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Post Reply Fan-subs legal?
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31 / F / Nanaimo, BC, Canada
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Posted 1/12/16
Are fan-subs legal? I mean with a few series episodes that were "fan-subbed" and placed on YouTube, they eventually get deleted and never come back. It's the same with with series that aren't "fan-subbed"
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 1/12/16


answer: no. whether you'll get in trouble for it is an entirely different story, however.
(CR is an official sub provider and perfectly legal. same for funimation)
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Posted 1/12/16
Fansubs are not generally legal under national or international copyright law. Under copyright law, if the owner of intellectual property (anime) doesn't give their consent for a translation (a fansub), then that fansub is a violation of the owner's copyright.

However, if the fansubber obtains permission or if the copyright holder otherwise grants permission through the copyright itself, then the fansub can be legal.

Currently, as legal streaming has expanded to include virtually all new anime, many so-called fansubs are actually rips from legal streaming sites. These are not legal in the slightest. True fansubs, where a group takes some obscure or unlicensed anime and translates and subs it themselves, are increasingly rare. While the private use of a fansub is either legal or something of a legal grey area, the public distribution, whether for profit or not, is illegal. However, true fansubs were often left alone by Japanese copyright holders and sometimes even by company licensing anime. This is because true fansubs were often a gateway for people to become anime fans generally. The recent practice of ripping anime from legal streaming sites is just flat out harmful to the legal distribution of anime and is thus treated as a major problem.

However, even a true fansub is a violation of a copyright owner's rights. When a fansub is posted to YouTube, the copyright owner's rights have been violated in at least two ways: first, they didn't give permission for the translation and second, they didn't give permission for the distribution.

When a non-fansub of a show is posted on YouTube without the permission of the official translator, that is also a violation of copyright law because, again, no permission has been given for the distribution despite the translation itself being authorized. For example, if I ripped a show off of Crunchyroll and posted it on YouTube, then I would have violated Crunchyroll's distribution rights as well as the original copyright owner's distribution rights without ever translating anything myself.

Basically, unless YouTube or the poster on the site have legal permission to post an episode of a show, and / or translate that show, it is illegal for them to do so.

There are a lot of nuances and grey areas in copyright law but this is the nutshell version of things.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 1/12/16
it should also be noted that "raw" distributions, that is, the rip of tv series taken straight from Japanese tv stations, is also a violation of copyright, since the one distributing over the web did not get the proper license/authorization to do so. the only exception of course, is if the company holding the copyright distribute such content over the web themselves (this is true for companies that make VN - they often allow people to download the opening / credits as well as the trial of their game)
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Posted 1/12/16
i could be wrong but i wouldnt think so, youtube would see it you put up an anime you do not own and rather its fan-subbed or not the show itself is not yours to upload.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 1/12/16
on youtube there are plenty of anime shorts, parts of anime series that are cut to last 5 min or so and a lot of views.
either the company holding the copyright just don't care or they are receiving some monetization from it (and hopefully it's the latter)
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26 / M / Socal
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Posted 1/12/16
What about SAO abridged?

that shit is hilarious 10/10

*note I also love SAO and buy everything related to sao, hardcore fan*
Dragon
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Posted 1/12/16

Underland68 wrote:

Are fan-subs legal? I mean with a few series episodes that were "fan-subbed" and placed on YouTube, they eventually get deleted and never come back. It's the same with with series that aren't "fan-subbed"


Snuggles' answer goes into great detail, but on the flip side, I wanted to mention the non-fan-subbed shows. There's a couple things that could be going on here...

1 (most likely, and one of the things Snuggles mentions) - the episode was ripped from a licensed stream, and got taken down because of that. The person who posted it never had the rights to do so in the first place there.

2 - the streamer who had it up no longer has the rights to stream it. That happens a lot for CR and Funi, and I know some Funi shows are simulcast to YouTube.

Basically, when the streaming rights are negotiated, most include a time limit, or can be revoked at a later date. Sometimes this is because the publisher wants to negotiate a better deal, or take the Disney approach of putting things "in the vault" so they become more valuable for a re-release later, or because they think that by not streaming, they can increase physical media sales, or all sorts of other options.

But, it happens a lot. CR formerly streamed a bunch of Bandai shows, and at one point that all ended (which makes me so mad, I still can't find legal DVDs of Sacred Seven!). Sometimes it's temporary - Attack on Titan couldn't be streamed on CR while it was airing on Cartoon Network, but is back.

All kinds of twists and turns come into play here.

(But yeah, fansubs are almost always illegal. Fun fact, CR started as an illegal fansub site, went legal, and makes money at it while also supporting the industry!)
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26 / M / Socal
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Posted 1/12/16

MakotoKamui wrote:


Underland68 wrote:

Are fan-subs legal? I mean with a few series episodes that were "fan-subbed" and placed on YouTube, they eventually get deleted and never come back. It's the same with with series that aren't "fan-subbed"


Snuggles' answer goes into great detail, but on the flip side, I wanted to mention the non-fan-subbed shows. There's a couple things that could be going on here...

1 (most likely, and one of the things Snuggles mentions) - the episode was ripped from a licensed stream, and got taken down because of that. The person who posted it never had the rights to do so in the first place there.

2 - the streamer who had it up no longer has the rights to stream it. That happens a lot for CR and Funi, and I know some Funi shows are simulcast to YouTube.

Basically, when the streaming rights are negotiated, most include a time limit, or can be revoked at a later date. Sometimes this is because the publisher wants to negotiate a better deal, or take the Disney approach of putting things "in the vault" so they become more valuable for a re-release later, or because they think that by not streaming, they can increase physical media sales, or all sorts of other options.

But, it happens a lot. CR formerly streamed a bunch of Bandai shows, and at one point that all ended (which makes me so mad, I still can't find legal DVDs of Sacred Seven!). Sometimes it's temporary - Attack on Titan couldn't be streamed on CR while it was airing on Cartoon Network, but is back.

All kinds of twists and turns come into play here.

(But yeah, fansubs are almost always illegal. Fun fact, CR started as an illegal fansub site, went legal, and makes money at it while also supporting the industry!)


hehehehe CR's dark secrets of the past

that's right, Crunchy-hime used to be a thug, then she got straightened up after some time, went all straight edge.
but she never lost her gansta edge, watch, go chat with her and she's all hardcore kawaii and shit.

Here's how she looked, back in the day
Dragon
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37 / M
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Posted 1/12/16

pandrasb wrote:

What about SAO abridged?

that shit is hilarious 10/10

*note I also love SAO and buy everything related to sao, hardcore fan*


Abridged series are usually okay - they alter enough and get covered under fair use / parody. However.. sometimes the copyright holder gets upset, like in the case of Attack on Titan Abridged from Team Four Star. The Japanese side put their foot down and it'll never return
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 1/12/16
abridged series still use footage of the original source material, and unless they get the proper permission, it's also illegal.
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M / Darkest Africa
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Posted 1/12/16
Translations are copyrighted by both the translator and the original author. This means that they can not legally be distributed without permission from both the fansubbers (which is probably there) and the studio (which is generally not). However, some countries copyright laws are more lax for works which are otherwise unavailable, or when copies are made for certain purposes. If you were e.g. doing an academic paper on fansubs, different rules may apply than to someone watching them for fun.

I'm trying to paint a rough picture here. Keep in mind that each country has not only its own legislation but a distinct legal system. And common law is such a mess that even lawyers don't really know what's going on.

pandrasb wrote:
What about SAO abridged?

SAO abridged is, like every abridged series, a derivative work. Copyright is the exclusive right to copy, and abridged series contain substantial copies of artwork from the original series. It is almost certainly too much to be considered fair use. They generally get around this by 1) not accepting money from Youtube and hoping the copyright holders don't notice or ignore it as free advertising or 2) striking a deal where the copyright holder takes all of the money. Also common all over Youtube is 3) saying "this is not meant to infringe" and then acting surprised when it's taken down.

IIRC SAO abridged gives the ad revenue to the copyright holders. I doubt they got permission for that intro song, though.

If the abridged series were instead a parody with original artwork, it is probably safe in the US even if the art and story are very similar to the original. Parody gets a lot of leeway in US law. Other countries may be less permissive.

pandrasb wrote:
that shit is hilarious 10/10

Yes, it is probably the best abridged anime around.
Posted 1/12/16
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33 / M / outer wall, level...
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Posted 1/12/16
i do wonder about the legality of buying a japanese market dvd and then getting a sub file of the web......
Posted 1/12/16 , edited 1/12/16
I have to pay the Danish government 1 NOK for every word I translate from Danish to English. Copyright laws are going wild, IMO.
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