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Old 2004-05-04, 12:29   Link #1
pontupo
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Question How does licensing work?

Im not sure that this is the place to post this (and if it isn't, please let me know POLITELY ;-) ), but it looked about right. Anyhow, what I want to know is, how does licensing of a series work? For instance, I was looking at the "licensing rumors" and saw that One Piece may be licensed soon. As I am not yet caught up with the show (I'm working on it as fast as I can), I am a little bit worried about this. So, if a show gets licensed, does the whole thing (i.e. all eps) get licensed at once, including ones that may not have even aired yet, or only part like 26 at a time? When it gets licensed, what sort of a process goes on? By that I mean, the torrents are removed presumably rather quickly, so then some company has control and they, presumably, are going to release the series here in the States, either on TV or DVD or something. What sort of a delay usually ensues? Are shows usually licensed right before they are released here, or does it take time? Please help with anything that you know about the licensing process cause I am confused
Thanks!
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Old 2004-05-04, 13:02   Link #2
Navi en Grey
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Anime subbing is a phase now?

.. I always thought Anime Fansubs we're always ... fansubs

.. well i just learned something new today

- Navi
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Old 2004-05-04, 13:10   Link #3
Yamano667
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fansubs are fansubs but when it becomes licensed they become ILLEGAL
even though they are illegal from the beginning


Quote:
Originally Posted by Navi en Grey
Anime subbing is a phase now?

.. I always thought Anime Fansubs we're always ... fansubs

.. well i just learned something new today

- Navi
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Old 2004-05-04, 13:17   Link #4
Superchop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pontupo
So, if a show gets licensed, does the whole thing (i.e. all eps) get licensed at once, including ones that may not have even aired yet, or only part like 26 at a time?
Most of the time yes, they get the whole thing...but for longer series they might get the rights for XX amount of eps wait a bit and finally get the rest (for example InuYasha) but if a series is licensed if even only some eps...it's considered that all eps are licensed.

Quote:
What sort of a delay usually ensues? Are shows usually licensed right before they are released here, or does it take time?
Well, some process involve dubbing, creating the dvd's etc etc which does take lots of time. So, a series maybe be licensed today, but only released 1 year from now on DVD and maybe longer for TV

I'm pretty sure there were some threads floating around in the forum that does give a much better explenation, so you can always do a search and see what comes up
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Old 2004-05-04, 14:50   Link #5
Mr_Paper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamano667
If the studio gives a license, it means to the whole series(even the unreleased episodes are licensed) , but still we continue subbing the series in the underground.
One example is Chrno Crusade ..its licensed but the series are still beeing subbed by many underground groups.
No need to work fast if you know which group is going to sub it after the licensing
you are going to end the series

licensing is just a phase that few anime series get, but to us is nothing
It would be best if, in the future, you didn't speak for fansubbers as a whole. There are plenty of fansubbers who respect the licenses and drop series accordingly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pontupo
Im not sure that this is the place to post this (and if it isn't, please let me know POLITELY ;-) ), but it looked about right. Anyhow, what I want to know is, how does licensing of a series work? For instance, I was looking at the "licensing rumors" and saw that One Piece may be licensed soon. As I am not yet caught up with the show (I'm working on it as fast as I can), I am a little bit worried about this. So, if a show gets licensed, does the whole thing (i.e. all eps) get licensed at once, including ones that may not have even aired yet, or only part like 26 at a time? When it gets licensed, what sort of a process goes on? By that I mean, the torrents are removed presumably rather quickly, so then some company has control and they, presumably, are going to release the series here in the States, either on TV or DVD or something. What sort of a delay usually ensues? Are shows usually licensed right before they are released here, or does it take time? Please help with anything that you know about the licensing process cause I am confused
Thanks!
First I'll answer a couple of the smaller questions.
"if a show gets licensed, does the whole thing (i.e. all eps) get licensed at once, including ones that may not have even aired yet, or only part like 26 at a time?"
For the most part, as in 90% of the time, yes. Licensors will usually license and entire series at once, not individual seasons. Quite often, included in the licenseing agreements are 'options'. This means that the company that has purchased the rights to a television series has also earned/purchased the rights to any subsequent movies, specials or OAVs that go along with that series. However, that does not mean they will complete the license for it nor does it mean they will release it. They hold the right to back out of an optioned title when ever they wish.
"Are shows usually licensed right before they are released here, or does it take time?"
There is a significant amount of time involved in the entire licensing process and even more in the adaptation and local release stage. Often a series can be licensed before the first episode airs but, for reasons companies don't share, they wont announce the license until the series is half way done or has even ended. There is a difference in this, where licenses for older series are obviously announced after the series has been completed (duh! ) some newer series, R.O.D. -The TV- for example, was announced nearly two whole months before the first episode aired on television in Japan. Samurai Champloo (name?) was announced in August and eight months later the first episode has yet to air.

What's more, recently, more and more series are actually becoming licensed during the production and financing stage, they're licensed before work on them has even begun.

Okay, now for the main point. I'll attempt to illustrate the licensing processes as I understand it (this can apply to both anime and manga):
  1. Series planning and financing begins - At this point the groundwork and concept for the series in question is laid out. If the project is a work based on a manga, the original author is (I'd assume) contacted and information such as plot, setting, etc. is worked out. If the project is a manga, a lonely manga artist will spend many hours of frustration trying to come up with something that looks good. Also, at this stage, the capital needed to actually produce the series is gathered. Television series will seek sponsorship and manga series will try for publication and serialization. It is not unheard of for licensors to become involved at this stage in the process. For example ADV Manga is reported to have paid nearly one quarter the production costs for the Peace Maker Kurogane manga, somewhere around one hundred million yen. Geneon USA has also begun to appear in the openings and endings of alot of series.
This is the earliest I believe a company can become involved at. Basically a company can begin the license negotiations at any point following, however, if a company provides financial support for a series there is a significant chance they will acquire the license to it. Now for my view of the overall process:
  1. A licensing company contacts the Japanese rights own to begin discussions - This is pretty straight foreward, the companies wont devulge the actual methods used so we're left to make educated guesses. Basically, the licensing company establishes contact and expresses an interest in purchasing the North America, European or African rights to the series (depends on where in the world the licensor is based =P) While, I believe it's not unheard of for the Japanese rights owners to outright refuse to enter rights negotiations, if they agree the process moves to the next step.
  2. The licensor will make an offer - This is, no matter how you describe it, simple bartering. Licensor makes an offer, the rights owner will accept/refuse/counter the offer. This process becomes even more time consuming when there are multiple parties making offers on one title. This can be the most time consuming part, a licensor must make an offer that the rights owner will find suitable and still return a profit for them, finding the middle ground between the two can take some time.
  3. License is acquired - All desired rights and provisions have been made and the company in question now starts working on translation and adaptation of the series.
  4. Localization and preperation - English dub track is recorded, subtitle translations prepared, and other tasks escential to the release are completed. DVD menus are designed, DVD cover art, boxart, slip covers, extras, previews, etc. all need to be completed before the show can be considered worthy of sale.
  5. Immediate release -or- television first release - Many series, more so ones that are sure to become popular, are televised before they recieve formal DVD releases now.
The time between 3 and 5 varies depending on the complexity of the dialogue, dub work and various other stipulations that might be in the license agreement. On average it is usually about ten to eleven months after a license is announce before the show is commercially available and on the market. This time can be reduced, but it costs more money. It's like they: "The more money you're willing to spend, the faster something will get done."
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Old 2004-05-04, 16:23   Link #6
pontupo
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Talking Thanks a Lot!!

This all really helped a lot. Thanks (especially to Mr_Paper)!! I was hoping that a whole series wouldn't be taken off when licensed, but I guess I expected the response that I got. I shouldn't complain since I get to watch as much as I do free anyway ;-) Thanks again.
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Old 2004-05-04, 20:22   Link #7
AvatarADV
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Mr. Paper, that's a quite thoughtful analysis that I can't add a whole lot to (well, not specifically... ;p)

More stuff is getting co-produced nowadays, of course, but even for other titles, the Japanese companies involved are usually quite active in seeking overseas licensing from the beginning. (Hey, it's money, and if the show can be produced with a larger budget because the Japanese company anticipates higher revenues from licensing, well, -yay-.)

The actual timing of the license announcement depends on contract negotiations, which are sometimes quite complicated (even if both parties are at a basic agreement, it can take a while to hash out all the little details).
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