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The World Gone Mad PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 March 2008 04:49

Yaaar!So you've all read the rumblings around the 'net that piracy is killing anime - the Japanese producers say it, the US releasing companies say it, and the UK releasing companies have also been quick to point out the problems it's causing them. But the true fans are doing their best to rally round and come up with ideas to make legit product more appealing to the casual fans who are more easily tempted by free downloads.

In the midst of this, a venture capital firm by the name of Venrock (website here - I love the quote that they represent "all that is good in the VC world") has seen fit to invest US$4.05 million into streaming-video website Crunchyroll. A site whose sole money-making "product" is streaming fansubs - or to put it another way, illegally-obtained media. (Okay, they have one legally-acquired title on the site - it's a short from the Flash animated series that later became Eagle Talon The Movie - The Chancellor Only Lives Twice.) Even fansub groups don't like the site, complaining that Crunchyroll profiting from their translations without permission or without sharing the profits (and the irony of this complaint shouldn't escape anyone) - but what's amazing is that it's survived so long without any sort of takedown efforts by either the US or Japanese releasing companies. If the copyright holders aren't going to do anything to stop them, is it any wonder that venture capital funds are going to see them as a legitimate money-making prospect?

The Maker knows that I'm no angel when it comes to copyright - there are areas of online media where I've taken a less-than-ethical approach at times. But anime is one area where I've always followed the rules, and the size of my DVD collection will attest to that. Particularly at a time when the anime industry is struggling, this is not what we need, and I hope that the companies whose content is being pillage by Crunchyroll and its ilk will finally step up to the plate and say that enough is enough.


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