Random Curiosity

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Focal Point – Criminalizing Creativity

Well, I skipped out on another week of editorializing, but that’s because of the kick-off of the summer season, which included Omni’s Summer Preview, as well as several anime conventions, one of which I attended. Thus, with how busy things were, Omni and I decided to not publish a Focal Point last week. However, that gave me time to stew on a particular debate that seems to be coming back into the spotlight, especially with the convention season heating up. Obviously, with such a complicated issue, an editorial written on it will be tremendously long. Thus, it was fortuitous that a recent news item allowed me to secede some of my ideas into THIS editorial. Stay tuned for next week’s article…it’s gonna be a doozy…


Yes, it’s another video you must watch before reading this article, but this one is only 20 minutes (instead of 30 minutes), and it’s NOT made by some pretentious British snob (who DID make some good points, despite sounding one-sided and arrogant) but rather a relatively famous law professor. PLUS, there’s a clip of an AMV in there. So, WATCH IT!

I personally have rarely visited Nico Nico Douga. Frankly, having incomprehensible Japanese comments flying across the screen while trying to watch a video sounds about as appealing to me as waiting in line inside a poorly ventilated hallway for an hour-delayed Masquerade Contest amidst a bunch of impatient anime fans who haven’t showered or brushed their teeth in two days at an anime convention (yes, I know you can turn the comments off, but still…) Hell, I wouldn’t even want English comments flying across the screen while trying to watch a video, which would be analogous to the same waiting-in-line scenario described above except now it’s a line for an AMV contest. Nevertheless, I have appreciated the many fruits of creativity harvested from Nico Nico Douga (usually filtered without the comments to YouTube). In particular, I enjoy watching the many MADs or AMVs that parody anime or showcase variations of anime openings.

Thus, I was very sad when a crackdown was announced

However, I wasn’t sad for the same reason many other people were upset: many FANS (and even some fans) were unhappy because they feel they have now lost a source of free entertainment. This is rather ridiculous, because YouTube is still around, and something as small as this will not stop the Japanese from making MADs (although it might stifle some of the motivation to do so, because the Japanese seem to be closet attention whores who want comments written all over their amateur-made videos).

No, I was sad, because this was definitely taking a step back in the progress of the internet being the next distribution platform for content, as well as a prolongation of the current digital battle between professional creators and amateur creator-users.



I’m sure you know of (and dislike) fights that drag on and on and on…

Hoping that you have completely watched Professor Larry Lessig’s 20-minute talk, I do not want to rehash what he so eloquently stated and argued, but I do feel I need to touch upon some points I believe he assumed people already knew or understood (since the majority of his audience were older adults while I feel the majority of Random Curiosity’s readership is of a younger persuasion).

The spirit of copyright is meant to protect creativity. If you have a creator who is creating something useful to society (be it in technology, entertainment, or whatever), then said creator needs to be rewarded in hopes that he or she will continue to create more beneficial things for society. On the flip side, if said creator’s works and rights are not protected, such that anyone could copy and sell them, said creator would at the very best not be motivated to make more creations and at the very worst not be able to make enough of a living to continue being creative. Either way, society suffers a loss in creativity, and thus, society institutes copyright laws to protect itself from such a loss. I think we can all agree that “wholesale copying and distributing,” as Professor Lessig put it, is stealing and criminal (even if it’s done for free, like people who upload bittorrents of anime DVD rips with all the extras, language tracks, etc.).

It follows, then, that if a creator does not want to have his or her works reproduced and manipulated or altered in a particular manner, viewers of said content should respect and abide by that. I’m now talking about remixing and recreating, with AMVs and doujin works being classic examples. It’s not too hard to imagine a manga artist being appalled at seeing the underage sibling characters he or she drew in a benign shoujo story having sex with each other or being raped (even if by tentacle monsters that do not really exist in their manga). Thus, it is perfectly within the rights of creator to ask people to stop or, as the saying go, cease and desist. After all, it is also the creator’s right to grant permission to users to alter their works, as well.

There are, of course, exceptions (is there anything in life without some exception?), including but not limited to parody, satire, critiques, and fair use. After all, the screen shots I capture and display here on this publicly-viewable website were done so without permission. However, I don’t want to turn this into a Law 101 lecture (I mean, what EXACTLY is entailed in fair use?), so I’ll just quickly justify what I do by saying 1) I am not making any money off of this, and 2) if the creator himself or herself asked me to take down the pictures I captured, I would.

ON THE SOAPBOX (even more so than normal)

By the way, I personally find the “free advertisement” justification faulty. Some people feel they can use works however way they want as long as they’re promoting the work. For example, some would say an AMV can generate interest and cause people to buy an anime series and/or a song they never heard of before. And while the effects of the work may be true, if a particular type of promotion is not agreeable to its creator, one cannot use this justification anymore. There are plenty of advertisements that had the best of intentions of promoting and helping to sell a product, but they ended up painting a bad picture of said product. Thus, if a particular band felt their song’s lyrics meant one thing and did not want the song associated with particular images (like blood and gore or even puppies and flowers), then they have every right to be upset that their work is being manipulated in that way, even if it DOES boost sales. I absolutely cannot stand FANS who feel that the creator owes THEM something for promoting their work by altering it in a way that the creator does not desire, which is exactly what FANS feel (no matter how much they might deny it) when they get all pouty when a creator asks for a fan work to be removed. Again, though, if the creator grants permission, is fine with it, or doesn’t care, then the issue is moot.

OFF THE SOAPBOX

The problem really comes when corporations and entities larger than the individual creator (such as associations, conglomerates, and cartels) hold or try to enforce the copyrights. Granted, some works can only be created by a group (like a studio for anime), but many times it’s the big publisher or record company that makes the big bucks and enforces a copyright to the ignorance and/or chagrin of the original creator. Keep in mind that such groups are a product of capitalism, which is fueled by an economic survival-of-the-fittest, so they will try to do everything in their power to be at the top of the business food chain and stay there – even if that means playing unfairly within the rules (and sometimes, outside of them). Ultimately, everything a corporate group does is driven by the goal of making more money, which isn’t necessarily evil or bad – it’s just how they operate. And unless you want to advocate socialism or communism (which work oh-so-well) then there’s really no use in criticizing businesses for pursuing money…



100 Whose Line Is It Anyway points to those who can identify the anime pictured above where corporations rule.

…until the pursuit of money comes at the cost of something greater, like the environment or creativity.

The fact is that various entities are pushing to extend how long a copyright lasts or how much a copyright encompasses in order to milk their cash cow of creativity as much as possible. Now to be honest, “milking” is perfectly understandable (and somewhat reasonable) – can you honestly say you would NOT do it if you were in their position? In the end, there’s really no reason to criticize the act of milking in and of itself, even if the product of milking was poor, because if said product was REALLY bad, then people wouldn’t buy it and it would soon cease to be made. That’s how capitalism works. Additionally, it should also not be hard to see how businesses will want to protect the source of the milk. If corporations allowed their intellectual properties to be manipulated and altered without any repercussions, they will suffer two financial “set backs” that could completely undermine them as a business:

1) The distribution of derived works provides the consumer an alternate means to enjoy the original, such that the original work does not need to be purchased. I know many people (including myself) who heard an awesome song in an AMV and just let the AMV play on repeat to hear the song over and over again, instead of buying the song itself on CD or mp3. Some people will even go so far as to rip the audio from the AMV to have their own mp3, which is pretty much tantamount to stealing. This is why the main opponents to AMVs are record companies as opposed to anime studios.

2) A derived work can now potentially and effectively act as competition in the industry. When specifically talking about entertainment, there is only so much time you can allot to it. With an original work and a recreated work both vying for your limited attention on the same level, it’s quite understandable for creators of the original work to not want to have to compete with works derived from them. As a personal example, I love Weird Al Yankovic’sWhite and Nerdy,” and while I have heard the original song it parodies enough to enjoy the Weird Al song, I couldn’t even tell you the original song’s title or artist, because I don’t particularly like rap and I don’t plan on purchasing that original song ever.



Competition can be a good thing, forcing us to continually innovate and improve ourselves.

Again, I understand the reasons why businesses will want to protect themselves from these issues mentioned above, but while #1 is decently legitimate, #2 is problematic, because it circumvents the original purpose of copyright: the promotion of creativity. If a company clamps down on derived works, like MADs and AMVs, mostly because they do not want to compete with said derived work, then they are being lazy, selfish, and ignorant. To continue the cow analogy above, it’s okay to protect your cash cow but not by killing all the other cows on the pasture so that all the grass can only be eaten by your cow. The very competition that drives corporations to take such a cut-throat stance at economic survival is the same one they actually try to diminish once they are at the top (or at least in a comfortable financial situation). Nevertheless, it is this very competition that can help promote more creativity, or more importantly, BETTER creativity, especially when you look at the constant rehashing of stories in television (anime) and film from books and manga. This is why the law and how copyrights are handled need to be restructured, especially in lieu of current technology that is facilitating this read-write culture that Lessig talked about. Don’t lie to yourselves: many activities that the anime fan community participates in are illegal somewhere or another, but being illegal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong. And when the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are too far out of synch, that’s when the letter of the law needs to be rewritten.

The worst part of about this conglomerate of associations cracking down on Nico Nico Douga is that it’s exacerbating the fight between the two extremisms that Professor Lessig discussed towards the end of his talk. I have witnessed first hand, with my own students, how young people start to feel entitled to free entertainment, because they believe the corporate big wigs of America are merely stuffing their pockets and squeezing every penny out of the common working person.

During one anime club meeting, I got into a discussion with some students about how awesome the game Portal is. Through the conversation, I discovered that a few of them pirated a version of the game, instead of buying it. I heard the typical excuses: “I don’t have the money,” to which I replied, “But you have the money to buy those $50 sneakers?” However, one particularly academically-bright student mentioned how he did not like Valve, and he was purposefully not giving them his money due to some of their corporate decisions as a game developer – basically, he was pseudo-boycotting, but instead of shunning the entire company and its products, he would simply steal the product. I asked about whether or not he thought the actual creators of the Portal (who were hired right out of college by Valve upon seeing their prototype Portal game) should be paid, to which he responded that they should. I concluded, then, that Valve took a chance with hiring them and that if more big companies like Valve hired on small-time game developers with great ideas like the Portal team, then we’d get a lot more cool games, and thus, said companies should be financially supported in such a practice. His flustered rebuttal: “Well, I’m just one kid – me breaking a dumb law isn’t really going to make them go bankrupt.”



Doesn’t anime teach us that even one (whiny, whimpy, little) person can still make a big enough difference to change the world?

The current youth are beginning to learn that laws can (and maybe even should) be ignored, trifled with, and belittled, because they’re engaging in activities that are technically illegal but are not really wrong. One of first things I learned when I decided to be a teacher was that I should never make a rule that I was not willing to enforce. If you do that, then you undermine your own authority. And the last thing we need in society is a generation of youths thinking that laws mean nothing. Again, this doesn’t mean laws are perfect and are never to be subject to revision – there just simply needs to be a balance. Currently, there’s just a blanket copyright law that deems many creative products of fans (and FANS) as illegal, such that the law becomes a joke, and that’s a big problem not only for fandom but for society as a whole. Professor Lessig is proposing a new system to govern the use of creative works and intellectual properties at various levels of control, which you can read more about here. I think this is a step in the right direction to helping anime fandom flourish, as well as providing many other benefits to society.

In a perfect world, in my opinion, the line between creator and user is blurred beyond recognition, such that people who make something would have no problem with someone else taking what they have made and remaking it in a new and interesting way for profit or otherwise. Ideally, the original creator would then be motivated to create something even MORE interesting in order to compete, but sadly, humanity is typically too selfish and lazy to do this. Thus, we have to go with the best system we got, with its laws and copyrights, but that does not preclude us from revising and improving said system, with many arguments and debates going back and forth on how best to accomplish this. Such a difficult and tedious struggle is really the only practical way to stop criminalizing creativity…

…but that’s what makes it all the more worthwhile, right?

Natron-e?
who takes, uses, and alters a lot of content without permission for the sake of education…

like this:



Believe it or not, I actually photoshopped a comic together using scans from the manga Love Hina in order to provide alternative education for special ed kids who had low reading skills …

July 5, 2008 at 8:36 pm
54 comments »
  • July 5, 2008 at 9:10 pmTheRep

    Nice article. 1000 points to Natron-e, for including a Whose Line is it Anyways reference. :D

    I’m one of the people who support the industry by buying their products but man is it tough on the wallet.

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:13 pmAndy

    This is long… Well I do find that crimializing AMVs to be quite upsetting. Since they are doing this, this just creates more people that want to revolt against what they have set up. I actually agree with the video.

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:13 pmEdZ

    I’ll take the 100 points for the Ghost in the Shell background image.

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:15 pmwater hooo

    ……………………good……hmmm….nice 1…I am in aaaw..

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:22 pmAnon

    Very good article. Hohoho. A very enlightening article indeed. The balance between protecting creativity of others and promoting it, the problem with the current system, and its effects on the newer generation. Very deep stuff there, very deep stuff indeed. :)

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:36 pmdxanato

    It was very interesting presentation that he made. I totally agree with his point about allowing the use of material for the purpose of creative and not resell.

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:36 pmNatrone

    @EdZ
    Congratulations! You get 100 points that don’t matter! Yes, the points don’t matter – like deodorant to an otaku at an anime convention – they just don’t matter….

  • July 5, 2008 at 9:54 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    “deodorant at an otaku convention” FUCKING FUNNY!!!!!!! HAHAHA,,,but about that british dude being pretentious, yeah…the accent will doo dat!! “i aint knocking it”….
    P.S= BETTER luck next time Takeru Kobayashi “if anybody knows what I’m talking bout” ..hell..eating less, to me makes u the winner ,,yuck!….TRUE DAT FOR THE ARTICLE. interesting

  • July 5, 2008 at 10:04 pmlelangir

    I liked the video: however, my one quip is how he homogenizes youth when he says “our kids.” Perhaps he was “catering” to the white-collar audience, but I couldn’t help at wince to his phrase “anyone that can get a $1500 computer [or something like that.” Anyone, you say? I think that is quite a bit of money, and simplifying “the youth” to an entity that can afford the technologies that insert them into our homogenized notion of “culture” disregards “our” socio-economic counterpart – both our the other end of our financial binaries, but also of those that provide the ying to “our” yang of an “unprivileged” mindset. Regarding an entire generation as digitally-savvy (it presumes that very economic capacity) does a grave injustice to the Other, unknown, undigital, “in the dark” culture, the “read-only” culture – perhaps – and so this brings me to a more conclusive question: can this “dissent through creativity” be endowed upon only those who are privileged enough to (1) know such a “subculture” exists, (2) be inserted within that echelon, (3) be knowledgeable of and about that, and (4) care enough to contribute to it? Is “contribution” the key here? In Lessig’s quest to inform about the wonders of the internet and digital technologies, does he first take into consideration the disparate socio-economic basis from which these technologies spawn and evolve? Their binary inducing and insinuating repercussions? Access. This time I don’t think we can have our cake and eat it.

  • July 5, 2008 at 10:39 pmPlaid_Knight

    I was glad to see you making your own educational materials. Many of the ones out there for kids are just too badly made to be of much use.

  • July 5, 2008 at 10:44 pmcrimsonrageeeee

    wow

  • July 5, 2008 at 10:50 pmblind_assassin

    That’s some grade A quasi-intellectual rambling right there. When you’re trying to make an educated point it works a lot better if you pour the effort into what you’re actually saying rather than just bloating it with rampant and unnecessary circumlocution.

    I agree entirely with your contention that cracking down on something that was made with effort as an attempt to parody an existing work/person shouldn’t be subject to the money grubbing of companies. Like, if I wanted to make a South Park Canadian flappy-headed cut out of Arnold Schwarzenegger from a Terminator film to have him saying “I’m the Governator. Now GET TO DA CHOPPA!” there is no way that anyone would consider it an abuse of his likeness or thieving to do so. But once someone uses a clip from Death Note and edits his voice over Light saying “didn’t you realise that Yagami backwards spells ‘I’m a gay’?” it’s suddenly a grievous breach of the law that is single-handedly destroying an entire industry?

    But then if you discount the YouTube poop (the ones that aren’t “Luigi crying for 4 minutes” at least) style of creativity you’re left largely with people that are “expressing” themselves by mashing 5 minutes of Naruto clips together and playing Linking Park in the background. I think that the majority of AMVs and whatnot are within the bounds of copyright infringement as they’re this type of creation. This pretty much represents the problem with protecting legitimate creativity. Most people are lazy and stupid (or at the very least very ignorant of the value of what they and every other emotionally frustrated 14 year-old is spewing into YouTube) and just make the same thing over and over again. If creativity could properly be separated from the repetitious drek then I think everyone on both sides of the equation could be satisfied.

  • July 5, 2008 at 10:57 pmreggie

    i was all for the video, but u don’t need a 1500 dollar computer to make user generated content, $300 basic pc will do the trick

  • July 5, 2008 at 11:06 pmSamurai Pumpkin

    You are a kick ass teacher.

  • July 5, 2008 at 11:13 pmReadarmon

    Oh, thank god, I thought I was the only one who stays up ’till 11:00 to watch Whose Line Is It Anyway. Thanks a lot, Natrone!

  • July 5, 2008 at 11:16 pmSayna

    Ah Copyright….
    An awesome (and dark) topic to address Natron-e. Have you seen the documentary ‘The Future of Food’ by anychance? It addresses the same idea except in a food context- how the copyrighting of DNA or genetically modified organisms are choking out strains of food that could save our lives in the future. It’s incredibly fascinating and frightening.
    But I digress, the topic of media copyright is the one at discussion. I believe many fans recognize that using anime to make personal cash is not only illegal, but morally incorrect. It is companies like Gonzo, who are beginning to recognize the internets resources and embrace our generations way of culture. I fully support this type of outreach. I do not support (manga websites, for example)that make a profit of people’s volunteer work. When I watch AMV’s, I consider it a way to experience new music and shows that I may not have seen before. It is, as the Prof said, amateur creativity; they aren’t making a profit, they are simply creating and wanting to share their creation with others.
    People are becoming more and more aware of how laws should be -changed-, not erased, but it will take some major democratic movements of the current generations to make that occur.

  • July 5, 2008 at 11:21 pmDm

    If people have all this time and technology to edit from videos, is it so difficult to make an original animated video, even if it’s 1 minute long? (Even 20 seconds of material would be acceptable).

  • July 5, 2008 at 11:40 pmmiden

    hah yeah 1500dollar pc XD~ anyways a great point being made here. very interesting read and hoep to see many more great articles/editorials like these!

  • July 5, 2008 at 11:43 pmlelangir

    reggie: I think free time is also a “first-wordly” thing (it’s also a primary thing lacking amongst workaholics) – free time that allows for this kind of creativity.

  • July 6, 2008 at 12:08 amPan2

    Great find, I thought the lecture was really insightful and fast paced. I love how he used a really avant-garde “rant” from John Phillip Sousa as one of the bases for his thesis.

    One thing I wish he had addressed, however, is how the original content in his examples where acquired in the first place, i.e. was it legitimately bought as a DVD/CD and ripped, or was it obtained illegal through, for example, a file sharing program or as a torrent? I want to assume that when Prof. Lessig talked about the “revival of our vocal chords” he means doing so by using original content, such as songs and videos, that where obtained through legal means, but I wish he would have been more specific. Maybe he just didn’t want to deal directly with things like file sharing and stealing original content, as it wasn’t the point of his lecture, which I don’t think anyone could really blame him for.

    This also stuck out at me when he was making the social commentary about how the “instinct” created by new technology can only be criminalized, driven underground, and a form of piracy, etc. Illegal downloads of music, movies and video games are already in this state, but these are obviously not forms of creativity.

    Also, I thought his point about achieving balance through competition was just brilliant. I’ve never been in the music industry, but it seems that the music industry, especially record labels and the RIAA, feel threatened by the internet and file sharing as much due to the fact that it gives artists the ability to distribute content without their vast distribution infrastructure as due to the fact that it is a medium that facilitates piracy. If artists could eliminate the “middleman”, as they say and as Lessig seems to hint at, the amount of income going to the artists themselves would increase dramatically, possibly to the point that they will not have to try to squeeze every cent they possibly can from end users, viewers, and listeners. This applies very much to the television and movie industries as well, with the prevalence of internet TV and such.

    Response to Natrone:
    “it’s okay to protect your cash cow but not by killing all the other cows on the pasture so that all the grass can only be eaten by your cow.”
    Lol and bravo.

    I haven’t the slightest idea what that Nico Nico thing is, but I did read the article about the take-down. I’ll agree that it’s pretty ridiculous given the nature of what they wanted taken down, but I really don’t understand why they where threatened by this content in the first place. Then again, I’ve never seen the content so I can’t really say much about it. As far as fans complaining about the loss of a source of this free entertainment, the users who made the videos are technically doing it for free, so the issue of entitlement would probably depend on 1.) whether or not said users bought the original content through legal means and 2.) if the viewers themselves have or will have contributed in some way to the creators of the ORIGINAL content portrayed in the user created content. That gets really really muddy, in a legal sense.

    The scope of copyright law seems to get really sticky when it comes to reinterpreting content and distributing it. I honestly think for now that artists should try to embrace new technology as a means to distribute their work, start cutting out record companies from the equation, and just crossing their fingers in hopes that user generated content will bring them more good then bad. Maybe in the future purchased content will come with some sort of key that is required to view user created content containing the original content? *shudder*

    Response to Lelanger:
    The lecture did seem a little bit elitist, maybe he was referring to the “kids” of the audience members, who would most likely come from a middle to upper socio-economic class? Still, I think that the realm of being “creative” and “contributing” does and will always correlate very closely to socio-economic class, but if that where to change or if the real and scope where to expand, their would have to be social change, not change in the copyright laws. I don’t think that was one of his points, though.

    Response to blind_assassin:
    Judging the quality and creativity of things like this is very subjective, and I think thing will rarely be quiet as black and white as the examples you give. But yeah, I’d like it as well if everything user generated was intelligent, well thought out, and unique, and I’m getting pretty sick of hearing “In the End” to every death scene in every Anime ever while looking for AMVs. Still, wouldn’t the more creative content simply be more popular and get more attention than the mashing of “5 minutes of Naruto clips and…Linkin Park”? It seems like competition could do this area good as well.

    Sorry for the long ass comment

  • July 6, 2008 at 12:45 amiEatedyou

    I would love to be your student. You’d be one kiss-ass teacher xD
    Do you show your students what you write here? :D

  • July 6, 2008 at 12:46 amiEatedyou

    Oh god.
    I meant Kick-ass. x.x Well, that turned out horrible. My apologies. x.x

  • July 6, 2008 at 12:57 amKen

    lol I just read the summery and the picture captions. xDD

    and that lil manga.

  • July 6, 2008 at 1:04 amHelen

    lovely – - I want a counter-video; not because I don’t agree with this one… I just want to see what the extremist on both ends think about this.

  • July 6, 2008 at 1:34 amblind_assassin

    @Pan2
    My examples were mainly of the random industry double standard of their search and destroy attitude toward borrowed anime content in comparison to the movie industry and their content. Not that movie and television companies haven taken a few swings at YouTube. Viacom (I think?) asked them to kill off all of the programs placed onto YouTube (largely Daily Show and Colbert Report clips) but those were full episodes. When the only comparison I can do is between something totally legitimate and something petty and irritating it just furthers the point. In fairness to the anime industry though, they aren’t nearly as big and profitable as things like Fox or Warner Bros. and can’t take the hits as in stride as they can.

    As for the subjectivity of creativity, it’s pretty much granted that it’s too subjective to work out a fair system to judge it. There are plenty of aspects of law where I’d rather amputate regions of defence for the sake of catching a larger number of legitimate criminals but when it comes to art I’d rather allow ten tonnes of crap for the production of an ounce of quality then just strain everything to the point of absurdity. On that note, I don’t begrudge crappily done work on the internet. If I don’t like it I just don’t bother with it. But when it’s crap and isn’t anything original at all then I’d rather let the companies rip the people apart and save their money. I mean, it’s not killing them but why should a band lose record (or more likely in the case of single songs, itunes sales) sales because some yob with a movie editor and a mic can steal 5 minutes of anime footage and a pair of songs and spent maybe 20 minutes making and uploading it? I’m not expecting anything I don’t think to be of creative value to be skimmed from the internet but I think that when someone makes what amounts to a fancy background for an illegal song download it should be recognised as illegal and not draw the ire of people that act like every industry owes them because they got a CD once as a birthday gift and they think that qualifies as a fair contribution to the music industry that justifies years of pirating.

  • July 6, 2008 at 2:06 amAndri

    i love the idea that you used photoshopped image from lovehina to teach your students. I wonder if you can share some of your resources that I can use for my classes as well.

  • July 6, 2008 at 2:44 amAmyable

    Holy crap. Great read–like, professional quality.

    Random tangent: my initial reaction to reading Natrone’s article was, “Wow, too bad he’s a HS teacher; his talents are being wasted” — is that overly cynical?

  • July 6, 2008 at 2:51 amFat Cat Lim

    Great commentary. I was also thinking about the latest news of Nico Nico Douga when I saw this video. You also see a lot similar arguments in the local video game industry (like you raised about Portal), where younger gamers don’t want to pay for games because they believe they are entitled to all entertainment for free. Even some older gamers still have this mentality, even though they are working adults and can pay for it. They forget that videogames and anime are a luxury, not a ‘right’.

  • July 6, 2008 at 3:27 amSeisouhen

    It’s not only about “he/she can afford to buy the entertainment but still chooses not to pay for the entertainment” i mean i would like to give the creator money to pursue creation more entertainment but out of the xxxxx i pay for entertainment only a really small percentage goes to the creator then i’d rather not pay at all.

  • July 6, 2008 at 3:45 amhmmm

    First of all COPYRIGHT issue is a massive grey area. Each country has different copyright laws. I download and buy lots of products be it movies manga games etc… i notify that by downloading it is illegal hence if i really like something or feel bad for the creators i tend to go and buy it, they deserve the money. I’ve also set myself a law for downloading music, i cannot in any case download a whole album (unless is itunes where your purchase things) by doing this if i want to hear the whole album i have to purchase the CD’s. I think the reason why people download and edit content in the first place is because its free, its easy and there is a very small penalty.

    from what i understand about copyright:
    1) Downloaded content without the permission of the original creator or publisher is illegal. (Anime, manga, movies, programs, music etc…)
    2) Editing content which is not your own is not illegal however publishing it without the will of the original creator/ publishers is. (IE you can edit it for your own personal use but to publish it you need permission from the original creator)
    3) Referencing original content without acknowledging the original creator/ publishers is. This is why logos on t-shirts are usually black out of blurred and McDonald’s is usually spelt funny eg WcDondals (To not get blurred or censored you need get release forms from the original creator)
    4) Creating your own content (means you created 100% of it EG fan art means you drew the original line art colored etc…) based on someone else’s work is not illegal however if the original creator wants you to remove it from the public eye you are obliged to. EG South Park’s Tom cruise in the closet episode, its their original content however Tom Cruise was unhappy with the way they portrayed him, hence it was banned. Then is was unbanned, pfft…
    5) Viewing and downloading content if the original creator has given permission is legal. (EG Radiohead’s- In Rainbows downloads, how gonzo allowed streaming)

    I have more to say but my comments seems to keep going and going. And i got work to do. NOTE do not quote me on my understanding of copyright i wrote it in like 5 mins+ and haven’t read it though yet. In conclusion I would not touch copyright with a 9000 foot pole. Its too grey and needs a lot of amendments.

    To be 100% on the safe side don’t download unless you have permission from the original creator don’t edit other peoples work and be original and create your own content.

    arggh shit i need to do some work. Sorry for the long comment. Why NATRONE did you have to pick copyright! ok i must STOP typing!

  • July 6, 2008 at 6:11 amNacmac

    Thank you for a well-written and thought-provoking article, but…

    “In a perfect world, in my opinion, the line between creator and user is blurred beyond recognition, such that people who make something would have no problem with someone else taking what they have made and remaking it in a new and interesting way for profit or otherwise.”

    I take it you’re not a creator. If you were you would never make such a facile comment. So a creator (artist, writer, designer etc.) spends YEARS honing their skills, pooling experiences and ideas to create a work of ART and you then expect them to be happy about some talentless anonymous with an illegal copy of Adobe After Affects coming along and mashing it up? You think creators are separate from companies? You think that creators don’t support their employers enforcing copyright laws to protect their intellectual property on their behalf? You astonish me.

    “Ideally, the original creator would then be motivated to create something even MORE interesting in order to compete, but sadly, humanity is typically too selfish and lazy to do this.”

    My God what a reprehensible arguement. So you’re advocating the theft of intellectual property because it might encourage artists to be more creative? You extol the virtue of creativity in one paragraph then completely devalue it in the above asinine comment. You think a creator who invests his time and effort creating what he/she considers to be their best work might not like the idea of anonymous taking their work and bastardising it because they’re too selfish and lazy? Holy hell you shouldn’t be teaching children anything.

    Criminalizing creativity? Hacking together fansubs is creative? More creative or of equal value to the original artist, writer and designer of the original work? Really?

  • July 6, 2008 at 7:00 amNatrone

    @blind_assassin
    That’s some grade A quasi-intellectual rambling right there. When you’re trying to make an educated point it works a lot better if you pour the effort into what you’re actually saying rather than just bloating it with rampant and unnecessary circumlocution.
    As I mentioned before, I’m long-winded. I think it comes with being a teacher. I can’t remember a single teacher who I never once felt bored listening to as they rambled about SOMETHING. At least, I try to not be sesquipedalian (I mean, circumlocution? seriously?)….

    @iEatedyou
    Do you show your students what you write here?
    Actually, for reasons of job security, I prefer not to reveal to my students that I write here (and I know for a fact that some of them do read this anime blog). I mean I have already written about them on several occasions, and I was taught as a teacher that whenever one writes about one’s students in a non-professional setting, confidentiality must be maintained if one wants to retain one’s job. Sure, there might be clues to who I am (like the recreated comic I posted at the end of the article), but I would not carelessly post something if I thought it would expose me at work so easily (i.e. the special ed kids who saw the comic are not reading this website….trust me…).

    @Andri
    Resources I have personally made (including but not limited to worksheets, tests, powerpoint lectures, flash animations) can be found on the internet if you look hard enough for it. For the sake the confidentiality mentioned just above, though, I’d rather not link to anything here. Sorry…

    @Amyable
    Some people would say that high school is exactly where talents like the ones I have are needed….

    @Seisouhen
    Even if the creator only gets a small fraction of the money from the corporations for their creations, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to pay at all. Then the creator gets NO money… That’s the whole point of bringing up the story about one of my students and Portal. The system of how creators gets money needs to be changed, but that doesn’t mean you get to circumvent giving money at all as a way of saying “screw you” to the current system. Modern society finds it so much easier to toss things away than to take something and rework and change it, which is what I’m advocating for here. To use Code Geass, we need more of a Suzaku approach as opposed to a Lelouche approach….(we all love Lelouche, but that’s because he’s a fictional character, and his ways are impractical to the real world: something to idealize but not realize)…

    @Nacmac
    As I just mentioned above, I’ve created several things from scratch, as a teacher, including worksheets, tests, and powerpoint lectures, which I have gladly shared with many other teachers who have taken my works and altered them to fit their own classrooms.

    You are specifically quoting a final thought where I am idealizing the situation, which is frankly silly, because even I note that such a situation is rather impossible in the editorial. I mean, I was pretty much painting a Star Trek-type Utopia where there’s no hunger or poverty (at least in the heart of the Federation). Several paragraphs before, I mention how creators (both individuals and companies) have every right to be upset when their intellectual properties are altered (manga artist not liking to see their characters raped in doujinshi; bands not wanting their songs associated with images in an anime).

    I’m not advocating that creators should allow their intellectual properties to be stolen. I am saying how it would nice if humans as a whole would change their thinking on proprietorship and be more willing to allow their creations to be altered (i.e. the manga artist NOT having a problem with depictions of their characters having sex in a doujinshi or bands NOT caring about their music being associated with images in an anime). Likewise, it would be nice if humans would not be lazy and selfish to profit off of this (i.e. someone taking someone else’s creative work, making a minor change by putting their name on it instead of the original, and then selling it). Again, the end of the article was, I’ll admit, uncharacteristically idealistic and optimistic about what humanity could be….

  • July 6, 2008 at 10:35 amKaminaLives

    I lol’d at the Vampire Hunter D AMV. Brilliant in a mindlessly funny sorta way. Going back to Valve, I really dislike how they marketed their Orange Box (basically screwing over fans like me who had purchased their earlier boxed sets that already included Half-Life 2, and jacking up prices for individual downloadable games on their Steam network) but I didn’t go out of my way to steal Portal or anything (I just mooched off my friend’s PS3 Orange Box whenever I dropped by).

    All I can add to the whole internet and copyright issue is that the Net is here to stay and it’s the future of distributing content. Companies can either get with the program and try to utilize (and profit) from it like Apple and their iTunes gameplan, or they can rant and rail and sue people left and right while trying to stop the 10,000 pound unstoppable gorilla that is the Internet and alienating their customer fanbase in the process.

  • July 6, 2008 at 10:52 amGamen

    Not only should never make a rule that you aren’t willing to enforce, you should never make one you are willing to enforce but can’t. The latter makes you look just impotent as the former.

  • July 6, 2008 at 11:25 amfalconx0101

    Wow, I am so jealous that I never had you as a teacher. I should be getting ready to go to a party now but I just couldn’t look away from your article.

    Thanks for another thought provoking article!

  • July 6, 2008 at 1:09 pmMiha

    @Natron-e:

    “If a company clamps down on derived works, like MADs and AMVs, mostly because they do not want to compete with said derived work, then they are being lazy, selfish, and ignorant.”
    This is truly a hypothetical situation; it’s not commonplace and you shouldn’t promote it as if it were. Copyright, among other things, protects the copyright holder’s/creator’s control of said product. Control is an important issue and you’ve outlined it as such with your muffin top example. However, as derivate content creators use works the way they do, they are violating the creators’ most basic rights of retaining control over their works. This point has been trivialized into nothingness because our generations are too eager to label copyright management companies as evil entities. We idealize creation and distribution without middlemen, yet at the same time we’re forgetting these works wouldn’t change much without middlemen, but we’re still disrespecting the creators by breaking these laws.

    “I concluded, then, that Valve took a chance with hiring them and that if more big companies like Valve hired on small-time game developers with great ideas like the Portal team, then we’d get a lot more cool games, and thus, said companies should be financially supported in such a practice.”
    Haven’t you ever heard of scouts? Take the doujin scene for example. Scouts scour through it daily to uncover new talent and give them a job. Environments for user-created works should be nothing more than affordable exhibition platforms. YouTube is now rewarding their users with real money. This is only making the problem worse as now copyright management companies have a new enemy. Not only is this user-generated content taking away consumer attention, it’s now also getting a share of their advertisement opportunities. Take the Japanese doujin industry for example: some estimate doujin industry has almost a quarter share in the overall “otaku” industry. That is a lot of money people could be spending on corporate goods. Japan has an overkill variety of content because the Japanese know how to handle their creators and user base: corporate-funded creators are not paid a whole lot of money, they have the doujin industry to scout for new talent, so they offer fresh material and employ an enormous amount of creators; unline the U.S. industry where only a handful of people make it into the mainstream. So why did they close down NicoNico Douga and delete all those parodies instead of going after physical doujin-derivate-works creators? Certainly not because that would save them a whole of money, more likely it was to retain control over their product and, at the very worst, teach their users that there are legitimate ways and platforms how they can showcase their talent. I’ve been fansubbing for almost five years now and I’ll never be able to put all those karaoke works down on my resume because I’ve been pouring my skills into the wrong pool.
    The two points nobody wants to recognize is that corporate copyright management companies are beneficial services to creators because they make more money for them in the long run. And second, they protect creators’ interests as artists. Where they need to improve, though, is to expand the scouting field and in the process level the user-generated content to less destructive platforms. They also need to lower prices of their products and make them readily available to everyone (globalization hasn’t exactly kicked in in this sense, hasn’t it?).

  • July 6, 2008 at 1:51 pmTmoo

    i believe selfishness comes with the creative work. humans want others to praise them for what they’ve accomplished, right? supposedly, copyright is supposed to protect that. artists are always selfish about their creations in one way or another, with a few exceptions. especially professionals, or people who’ve spent a length of time in their field, feel this way when they see others using their work, be it for a new composite work or otherwise. i’m not saying it’s a good thing, but that’s how humans are. we love being selfish attention whores – take nacmac for example.

    IMHO, anyone who wants to be truly creative has more freedom to do so without the industrial side to it, without having to worry about deadlines, income, public response, etc. If you want to make something, do it, and don’t give a damn about what others think. That means, (zomg!) that you have to have another profession to hold you up financially. I doubt all the theater and fine arts majors will like that.

  • July 6, 2008 at 1:58 pmNatrone

    @Miha
    In terms of scouting, the idea is that with an incredibly powerful technology-based distribution platform like the internet, we could eliminate the scouts, middlemen, etc.

    Should we? I actually never said in my article one way or another about this.

    I did reference how some current middlemen-corporations are abusing the current set of laws. I prefaced that with the notion of how individual creator have an absolute right to control how their works are reproduced, distributed, and manipulated (or not manipulated).

    Although I did not explicitly say so, I thought it would make sense (and, thus, I thought the reader would assume) that if an individual creator WANTS a large corporate middle-man entity to govern the use of their copyright (because such a group has much more resources to do so) then that’s also the right of the creator.

    Nevertheless, the larger entities are not without fault. You even mentioned some improvements they can make at the end of your comment. At the end of my article, I idealistically pondered on improvements to the individual creator’s mindset on how to handle their own creations.

    The main point is that with the current technology and culture surrounding that technology, I’m not advocating a change to how the technology is handled or a revision of the culture itself (which is basically what happens when copyrights laws are enforced to the letter of the law), I’m advocating a change in the law and the system by which creative properties are distributed and handled after creation. You seem to be advocating a similar stance, albeit in a different path that I’m thinking of…

  • July 6, 2008 at 2:07 pmomo

    I’m commenting just to talk about Lelanger’s point about the digital divide. Please just note that Lessig’s perspective is as true as in the early 1900s as well as the 2000s. “Read-write” culture is technologically indifferent. What technology does is make new ways to do this read-write thing. I mean, he makes the point in parallel with the development of the radio industry. And you definitely do not need a $1500 computer to upload crappy youtube AMVs, even in 2006. I know this for a fact.

    Second, this speech is a part of TED, which is basically a very elitist conference for big corporate execs so its naturally pointing to a rich and older audience. Visit TED’s website for more information.

    I think what is most important about Lessig’s spiel is to understand the heart and thrust of the argument. Notice how he contrasts creators who do it because they love it, versus people who do it because of the money.

  • July 6, 2008 at 2:12 pmomo

    “The two points nobody wants to recognize is that corporate copyright management companies are beneficial services to creators because they make more money for them in the long run. And second, they protect creators’ interests as artists. Where they need to improve, though, is to expand the scouting field and in the process level the user-generated content to less destructive platforms.”

    This is just bullshit.

    1. No, you do not know if they make more money in the long run. Making money is ultimately tangetial to copyright policy. What copyright policy dictates is who makes the money.

    2. I’m sorry, but as important as protecting a creator’s works, there are limits to it. Just because William Shakespeare hates me doesn’t mean he should have the right to forbid me from quoting him, for example. I agree that some control is good to have but control, ultimately, leads to stagnation and death of the form. The heart of Lessig’s message is exactly this.

  • July 6, 2008 at 4:04 pmMiha

    @omo:

    1. So you are saying you know better? Corporate entities like Dentsuu, despite being monopolies, have a developed a network of advertising outlets which they can utilize to promote works on a national or even global level. An individual cannot easily get access to such networks. I think you’re underestimating corporate influence or you’re just disregarding reality for the sake of your argument.

    2. This is only your opinion, you don’t have to be sorry. My opinion is that if copyright holders (whether it’s the actual creators or management companies) support places where new ideas and content can flourish and consequently give us accessible and affordable products (at reasonable prices for the current media consumer age), then there simply wouldn’t be any need for things like piracy, which is one of the underlying topics of this post. If copyright holders better themselves by posting guidelines for user-created content (some Japanese creators already have this!), then this issue would come to a close. So this debate is putting pressure on copyright holders, which is a Good Thing, but I’m not looking for a direct fight with content-creation industries, them being evul overlords that run our lives by limiting creativity. You can change the way copyright holders think and we’re slowly achieving success, but when this fight is over I’d like to see people giving out more respect to creators than thinking of them as the defeated relics of the past.

  • July 7, 2008 at 4:10 amItAintEazy

    For the record, the song Wierd Al was parodying was “Riding Dirrty” by Chamillionaire. If you listen closely, it’s actually a subversive song about riding while black.

  • July 7, 2008 at 5:15 amEK

    Thank you for the lecture. At least this is one guy who has teenagers at home or has talked to his students, and has thought about the problem. Which is loads better than some of the action we’ve all seen for music and anime.

  • July 7, 2008 at 4:53 pmLo Phong

    You know, you can turn the comments off on Nico Nico Douga. You don’t even need to read Japanese to see the button that actually looks like it might turn off the comments. That’s how I figured it out. Aren’t you a teacher? Should be smarter than me, and I figured out how to do it in like 10sec. I don’t always like the comments either, that’s why I turn them off. “Common Sense” I guess it’s in short supply these days. I have to say though, I like the NND player a lot better than youtube, it’s got some nifty options, I’ve also seen videos where the comments actually enhance what you are seeing like with subtitles and emoticons. If youtube had an option for that, it would be pretty interesting. I dunno, maybe I’m different I like to see different takes on technology, I like to see different cultures push technology in different ways. There are some interesting Indian video sites also. Nothing wrong with different, is there?

  • July 7, 2008 at 8:06 pmNatrone

    @Lo Phong:

    This is what you wrote
    You don’t even need to read Japanese to see the button that actually looks like it might turn off the comments. That’s how I figured it out. Aren’t you a teacher? Should be smarter than me

    This is what I originally wrote, with a particular part emphasized
    Frankly, having incomprehensible Japanese comments flying across the screen while trying to watch a video sounds about as appealing to me as waiting in line inside a poorly ventilated hallway for an hour-delayed Masquerade Contest amidst a bunch of impatient anime fans who haven’t showered or brushed their teeth in two days at an anime convention (yes, I know you can turn the comments off, but still…)

    I was mostly making a joke, since I do find it funny how the Japanese seem to revel in the idea of letting people make comments all over a video to the point where it becomes unviewable….I don’t think Americans would do that….So, I guess I was also trying to make a referential point about cultural differences….

  • July 7, 2008 at 8:32 pmKadian1364

    Phew! Finally got around to reading through the article/viewing the linked videos/digesting the comments. Great article Natrone. Your an example of how your passions don’t have to die simply because you “grew up”.

    To leave my thoughts without completely rehashing what’s already been said here, we all believe creation and original thinking are boons to society, a lot of which spawn a couple truly great creations that can raise the standards of culture. The debate is to what degree can individuals take inspiration from or rework the creations of others without infringing on the rights of the original creator.

    My opinion (forgive my highly idealistic and optimistic attitude) is that those inspired persons should freely be able to create anything short of functional carbon-copies. There is real value in even 14-year-olds mixing up Naruto clips set to Linkin’ Park songs, because they are exercising their basic interpretive and creative skills on the imagery presented, and by combing two otherwise unrelated sources make something of their own. The mere act of creating is meritorious in it of itself, stated before that it’s beneficial to society as breeding pools where real innovation and utility will distinguish themselves. If everyone realizes and considers this value first, the conclusion to this debate could be reached rapidly.

    To think about the issue another way, isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery? Especially in an “amateur culture”, spawning copycats is the greatest sign of success. Isn’t the whole of civilization based upon someone, taking the work or thoughts of another, and innovating or improving that thought or work? “Nothing under the Sun is original” is a phrase used to mean that any piece of art or writing is just a mixture of the ideas and works that came before and influenced it’s creator, and those originals were in turn inspired by the writings and arts before them. Woe be humanity if we never thought to progress beyond discovering fire or inventing the wheel.

    The point is, society should highly value creativity and in turn highly regard those channels which promote it, rather than fearing competition and cutting down possible threats. Again, my viewpoint is highly idealistic and optimistic, where humanity is beyond the state of merely surviving and attempting more sophisticated goals like attaining enlightenment or fulfillment.

  • July 7, 2008 at 11:39 pmPenguin

    First of all, thank you for the great lectures, no matter how long they look at first, they are always interesting. And I agree, The MAD and AMV copyright crackdown sounds like a huge step backwards for free distribution. Stage 6 is a great example: one day it held thousands of amazing and high-quality AMVs (although it also held piles of copyrighted anime as well…) and the next day its cleaned out, shut-down and all the videos lost. Many of those videos turned me on to some of my now favorite animes- just with a few seconds of video and a catchy song. If the YouTube crackdown mentioned in the video actually happens, there will be a huge uproar from the user community. Going back to the Stage6 incident, many of my favorite (and quite talented) MAD creators decided to ‘quit doing stuff like this’ because all their hard work was being banned and deleted like they were contagious diseases. They may try to ‘protect their creative property’ but in the end it just stifles creativity and makes people more rebellious. (You know those places in anime, think the hacker town in the .hack series, doesn’t that seem like a bleak future for creative minds in the next generation of the internet?) Now I’m in no way innocent of ‘pirating’ some of the anime that I’ve come to love and support, but alot of it is a question of avaliability for me. Yes, I don’t have the money, but that wouldn’t stop me from saving up if they were only avaliable in the States. (has anyone else been shocked by the prices of anime over here? I saw an $80 box set, or a 6 disc set sold for $24 a disc!) Special orders and such sound good, but one or two bad experiences with ebay and the like have broken my trust in mail-orders. I’m not ashamed to say I plan on continuing to download this anime, legal or not, just because it is my passion. If I learn Japanese one day(like so many ‘FAN’s and fans say they will), going to Japan for college (what better place to learn computer graphic design?) would be an option that lets me watch all the anime I could want for the price of cable tv. But enough about my own rant, I’d like to thank you for your time spent on this topic, and I’m glad to know that there are people who actually put in time and think about this kind of stuff out there.
    Plus I hope you know that there are a few young people out here who like anime and are mature and thoughful about it, but lets not kid ourselves, this group is small XD

    I’m looking forward to more insight Natrone!

  • July 9, 2008 at 8:57 amdodobrain

    I don’t have anything constructive to add, but could someone tell me if there is a “full” version of that AMV on youtube or a similar website? I would love to watch it as a whole.

  • July 9, 2008 at 1:52 pmTP

    I’d say: if there is somebody who’s as passionate about anime and still comes out intelligent, that’d be you.

    When I read Miha’s responses to your argument, I kept thinking, “Wasn’t the idea of remix the supposed ‘democratization’ of how, what, when and where our culture should derived?”

    I can understand the need for the content creators (thank God somebody actually used the same term to divide those that created content, and those who own it a.k.a. The Big Content) to exercise their right of control. Then again, the copyright wars (which I finally decided to put a name on all the *AA-acronymed litigation battles with individuals and other associations with it) are all about control, and who’s able to get what.

    A lot of what I want to discuss has been covered by Lawrence Lessig, so I would not rehash it again. By that account, that means that the British-based Performing Rights Society would’ve been a joke: censuring people because they sing “Happy Birthday” loud enough to be heard by other people within hearing distance? NO COMMON SENSE!

    BTW what is your opinion of Matt Mason’s “The Pirate’s Dilemma?” I’ve read the book in its entirety, and while some of his ideas are literally taken out from a Cory Doctorow’s novel (a 3D printer?), I think he has a point. To mix it up with Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail,” it’s how the Internet has “truly democratize” the way we create, distribute and advertise our content.

    Oh, and speaking of why there isn’t anyone using new technologies to create an original series instead of a mashup, wasn’t there a Japanese director that used to do solo work, and voice acting is done by both him and his wife?

  • July 10, 2008 at 8:04 amninjikiran

    Im going to be short and simple, copyrights should be protected but the laws for both copyrighting and patents is heavily flawed. The patent laws are what really stump creativity. Even with harsher copyright laws people are still allowed to be creative and to make their OWN content. Patent laws on the other hand are horrible, a random company that might not even really exist can make documents on a device. Leave it in limbo for a very long time with the intentions on suing someone if another person came up with a similar idea. This stunts creativity and advancement because instead of people makign the inventions they want to make they need to spend time making sure some idiot didn’t patent the idea with the very purpose of making money off of someone else coming up with a similar idea and the balls to make it a reality. Even small “obvious” things are patented, which undermine the actual meaning of a patent law.

  • July 26, 2008 at 11:06 amomo

    Late reply but I think it’s important to just address a couple points

    “1. So you are saying you know better? Corporate entities like Dentsuu, despite being monopolies, have a developed a network of advertising outlets which they can utilize to promote works on a national or even global level. An individual cannot easily get access to such networks. I think you’re underestimating corporate influence or you’re just disregarding reality for the sake of your argument.”
    I’m saying actually, yes, I know better :) In fact I highly suggest you check out some books out there. If you’re interested in how it works in America there are a lot of books on this copyright debate. Lessig’s book is a start.

    The problem is just because Dentsuu or another large media corporation can make money doesn’t mean this is the best way in the aggregate. I know for a fact that far majority of creators for those companies are actually not getting much of the overall profit because, as you say, individuals cannot easily get access to such networks. It’s one reason why Japanese animators are paid below the poverty line; they can’t even afford to buy the mass media crap they help produce. In the aggregate there may be much more money to be made (and by aggregate I mean not just the corporate middleman, but as consumers and creators as well) but due to fear of losing control, less is capitalized. But my point is also that such networks are irrelevant in terms of making money.

    “2. This is only your opinion, you don’t have to be sorry. My opinion is that if copyright holders (whether it’s the actual creators or management companies) support places where new ideas and content can flourish and consequently give us accessible and affordable products (at reasonable prices for the current media consumer age), then there simply wouldn’t be any need for things like piracy, which is one of the underlying topics of this post. If copyright holders better themselves by posting guidelines for user-created content (some Japanese creators already have this!), then this issue would come to a close. So this debate is putting pressure on copyright holders, which is a Good Thing, but I’m not looking for a direct fight with content-creation industries, them being evul overlords that run our lives by limiting creativity. You can change the way copyright holders think and we’re slowly achieving success, but when this fight is over I’d like to see people giving out more respect to creators than thinking of them as the defeated relics of the past.”

    I think you have the right idea, but the reasonable price for a lot of this should be at $0. When culture is at stake, free as in free speech is important. And you can’t have free speech if they’re going to charge money. The very basic lessig-esqe argument is that you cannot have innovation if a 3rd party is looking over your work and say “hey you’re just taking our idea and improving it” and then charge money. Because far majority of new things in this world came from improving the old.

    To foster creativity you do need the support and money of corporate entities, but there needs be limits to how far they can go. Things like DRM coupled with legal protection are subversive because they instill control without caring why someone may be breaking that DRM. And considering Japan is already harvesting a new generation of animators, mangaka and creators that comes from the doujinshi scene, they are reaping the benefit of that culture which exists upon the concept of freedom to use others’ copyrighted things without permission.

  • October 19, 2008 at 12:20 pmoutcast

    no more focal points?

  • December 7, 2008 at 6:15 pmbrianleung8912

    late reply…i hate reading… usually if i see a lot of writing i skip it,this is a pretty long blog, yet i was entertained enough to finish reading it. nicely written.

    comments on the points establishing on this blog tho… most human are selfish, we all got something we want. the coroperations obviously want profit, fans obviously want free entertainment, it is therefore hard to find a line for balancing, probably impossible. i myself is not a communist, at the same time i als olike my wallet to be big fat and full of cash,and im quite young and doesnt know how hard it is to earn money..rather immature probably.. so my comment probably will be biased towards da fans…. Before we go about changing the law (or sync it up as it said in da video), if the law was to change more in our favour, the companies will have less profit, and im sure most of the ppl that work in animation comapany will be demotivated, and new bloods that enter the industry will be people that work for anime because they love anime not because they love moneh… or probably love both..

    for me anime shud be made becaue people like watching anime, not SOLELY because they want money.. if they only get motivated by money, they will have a JOB not a CAREER… working for animation companies wud probably be one of my top career when i finish uni, whether or not i will be able to work for them, probably not.

    people like you (Natron-e), you probably became a teacher because u enjoy educating the next generation, and u feel good for doing so. the edit of love hina may be a prove of that. I had a teacher who became a teacher because she realised accounting is not her thing and she decided to teach accountant… i had a miserable 2 years wif her. If ppl like her is in the anime industry, i dread to think what our konata or ichigo, will look like in the anime, probably not very appealing.

    guess that was kind of off topic, and probably wont even get read because its so late… but im an uni student who just finish doing my CW… so i have time in my hand ^_^

    p.s. as much as i hate reading… i like ur blogs… do you still write for random curiosity, or you just too busy?

  • December 31, 2009 at 6:43 amCrespi

    I am impressed by the effort that went into your writing and the way you managed to keep the flow from Introduction of the topic to the summary. Do you think you might cover recent developments in marketing online or what are your thoughts about that.

    I look forward to reading more from you. Have a great week.