to prove that there was a fault. Making the copies from the original ( though not selling em ) would be the fault here. For instance someone recording with a cam in his local cinema the latest movie would be liable. Same goes for someone purchasing a dvd movie and making copies at home on his own pc. These people didn't respect the copyright-law, obligations they accepted by buying the dvd or the cinema ticket.

    In the Peer to peer system however you are sharing stuff for free. Take individual A that made of copie of a dvd and shared it for free with individual B who again shares it for free with individual C. Neither B nor C are liable but A is. If B baught it however he becomes liable along with A.

    One way to counter this is declaring the copies to be illegal goods, then everyone owning them ( A+B+C) can be condemned and the victims can file in a request of retribution.

    Sounds easy, but the practical approach will be difficult. For instance a new law will only affect the futur, what you did before that cannot be punished. The older copies considered illegal can be destroyed but only those people that made em and shared em scince the new law can be condemned. Also stuff like the ipod or dvd-players reading divx profiles must be taken off the market at that point. Making copies for personal use wouldn't be tolerated either. Fact is that such a law is a political choice and the general population electing the politicians have adapted to the new types of media. That choice won't be welcomed. A law will only have national impact, it cannot cross the border, hence if people still want access to illegal copies they'll get them from other countries unbound by a law of that type. So in the end the damage won't diminish, but people will be restricted in their use of media.

    A true answer would be a commercial one, not a legal one. If those providing licenced movies can offer a better product for low price who would bother with high-speed connection, stacks of blank cds, internet security of their own pc's while downloading, purchasing appropriate reader-devices, etc. If you can't force em, make em choose to.

    So again, the grey area concerns the free sharing and owning of copies alone. Making copies from originals or/and selling them is liable/illegal.

    About fansubbing, they make altered copies, to some point they would have rights on their contribution but still be liable for copiing the original without permission. They state in all their work that it's a free fansub not meant for rental or purchase, limiting their liability. Also their consumers are from other countries so there's no direct damage to their home nation and initial owner of copierights. The damage occurs only once a foreign society has baught the rights to distribute it on their territory. Reason why many fansubbers stop once a anime gets licenced.

    (ps scince english isn't my mothertongue excuse me if i didn't always use the appropriate legal term, also this only describes the general logic behind copieright-law before the arrival of the peer-to-peer drama, if your national law has been adapted scince, other rules might apply)

    cheers
    Last edited by sequel; 11-01-2008 at 14:59.

  8. #8
    Illegal or not, a lot of companies aren't going to care because fansubs generate interest in their product.

  9. #9
    From a legal point of view, back when I was in fansubbing, they were all illegal because no one got the japanese copyright owner's agreement to use their material. So if *they* wanted to get you, they could. In practice, they never cared.

    Now fansubs were divided into two categories: shows that had found a licenser overseas, and shows that remained solely for the japanese market. It was generally frowned upon by older and respectable teams to continue fansubbing a show once it got officially licensed in north-america. Many more teams didn't care however and pretty much everything would end up subbed anyway.

    In practice, whenever trouble reached a fansub group it came from the american licenser, not the japanese. So if you want to play it safem don't get fansubs from licensed shows. :p

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sequel View Post
    Several points of interest :

    Damage alone doesn't generate responsability, there has to be either a fault or a crime that can be linked to this damage. The damage so far is the loss of finacial gain endured by those that payed money to licence ( buy the rights to sell, broadcast and reproduce ) a specific movie, as in people buying less or not going to the cinema. Why does this damage occur, obviously because of the sharing via internet. We got the damage and the link, it becomes tricky when you have to establish that certain individuals or companies commited a liable fault or a crime punished by law.

    If someone makes money with copies he didn't have the authorization to make it's a crime, he gains money with the work of someone else. His gain is the rightful owners loss. You don't have to prove a fault, the law states that this behaviour is considered a crime.

    If the behaviour in question isn't qualified a crime, you got to prove that there was a fault. Making the copies from the original ( though not selling em ) would be the fault here. For instance someone recording with a cam in his local cinema the latest movie would be liable. Same goes for someone purchasing a dvd movie and making copies at home on his own pc. These people didn't respect the copyright-law, obligations they accepted by buying the dvd or the cinema ticket.

    In the Peer to peer system however you are sharing stuff for free. Take individual A that made of copie of a dvd and shared it for free with individual B who again shares it for free with individual C. Neither B nor C are liable but A is. If B baught it however he becomes liable along with A.

    One way to counter this is declaring the copies to be illegal goods, then everyone owning them ( A+B+C) can be condemned and the victims can file in a request of retribution.

    Sounds easy, but the practical approach will be difficult. For instance a new law will only affect the futur, what you did before that cannot be punished. The older copies considered illegal can be destroyed but only those people that made em and shared em scince the new law can be condemned. Also stuff like the ipod or dvd-players reading divx profiles must be taken off the market at that point. Making copies for personal use wouldn't be tolerated either. Fact is that such a law is a political choice and the general population electing the politicians have adapted to the new types of media. That choice won't be welcomed. A law will only have national impact, it cannot cross the border, hence if people still want access to illegal copies they'll get them from other countries unbound by a law of that type. So in the end the damage won't diminish, but people will be restricted in their use of media.

    A true answer would be a commercial one, not a legal one. If those providing licenced movies can offer a better product for low price who would bother with high-speed connection, stacks of blank cds, internet security of their own pc's while downloading, purchasing appropriate reader-devices, etc. If you can't force em, make em choose to.

    So again, the grey area concerns the free sharing and owning of copies alone. Making copies from originals or/and selling them is liable/illegal.

    About fansubbing, they make altered copies, to some point they would have rights on their contribution but still be liable for copiing the original without permission. They state in all their work that it's a free fansub not meant for rental or purchase, limiting their liability. Also their consumers are from other countries so there's no direct damage to their home nation and initial owner of copierights. The damage occurs only once a foreign society has baught the rights to distribute it on their territory. Reason why many fansubbers stop once a anime gets licenced.

    (ps scince english isn't my mothertongue excuse me if i didn't always use the appropriate legal term, also this only describes the general logic behind copieright-law before the arrival of the peer-to-peer drama, if your national law has been adapted scince, other rules might apply)

    cheers
    Actually, it's distribution that matters, not sales. If you're giving away unauthorized copies, it's illegal; it doesn't matter if you were paid or not.

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