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Legal Implications of Anime Pirating
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Posted 5/12/13 , edited 5/12/13
1.
I don't remember anything.

2.
I don't know why my hard drives are in the microwave.

3.
I require council and wish to remain silent.

Edit:
Have a recorder/phone in pocket, if they don't correctly say your rights during arrest or tell you what you're being charged for, you have a good chance the case will get tossed. KEEP THIS INFORMATION TO YOUR SELF and only tell legal counsel while in private.



If you win the lottery and this happens, you can now sue for false imprisonment, unlawful confinement, assault, excessive use of force, mental anguish, compensation for loss of income, racial profiling, physical injuries, damage to reputation, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, such as lawyers' fees, and deprivation of rights caused by the loss of liberty.




Think I got them all.
I just google stuff. Not a real lawyer.
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Posted 5/12/13
Entertainment is worth as much or as little as the audience decides it is. If that is nothing, tough! Entertainment producers need to consider that they are making something frivolous, not food, clothing or shelter, and stop calling potential future customers nasty names like pirate and thief.
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Posted 5/12/13
1. What are the chances of one being even caught?

Depends upon how you pirate, and depends upon if the company you are pirating from cares enough to crack down on it. If you torrent, the only thing a company has to do to catch you is to connect to the same torrent as you, record your IP address, and contact your ISP. There are, of course, ways around this, but you need to be tech saavy to utilize them. Needless to say, I will not be discussing them here.

My roommate got caught for pirating a SINGLE SONG (owned by a US company). They contacted our ISP and we got a nasty email from our ISP telling us that we had to go to some website and pay $40 as part of settlement. Ignoring the email would result in legal prosecution. (maximum fine $150,000 and 10 years prison, IIRC). This is more common amongst US companies. But Japanese companies could do so as well (as the US complies with international copyright treaties). They simply haven't chosen to do so (yet). Why don't they? Maybe because they don't want to piss off their fans. Maybe because they don't have employees who are familiar with the US copyright system. Maybe they want to focus on cracking down on the Japanese citizens who make the infringing material available. I have no idea, but I do know that they have been getting more aggressive on cracking down in recent months, at least according to the BBC.

I personally feel it is only a matter of time before they start harvesting IP addresses of infringers and automatically send complaints to ISPs, who then forward the complaints to customers who then have to pony up or go to jail.

2. If the answer above is none or barely any, do you think that there should be an effort made by the anime industry to enforce some sort of an anti-anime piracy law?

No. An anti-anime piracy law is unneeded. Existing copyright infringement legal frameworks are more than enough to dissuade piracy.

3. Do you think it's alright (morally or legally) for these people to download/stream illegal anime that is NOT licensed by Crunchyroll?

By definition, illegally streaming anime is not alright legally ;)

Morally, though, I *personally* believe that it is alright to "pirate" anime if it is not licensed in your country/language. I also personally believe that if a company doesn't want their IP to be infringed, they have a moral obligation to meet the demands of the market before seeking legal action. It is immoral, in my opinion, to acquire intellectual property and then sit on it without making use of it at all.

4. If you ever did or still illegally stream/download anime, do you feel guilty about it?

No, but I used to. You see, back when I illegally streamed/downloaded/torrented anime, I WANTED to support the companies that produced them. But I had no way of acquiring the anime legally with the funds that I had. Seriously, several thousand dollars just to watch Naruto? No way is that a fair price, nor is it something one can afford on a minimum wage job. That's why I was overjoyed when I learned about Crunchyroll. Legal anime fansubs for a perfect price point? How could I say no? I picked up an annual subscription at Crunchyroll despite the fact that I continued to acquire my anime through torrents. In time, my hard drive started filling up, so I started torrenting less and less and streaming from CR more and more.

I don't torrent at all anymore, and get all of my anime from CR (though I may pick up a subscription at Funimation so I can see the new season of Railgun). I am more than happy to pay for my anime, and in fact do so now that I am earning more money. It is my personal belief that the vast majority of people who pirate would actually prefer to have a legal alternative - it's just that they don't know about it, or have no means to pay for it.
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Posted 5/12/13
1. What are the chances of one being even caught?

Low, depending on your country and habits. Even if you are "caught" it's extremely unlikely you'll be prosecuted since it's very difficult to prove copyright infringement in court. If you're outside the U.S., Japan, or certain European countries (U.K., Spain, France) you may as well not worry about it at all.

2. If the answer to the above is none or barely any, do you think that there should be an effort made by the anime industry to enforce some sort of an anti-anime piracy law?

No. Like all entertainment industries, enforcing anti-piracy always creates a net loss. It's much more profitable to introduce new markets and better serve your customers than to spend money on lobbying and ineffective enforcement measures. There has never been a proven connection between enforcing copyright law and increased profits for any industry.

3. Do you think it's alright (morally or legally) for these people to download/stream illegal anime that is NOT licensed by Crunchyroll? I've seen a lot of posts that insult others for pirating anime that CR actually does license, but I haven't seen someone criticize another for illegally watching anime that CR does not license.

I absolutely think it is moral. Culture is not something that can be "owned" and we've done ourselves a huge disservice by propagating this myth. Historically, artists were never paid for their "content," they were paid for their "service." It's only in the last hundred years that we've decided people get to own their ideas and the concept is silly when inspected since all ideas are built off the ideas of others. Culture is collaborative by nature, and with the internet we've created a potentially global culture.

Legally? I live in the U.S....everything is illegal. I break four laws going to work every day, and three more coming home. We've made so many laws they're meaningless. I don't know a single person who doesn't break at least one law per day (although many of them don't realize they're even doing it). And no, I'm not just talking about speeding.

I've never considered what's legal and what's moral as being remotely connected. It's illegal to speed. It's immoral for a system that allows speed traps and makes it cost more to fight the ticket, even if you're innocent, than just to pay it. That's not law enforcement, that's robbery. Copyright laws are even worse...you can get robbed by private companies, it's not even the government doing it.

So, do I consider it immoral to access something that I'm told is stealing when it's impossible to be stolen? No, I'm not a moron. Do I consider it illegal? Of course. This post is probably breaking some sort of law. Whatever.

4. If you ever did or still illegally stream/download anime, do you feel guilty about it?

No. I don't care if it's licensed or not either because I don't believe someone else gets to decide what computer format I get to access information in. Crunchyroll is fine for watching anime when it comes out but I still download it all because I want to watch stuff in 1080p without having to wait 10 minutes for it to buffer every time, or on the airplane, or on my tablet, or when my internet is down and I have nothing else to do, and I don't want to buy obsolete physical media which may or may not be available to do so. I'd have to break the DMCA to rip the DVDs anyway. I also don't like the idea of CR going out of business or removing my favorite series and losing access to it (*cough* screw you, Netflix).

CR is handy, and I pay for it because I support what they're doing, but as a service they're still way below what I expect from modern technology. They don't have all the series that I want, their subtitles are worse translations than fansubs, they're online only, and they censor their anime. So, points for being legit, negative points for still being a substandard offering. I mainly support CR to encourage more legitimate outlets that offer bonuses, like no commercials (screw Hulu), for subscribing. If they offered uncensored anime and no-DRM download links I'd easily pay twice as much, but distributors are determined to keep piracy alive because otherwise they'd have no excuse for being noncompetitive.
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Posted 5/12/13

kilikikero wrote:

Piracy is disrespectful to the original creators, which is why I've always been against it. Basically you're telling the creators that they can't decide the circumstances for how people view their works. The twisty reasoning to justify piracy has become so ingrained in Western fandom, though, that you can't really reason with people about it. If only the anime industry had protected their copyrights upfront, like Nintendo did for video games back in the 80's, then maybe the culture would be totally different and fans would have an expectation that they're supposed to pay in order to enjoy their media. But that didn't happen, and now the anime industry basically has to give their AAA content away for free in the West just to compete with the pirates. That's what happens when you have an emboldened and unrestricted culture, though.


WTF is this? Funniest thing I've read all day. Are you being sarcastic?

We have an emboldened and unrestricted culture, and that's a bad thing? By that logic we need to work on creating a timid and restricted culture, right?

I have some questions for you...what is your definition of "piracy"? Is it copyright infringement? Counterfeiting? What about international law? Can you pirate something that you can't legally purchase? Why do creators get to decide how others use their work? I created this post. If someone quotes it, can I decide how they get to respond? Or forbid people from viewing it on Mac computers? Or forbid people from outside the U.S. to read it? If not, why does the creator of an anime get that right and I don't?

Also, in what way is the AAA industry giving their stuff away for free? If I want to buy all 24 episodes of Cowboy Bebop I have the option of shelling out $230 to Amazon for the DVDs, at a mere ~$10 per episode (assuming I don't buy it used, which the original creator doesn't benefit from). I might consider buying at 10% of that price. After buying the complete Noir collection and realizing my downloaded copies had the same quality with better subtitles I can't justify that kind of cost. And if we assume I'm totally legal and haven't even seen it yet that price is absolutely insane.

There would be no U.S. anime market if it weren't for piracy. Dragonball Z and Pokemon alone would never have created the following we see today (especially considering they cut the heck out of them in the original airings). I believe sharing their work and creating a network of fans worldwide is the ultimate respect you can give to a creator. You are saying that their work is valued by the global culture. I believe those who would restrict that freedom are the ones being disrespectful. Who are the distributors to decide whether or not a work of art is valuable? Who are they to decide who gets to enjoy it? It's their restrictions that prevent me from supporting anime.

Either way, thanks for the entertaining read. I hope you seriously consider these questions (and if you have a good answer, please share!). And remember, unless you live in Japan, you probably would have never heard of Luffy if it weren't for us internet pirates =).
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Posted 5/12/13 , edited 5/12/13

hunteriv4

WTF is this? Funniest thing I've read all day. Are you being sarcastic?

We have an emboldened and unrestricted culture, and that's a bad thing? By that logic we need to work on creating a timid and restricted culture, right?

I have some questions for you...what is your definition of "piracy"? Is it copyright infringement? Counterfeiting? What about international law? Can you pirate something that you can't legally purchase? Why do creators get to decide how others use their work? I created this post. If someone quotes it, can I decide how they get to respond? Or forbid people from viewing it on Mac computers? Or forbid people from outside the U.S. to read it? If not, why does the creator of an anime get that right and I don't?

Also, in what way is the AAA industry giving their stuff away for free? If I want to buy all 24 episodes of Cowboy Bebop I have the option of shelling out $230 to Amazon for the DVDs, at a mere ~$10 per episode (assuming I don't buy it used, which the original creator doesn't benefit from). I might consider buying at 10% of that price. After buying the complete Noir collection and realizing my downloaded copies had the same quality with better subtitles I can't justify that kind of cost. And if we assume I'm totally legal and haven't even seen it yet that price is absolutely insane.

There would be no U.S. anime market if it weren't for piracy. Dragonball Z and Pokemon alone would never have created the following we see today (especially considering they cut the heck out of them in the original airings). I believe sharing their work and creating a network of fans worldwide is the ultimate respect you can give to a creator. You are saying that their work is valued by the global culture. I believe those who would restrict that freedom are the ones being disrespectful. Who are the distributors to decide whether or not a work of art is valuable? Who are they to decide who gets to enjoy it? It's their restrictions that prevent me from supporting anime.

Either way, thanks for the entertaining read. I hope you seriously consider these questions (and if you have a good answer, please share!). And remember, unless you live in Japan, you probably would have never heard of Luffy if it weren't for us internet pirates =).


This is exactly what I'm talking about. The anime piracy culture is so entrenched here in the West, your first reaction is that I must be sarcastic, to the point that you even found my post an "entertaining read". That's why I say individuals like you largely can't be reasoned with --- your beliefs are so culturally set that it's almost religious in nature.

One of the definitions of piracy from dictionary.com: the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc. This is generally the definition I go by.

Creators get to decide how others use their work because they spent all the years and effort to attain the skills necessary to craft the work in the first place, and because governments value these creations and decided it was important to afford these creators protections in regards to reproduction, distribution and their right to reimbursement. The reasoning is to protect the property rights of the creator for the benefit to society at large --- it's an encouragement to creators to allow their works to be mass-produced and sold at a lower cost than the initial production so as to recoup and profit on that expense, while broadening the audience of end-users who can enjoy their work.

Quoting your post falls under fair use laws. Illegal distribution of anime doesn't.

You're on Crunchyroll and you don't see how the AAA industry is giving away stuff for free? And if you're not willing to pay the price that a good is made available for on the market, that's not a moral justification to turn around and get it for free. You're only morally allowed to pass on the market's offer, and use your money on something else that you're willing to pay for.

Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Pokemon and Toonami were all largely responsible for the immense anime boom that happened in the West at the end of the 90's, and undermining their influence is placing fog-tinted goggles on anime history (it also makes me question whether you were old enough or in tune enough with the industry to realize how big of an impact these shows had on anime here in the US). The U.S. anime market is dying 'because' of piracy, though an opinion either way is just speculation, because it's impossible to quantify the effect that something untrackable (i.e. piracy) has on the industry.

Sharing an artist's work without permission is not respectful. Would the authors of Black Lagoon and Hellsing wish for lightning and meteors to strike pirates if they thought it was respectful? Or would the author of Black Butler compare it to shoplifting if she thought it was respectful? Do you think Studio Ghibli, Sunrise and TOHO joined CODA because they felt an immense amount of respect because of the piracy here in the West? Even one of the few artists trying to reach a middle ground with Western pirates, Ken Akamatsu, eventually started to lose hope in his attempts to compete directly with pirates, saying that "if there’s no respect for original authors on the net, then obviously the official versions will lose out" to the pirated ones. The idea that sharing an artist's work is somehow showing respect to the original creator is largely a delusion that fans in the West have crafted to make themselves feel good about their piracy. If you really respected the creator, you would watch their creations on the terms they set forth. If they wanted you to distribute their goods for free, then they would place their creations under an open distribution license --- but they almost uniformly don't. It's wishful thinking that they would sacrifice years of their life honing their craft and creating their works just so that you could enjoy it for free. Artists love what they do, but they rightfully expect you to reimburse them in order to enjoy what they've created.

Distributors can place whatever value they want on their works because they created it. Your legal and moral relationship with them is whether you decide to give them what they're asking for in trade for access to their work. You can't just say "I don't like the terms you set forth" and get what you want for free (well, you can in practice, but it's illegal).

The first time I heard of Luffy was from an issue of Animerica magazine that I read in 1999. The second time I heard of him again was from a friend riding on the subway trains in Japan who was singing a song from One Piece. I've been an anime fan for close to 20 years now, studied the Japanese language, and traveled back and forth a number of times, and I know from studying the culture and the industry that Japanese creators are alarmed at how laid-back anime piracy is here in the West. I've also studied copyright law for quite a number of years, and having known a number of content creators myself I've come to appreciate how much copyright protects the value of creators works, and how much piracy has devalued it for the anime industry. What exactly is your background on anime piracy? Everything you've said so far sounds like the same sort of talking points parroted by other anime-piracy proponents, which in my experience is mostly based on self-serving wishful reasoning, but not on any sort of experience with the industry or honest examination of author's rights.
Posted 5/12/13

xerox4100 wrote:

Not so true places like this that started off with bootleg copys turn right around and attack others.
http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2011/09/21/crunchyroll-tv-tokyo-sue-13-youtube-anime-uploaders



If CR ever gets any where near a "sue them all" campaign like the RIAA was on, then I suggest premium members drop their memberships and go download ad block plus. Not cause pirates deserve any kind of support, but cause it means CR is spending lots of money on lawyers and court costs that could go toward licensing new content for people who are paying.
Posted 5/12/13
I was a hold out.. only legal anime. But then..an anime caught my attention and well the rest is history. In a perfect world all anime would be available to watch legally /or purchase. But the world isn't perfect.
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Posted 5/12/13
I just finished an essay on anime piracy. The fact is that most people do pirate anime, and a lot of these people have no clue it's even illegal. Japanese animators make very little money due to a lack of real profit coming from anime due to lack of sales. Chances of being caught are pretty low, though. I occasionally use fansubs only when a series is unlicensed, otherwise I'll find a legal way somehow.
Posted 5/12/13
I'd like to pose a question

(I don't necessary align myself with whatever side this question would be a part of, but it's there)

If anime pirating in the west is killing the legal anime business in the west, why would the pirates care? They're still just going to pirate it.
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Posted 5/12/13

hunteriv4 wrote:
CR is handy, and I pay for it because I support what they're doing, but as a service they're still way below what I expect from modern technology. They don't have all the series that I want, their subtitles are worse translations than fansubs, they're online only, and they censor their anime. So, points for being legit, negative points for still being a substandard offering. I mainly support CR to encourage more legitimate outlets that offer bonuses, like no commercials (screw Hulu), for subscribing. If they offered uncensored anime and no-DRM download links I'd easily pay twice as much, but distributors are determined to keep piracy alive because otherwise they'd have no excuse for being noncompetitive.


You do realize it isn't CR that is censoring their shows, this is done in Japan.
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Posted 5/12/13
I don't feel guilty AT ALL. I happily support all anime I love by purchasing merchandise. I also download regular movies from theaters. I don't want to pay for something I can get for free. Yeah, it's illegal, and possibly morally wrong. But no guilt for me.
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Posted 5/12/13 , edited 5/12/13
If there isn't any way for me to obtain/watch it legally (e.g. Not on CR, Not licensed in my country) then I really don't see the harm. I have every episode of One Piece on my computer just because I have no way of watching it legally. In a few months, One Piece DVDs are coming out in the UK, and when they do I will buy them and just delete the episodes from my computer. I'm well aware that it's still illegal, but if there isn't any way for me get it legally, then too bad.
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Posted 5/12/13

Gyava wrote:

I've used Crunchyroll ever since I started watching anime, but there are some anime titles that it does not license.

Most of the people I know who watch anime all illegally watch anime on other sites (will not name them due to CR rules) but of course have never been caught in their life. Moreover, I don't think they will ever get caught with the hundreds of episodes they have stored in their computers. Unlike downloading regular cinematic movies that come out in theaters, people have no fear of downloading or streaming anime at all.

I personally just try watching anime wherever I can get it legally outside of CR at places such as Netflix.

1. What are the chances of one being even caught?

2. If the answer to the above is none or barely any, do you think that there should be an effort made by the anime industry to enforce some sort of an anti-anime piracy law?

3. Do you think it's alright (morally or legally) for these people to download/stream illegal anime that is NOT licensed by Crunchyroll? I've seen a lot of posts that insult others for pirating anime that CR actually does license, but I haven't seen someone criticize another for illegally watching anime that CR does not license.

4. If you ever did or still illegally stream/download anime, do you feel guilty about it?


1. Never downloaded anime but have streamed anime in the past from unlicensed sites before so was never caught.

2. I believe all unlicensed sites should be shut down and people should only support licensed/legal sites. Most of the better know legal sites allow you to watch anime for free with ads and commercial interruptions.

3. I think anyone downloading/streaming anime illegally should be fined as it hurts the anime industry causing fewer anime to be localised and the purchase price to go up.

4. At the time I was streaming I didn't feel guilty about it and I still don't but now the only places I watch anime are CR, Hulu+, Netflix, or the various other legal streaming sites. It is important for people to only support legal/licensed sites.
Posted 5/12/13

Gyava wrote:
1. What are the chances of one being even caught?

2. If the answer to the above is none or barely any, do you think that there should be an effort made by the anime industry to enforce some sort of an anti-anime piracy law?

3. Do you think it's alright (morally or legally) for these people to download/stream illegal anime that is NOT licensed by Crunchyroll? I've seen a lot of posts that insult others for pirating anime that CR actually does license, but I haven't seen someone criticize another for illegally watching anime that CR does not license.

4. If you ever did or still illegally stream/download anime, do you feel guilty about it?


1. None. Even if you do get caught (not likely) the United States is not likely to extradite an national to Japan for mere copyright infringement.

2. Over in Japan, anti-piracy laws are enforced heavily. Arrests are frequently made. They have to do it, at least in Japan, no sane normal person is going to pay $90 for a BD of 2 episodes. It's ludicrous pricing.

3. It is not right legally. You're stealing content. That isn't going to stop anyone, however.

4. "If I ever" Har har har. Please. And no, I do not feel guilty. On the contrary, they (studios) should feel guility that they rip off fans with $90 BD's and $800 collectors editions, it's retarded.
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