Crunchyroll is an American online website and international online community focused on streaming East Asian media including anime, manga, drama, music, electronic entertainment, and auto racing content. Founded in 2006 by a group of University of California-Berkeley undergraduate students. Crunchyroll’s distribution channel and partnership program delivers content to over five million online community members worldwide. Crunchyroll is funded by Venrock.
Crunchyroll started in 2006 as a video upload and streaming site that specialized in hosting East Asian video content. Some of the content hosted on Crunchyroll, such as illicitly-produced fan-subbed versions of East Asian shows or bootlegs of official US releases of anime titles, were illegally uploaded by users without permission from any rights holders. However, Crunchyroll respected DMCA and removed copyrighted content when requested by the rights holder.
In 2008, Crunchyroll secured a capital investment of $4.05 million from the venture capital firm Venrock. The investment drew criticism from anime distributors and licensors Bandai Entertainment and Funimation as the site continued to allow users to upload illegal copies of licensed titles.
However, Crunchyroll eventually began securing legal distribution agreements with companies, including Gonzo, for an increasing number of titles. On January 8, 2009, after announcing a deal with TV Tokyo to host episodes of Naruto Shippuden, Crunchyroll stated that it was committed to removing all copyright infringing material from its site and to hosting only content to which it had legitimate distribution rights.