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No Effort Week: “Grow Up” or “Globalize or Die”

January 25th, 2011 by | Tags:

DVD and Blu-ray region coding are a form of protecting rights for each territory. Digital content (Internet streaming and digital download or EST (Electronic Sell-Through) is the new format. With every new format, standards and territory restrictions need to be set so every country licensing content (live action series, anime or movies) can have their rights protected and be able to sell for their specific territories.

(via Anime Simulcasts, Territory Rights and the Future | The Official FUNimation Blog.)

That’s Lance Heiskell, Marketing Director for FUNimation Entertainment, explaining the purpose DVD region coding serves. In case you missed it, here’s a brief summary of what led to his post:

1. Funimation licenses an anime for simulcasting in America and Japan
2. Anime is simulcast
3. Anime fans pirate it
4. Japanese rights holder tells Funimation that they can’t simulcast the anime until they shut down every pirate site

Can you spot the huge, glaring errors in that sequence? Let’s go down the list again:
1. Anime company does the smart thing and decides to try to get the anime to the fans simultaneous with the Japanese release
2. Anime company airs the anime for free
3. Anime fans prove themselves to be selfish, stupid clowns
4. Japanese rights holder decides to one-up them in stupidity with a good old “I’m taking my ball and going home!”

If you want people to buy your stuff, you have to 1) be more convenient than piracy and 2) deal with the fact that somebody is going to bootleg it. If you want to continue consuming stuff, especially stuff that costs you nothing, you should suck it up and do it the right way. Both sides here look like idiots, but the Japanese reaction is absurd. The fans got what they wanted and pirated it anyway, and the reaction from the rights holders was to remove the only legal way of watching their show. You know what that means?

That just means that everyone is going to pirate it, rather than some of the audience. That’s biting off your nose to spite your face. They’d have been better off taking the L, going after the pirate sites, and leaving the stream up.

But hey, when your business is based around old ideas like region coding. News flash: regions have been made obsolete. I run a crappy little comics blog that has readers in 155 of the 195 countries on planet Earth. I regularly speak with people in Europe, North America, South America, and Japan. I’m nobody and people from places I’ve never been to are checking for me. If I have readers all over, and I am the dictionary definition of “doesn’t matter,” what do you think your anime is going to have? People today are savvy enough to know what they want and where to get it. Region coding is just an obstacle, and no more difficult to leap over than, say, a small pebble in the street. Everything is just a link away.

It’s nice that you still have territory rights. It’s adorable. But it’s time to wake up and realize that your consumers hate it at best, and will actively bootleg your stuff because of it at worst. And, horror among horrors, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Sorry, Charlie.

Companies: Globalize or die.
Fans: Get over yourself and learn when somebody is trying to be on your side.

(of course, between writing this and getting it up, Fractale is back streaming, but my point stands.)

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16 comments to “No Effort Week: “Grow Up” or “Globalize or Die””

  1. “If you want people to buy your stuff, you have to 1) be more convenient than piracy”

    Is the real issue convenience? Or is the issue trying to get something for free?

    – Seafire


  2. @Seafire: Those are two separate issues, actually. Some people are not interested in paying at all and just hoard. Others are open to pirating, but are willing to pay if it’s easy to do.


  3. The real issue is that they licensed it FOR AMERICA, and at least one chunk of the pirated material beyond that was for regions who couldn’t see the streams. (I heard a few things about French subs of it, for instance.) Even though I can’t really defend region locks worth a shit, the whole thing is even more ludicrous from the Japanese side than it seems at first glance.

    To be honest a lot of Japan’s policy on media these days seems destined to shut down a hell of a lot of companies before some of them learn, though.


  4. I think convenience is AN issue, but I don’t think that it is the main issue; why buy something when you can get it for free? I don’t personally subscribe to that thinking but as youtube shows a lot of ppl to subscribe to that thinking.

    I don’t know too much about the anime market but I can see how convenience would be an issue, but I doubt it would be the main issue. Even if the shows become more convenient, unless there are proper remedies to protect the creator’s interests why wouldn’t ppl “steal” the anime?


  5. You are giving Funimation entirely to much charity. They’re streams are blurry 360p region locked with commercials. So not only is it the last thing you want in a visual medium it’s not free as you say. The entire thing stinks of a promotional stunt. The show is a dud, the Japanese know good and well the realities of piracy, and it’s back up and running.

    Bootleggers will always be jerks but that doesn’t mean Funi is coming out of this smelling like roses.


  6. G:

    So now it’s not JUST “I need it now”, it’s also “I need it in the highest possible video quality right this second, also I want you to not have any way whatsoever to make ANY money off of the work”.

    Please, please blow me, anime fan. You are the problem.


  7. @G: It is free, because nothing’s coming out of your pocket but time. Commercials cost you money? Really? And when did I say Funimation smells like roses here? C’mon, son. Change is coming, but it sounds like you don’t even want it.


  8. @Sub: Crunchy Roll manages HD streams of new shows that don’t look like ass. Problem is Funimation isn’t doing but the minimum of work here and as far as streaming goes they always have. It’s nothing more than a DVD commercial to them or hey look what we’re doing with notamina. I got them blurays on my shelf I got a crunchy roll account but I am begrudgingly forced to go to Funimation’s site to watch poor quality streams of notamina shows they are likely to never put out on DVD. Now I am a patient man but most people are not. If you want people to come to you over piracy you have to be better than it is, Funimation is not doing that.

    @david brothers: Time is money. No mater how you break it down watching an ad is paying for something. For years anime pirates have said “but they watch it on TV for free” to be met with “no they don’t have have to watch commercials.” Which is something I’m fine with I watch commercials and read ads all day but they aren’t putting forth anything worth the time. You say change is coming but it’s not me resisting it’s Funimation.


  9. @G: I actually find the Crnchyroll to not only be more obnoxious, you can’t even mess with the volume on the player when a commercial comes on, which really sucks when you’re wearing headphones and the ads are twice as loud as the show you’re watching. Maybe you don’t get the commercials if you do subscribe to Crunchyroll’s services, I don’t know. But if it’s as free as you want it to be, both Crunchyroll and Funi, and Viz Media for that matter, are all giving the same service.


  10. @G: Crunchyroll’s HD streams are pay-only, if you watch it without a paid account all you get is the low-quality stream. While Funimation isn’t providing a 720p stream, it also isn’t asking you for money.

    It wasn’t that long ago that fansubs at 640×480 resolution were considered pretty damn good, so it’s funny to see people complaining about quality even regardless of the whole legit anime vs pirated stuff.


  11. @SDShamshel: Not to mention fansubs distroed via RealPlayer and only available in arcane IRC rooms full of people going !list. I think that makes us old men, but I’m sure someone out there is about to chime in with some talk about sixth generation fansub VHS tapes that date all the way back to 1988 in Austin or something!


  12. @G: On the other hand, Crunchyroll makes me wait a week for shows I want to watch unless I pay them. Funimation is getting stuff out within the day it airs overseas, no charge. That shit has kept me from going through a few shows on there because I like to marathon stuff to catch up and then I get through 2 episodes and “whoops gotta find this on Youtube now to chat with friends”.

    I like Crunchyroll! They have a few series this season I’m trying out. But they gimp things just as much, and more blatantly.


  13. @david brothers: lol Silverwind game proper.


  14. Hmmm So when is the Brothers Toei/Funimation/SDK takeover similar to the Stark/Fujikawa one happening?

    You thought Afro Samurai and Akira were hot? Just wait till David gets unlimited capital and 2 or 3 of today’s hottest writers and storyboardists together for his tale!

    We can dream but I bet it would be a One Piece meets Demon City type tale only in a major techno-punk style….

    (Yep I had to go there!) :smile:


  15. The point here is quality.
    Funi dont have it (360p lol).
    And the Crunchyroll 720p is below par.
    So fansub is the better option and I am not defending piracy but if there is demand there is gonna be fansub groups.
    You have to release something that is better than the fansubs is the only way.
    And free, so you dont have a premium member uploading the files 5 minutes after.


  16. […] Brothers analyzed the incident at 4thletter and concluded that both sides look bad — the fans, for pirating something they were […]