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Old 2008-06-01, 08:07   Link #1
Matt Kamen
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Calling all fansubbers! Press feedback needed!

Hey there;

Those of you in the UK may be familiar with NEO. I write for the magazine and am currently developing an article looking at the wider state of the industry, a follow-up of sorts to a feature on fansubbing we published a couple of years ago. As with the first article, we're looking to speak to individuals from both the fansubbing community and the official companies. While we're able to contact the companies easily enough, fansubbers are a little more elusive and often reluctant to speak in an official capacity.

So, while this may be a somewhat unorthodox approach to the matter, would anyone on AnimeSuki that is involved in fansubbing like to be interviewed for the feature? Please note that we're not asking anyone to be personally identified beyond their screen name if they don't wish to be and your personal privacy is assured.

I'll be conducting the interviews by email to make things easier for everyone. If anyone is interested, drop me an email at mattkamen@gmail.com
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Old 2008-06-01, 08:50   Link #2
Happy_Chip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Kamen View Post
Hey there;

Those of you in the UK may be familiar with NEO. I write for the magazine and am currently developing an article looking at the wider state of the industry, a follow-up of sorts to a feature on fansubbing we published a couple of years ago. As with the first article, we're looking to speak to individuals from both the fansubbing community and the official companies. While we're able to contact the companies easily enough, fansubbers are a little more elusive and often reluctant to speak in an official capacity.

So, while this may be a somewhat unorthodox approach to the matter, would anyone on AnimeSuki that is involved in fansubbing like to be interviewed for the feature? Please note that we're not asking anyone to be personally identified beyond their screen name if they don't wish to be and your personal privacy is assured.

I'll be conducting the interviews by email to make things easier for everyone. If anyone is interested, drop me an email at mattkamen@gmail.com
As I am not a fansubber, perhaps I should mind my own business.

Nevertheless, media exposure of fansubbing is, in my humble opinion, a bad idea. I think that it would be ill-advised, again in my own opinion, for fansubbers to take you up on the offer of being interviewed.

Regardless how well-meaning the intent of media coverage of fansubbing, the end result tends to be one thing: an assertion of fansubbing as piracy. I'm certain that however you intend to conduct this, the anime industry representatives you speak to will undoubtedly use this as a vehicle to denounce fansubs, and therefore use it to draw attention of the government towards firmer copyright laws and harsher management of internet traffic.

"Keep a low profile" ought to be the mantra of AS, IMHO.
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Old 2008-06-01, 09:34   Link #3
Mystique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Kamen View Post
Hey there;

Those of you in the UK may be familiar with NEO. I write for the magazine and am currently developing an article looking at the wider state of the industry, a follow-up of sorts to a feature on fansubbing we published a couple of years ago. As with the first article, we're looking to speak to individuals from both the fansubbing community and the official companies. While we're able to contact the companies easily enough, fansubbers are a little more elusive and often reluctant to speak in an official capacity.

So, while this may be a somewhat unorthodox approach to the matter, would anyone on AnimeSuki that is involved in fansubbing like to be interviewed for the feature? Please note that we're not asking anyone to be personally identified beyond their screen name if they don't wish to be and your personal privacy is assured.

I'll be conducting the interviews by email to make things easier for everyone. If anyone is interested, drop me an email at mattkamen@gmail.com
I do know of that magazine, to be honest, I'm surprised you were able to get an article regarding fansubbing out in the first place.
Sorry to burst your bubble but happy_chip has a point; every single one of us who is involved in adding subtitles to original japanese raw video is breaking the law not to mention on top of that, we're then distrubuting it too. xD
Hence maybe the hesistence.

I wouldn't mind helping you with the article, it depends what you're writing about and where the focus is.
My arguement, although as a fansubber I have zero legal ground to argue from is that companies that harshly hunt us down (albiet once it's licenced) are practically biting the hand that feeds them.
Naruto and Bleach fandom started years ago based on fansubbing, american companies use the fandom base online for market research and may think;
'hey, here's a show worth getting perhaps, it's real popular at the moment'
(although legally the hundreds of thousands of people following up to date japanese anime series, shouldn't be downloading and are breaking the law *cough cough*)
Majority of the cosplaying that happens in UK events and conventions that I've personally seen from the last 4 years sure as hell isn't from series that have been just licenced in America, it happens way before that.
(now gee I wonder where all these fans come from)
- but I'll stop there before I get carried away. xD
(no this doesn't count as my interview, still depends on what your article is about first)

That's my general view, hence I'm a lil happy to break a few rules. Europeans tend to end up in the crap pile at the bottom of it all, most things from Japan are localised and filtered through America before the UK sees anything be it computer games or anime and they usually turn up a century later, so hey, it doesn't hurt to spread some awareness in the UK anime fanbase too :P
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Old 2008-06-01, 09:52   Link #4
pichu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Kamen View Post
Hey there;

As with the first article, we're looking to speak to individuals from both the fansubbing community and the official companies.
To be frank with you, most fansubbers DO NOT work for official companies, being anime producers or distributors; I only knew a couple of people, I think--and their work doesn't really involve with the inside. The deal is quite simple.
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Old 2008-06-01, 09:53   Link #5
Matt Kamen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pichus View Post
To be frank with you, most fansubbers DO NOT work for official companies, being anime producers or distributors. The deal is quite simple.
I think you misunderstand; I'll be speaking to people from both fansubbing groups and industry representatives - two separate groups of people.
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Old 2008-06-01, 10:13   Link #6
Tofusensei
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Cool. I think I'll pass, though. I think people would be sick of hearing me interview again :P

Feel free to use anything I said in this interview, though.

-Tofu
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Old 2008-06-01, 10:43   Link #7
martino
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Originally Posted by Tofusensei View Post
Cool. I think I'll pass, though. I think people would be sick of hearing me interview again :P
No no no... Wouldn't YOU be too sick of having your answers manipulated/played with for their own purpose?
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Old 2008-06-01, 10:53   Link #8
Grv
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There would have to be some very real guarantees on privacy for anybody to do this because as has been said, any "publicity" of fansubbing creates more awareness, which in turn creates unwanted interest from legal departments worldwide.

None of us want to end up like Midnight Man's source.
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Old 2008-06-01, 11:10   Link #9
Mystique
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i gotta ask from my end tho, from the company side, who have said 'yes' and if ADV did, can you diclose a name.
Simply cause I've met/know a few peeps from there via Amecon and they're literally bump shoulders with us all fansubbers and leechers alike and have literally said:
"We know you guys are watching downloads from the internet, all we ask is once it comes to DVD and we can bring it to the UK, do go and buy them, support the UK industry to help us grow and improve."

I think many of us here actually do support them for the amount I see spent on merchandise and stuff, they're very much to being open and listening to us here (at least during the convetions they are, lol) so it depends on who is interviewed for this article.
I'm curious as to what Matt Kamen's views are on this on a personal note since he is the journalist for this after all...
Eitherway Grv, the industry is growing here whether we like it or not (that's a good thing right, lol)

We are still very much such a tiny tiny community (2nd biggest convention in the British Isles = 1300 people, from that link I've posted above)
So I think if our voices are heard from the early days, we may be able to place some faith in the UK/European branches of the distrubutors, though you're right on the front of the American or Japanese legal department of things.
Amecon began in 04, had 1000 pple (the biggest convention at the time), showed all fansubs and when the next one in 06 came around, it had sparked enough attention from Japan for them to warn the committee that they had to lose all fansubs and other related material.
So it's kept legal now, but then I found it amusing to see the industry peeps watching the masquerade show last year, previously advertising that 'bleach just got licenced and airs on US TV in Oct' only to then see a cast of like 25 Bleach captains and characters obviously from eps 100+ xD
(oops? >.>)

So they're aware of things growing here, I'm just wondering for such a small fanbase compared to America, would the distrubtors be quick to damn us all in the British Isles despite most of their sales coming from leechers and fansubbing peeps alike.
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Last edited by Mystique; 2008-06-01 at 11:24.
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Old 2008-06-01, 11:16   Link #10
Shiroi Hane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
i gotta ask from my end tho, from the company side, who have said 'yes' and if ADV did, can you diclose a name.
Simply cause I've met/know a few peeps from there via Amecon and they're literally bump shoulders with us all fansubbers and leechers alike and have literally said:
"We know you guys are watching downloads from the internet, all we ask is once it comes to DVD and we can bring it to the UK, do go and buy them, support the UK industry to help us grow and improve."
This would be the same ADV who, according to a neo article, blamed the closure of the UK office on piracy and said (at the time) that they probably wouldn't be involved in cons anymore or as much for the same reason?
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Old 2008-06-01, 11:29   Link #11
Mystique
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And yet I can show you the thread from Amecon (convention i've been going to ever since it started) where we can already start thinking of our questions for all industry panels and I'm pretty sure ADV will be there.
*looks*
yep they're there, although to be honest, it's 1 guy who bumps shoulders with us and he is so cool. Now as to how much influence he has on trying to soften the damming on us leechers and fansubbers, I wouldn't know. One person could have a different opinion working there and toss us all to hell, at the end of the day it will be represented as ADV.

edit:
shiori, you prob have a point, cause the thread i checked was the Q&A for 2007, but it's still on there for 2008 (my bad), although reading the comments, Amecon and ADV have been working together to help the UK industry grow in positive terms where we're happy to buy the DVD's and so on, as for the closure on the UK office (which is in london here), got a link?
I'm curious to see if they really are gonna skip it this year...
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Last edited by Mystique; 2008-06-01 at 12:32.
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Old 2008-06-01, 12:27   Link #12
Matt Kamen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
i gotta ask from my end tho, from the company side, who have said 'yes' and if ADV did, can you diclose a name.
Provisionally, we'll be hearing from Beez (Bandai Entertainment's European arm) and ADV. I'm not naming anyone personally until the article sees print, the same way I'm not intending on disclosing the real names of anyone on the fansubbing side who doesn't want to be identified.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
We are still very much such a tiny tiny community (2nd biggest convention in the British Isles = 1300 people, from that link I've posted above)
I'm pretty sure Ame is the largest con in the UK now - Minami's been running longer but is pretty small. No idea what Tokonatsu's attendance is like though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique View Post
I'm curious as to what Matt Kamen's views are on this on a personal note since he is the journalist for this after all...
All I'll say here is that I've still got VHS fansubs from ye olde tape trading days, so make your own conclusions. I'm not out to demonise anyone but this will be a 'hardhitting' piece and I'll be asking heavy questions of fans AND pros.
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Old 2008-06-01, 13:12   Link #13
False Dawn
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I'd be interested to see the previous article relating to fansubbing that you noted in your first post, Matt, if only to find out what we're likely to expect from this "follow-up".

Last edited by False Dawn; 2008-06-01 at 13:13. Reason: Fingers typing before brain engaged
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Old 2008-06-01, 13:49   Link #14
Happy_Chip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by False Dawn View Post
I'd be interested to see the previous article relating to fansubbing that you noted in your first post, Matt, if only to find out what we're likely to expect from this "follow-up".
sticking my non-fansubber nose into this again I think that's a good point ... there was a long thread here at AS (still live) discussing the political bias/editorial policy of the AnimeNewsNetwork R1 anime review site; there were many examples of fansubs being denounced in editorial columns and forums on that site.

Many people (myself included) consider it obvious, that a site that receives ad dollars from R1 DVD distributors CANNOT say something nice about free anime available on the internet in a legal grey zone, that (in the minds of the R1 distributors) directly undercuts their perceived revenue. (Although in my case, I'd argue that fansubs distribute series that they'd never touch, and/or distribute series years before they ever see an R1 subtitle DVD release - like Gatchaman - but I digress...)

So: in the same vein, I fear that what's happening here is, a noose is being dangled in front of the fansubbers and they're asked to stick their neck in it.

While I don't wish to accuse anyone of ulterior motives I cannot imagine how a publication, that receives ad dollars from DVD distributors, will say something nice about the fansub network and still maintain the support of their advertising base.
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Old 2008-06-01, 13:59   Link #15
cyth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy_Chip View Post
While I don't wish to accuse anyone of ulterior motives I cannot imagine how a publication, that receives ad dollars from DVD distributors, will say something nice about the fansub network and still maintain the support of their advertising base.
ANN is known to post as many bad DVD reviews as good DVD reviews. Are they still receiving the industry's dollars? Of course, the benefit from posting an ad on a site such as ANN is enormous. It's not like the industry is ignorant of the issues that surround fansubs; they know people watch them, and they can't do anything about it, really.
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Old 2008-06-01, 20:38   Link #16
Koroku
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Love the tag here.

I'm sure you'll get more people if you tell us exactly what this "follow-up" will pertain... are we going to be made to look like the bad guys? Or what? Because I doubt many will volunteer if it's just going to end up like the recent ANN "Interview with a Fansubber"
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Old 2008-06-02, 05:21   Link #17
Ayanami9870
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Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy_Chip
So: in the same vein, I fear that what's happening here is, a noose is being dangled in front of the fansubbers and they're asked to stick their neck in it.

While I don't wish to accuse anyone of ulterior motives I cannot imagine how a publication, that receives ad dollars from DVD distributors, will say something nice about the fansub network and still maintain the support of their advertising base.

I agree. Matt, if you're trying to interview fansubbers for an article about the state of the industry, you gotta be neutral and really know what you're doing in terms of privacy and journalism, talking to copyright infringers. Based on recent trends, licensors are in no mood to understand us. As you may have seen in open letters to the industry here and here, it's been noted that for the first time in the industry since 2005, DVD sales have dropped dramatically, and they want someone to point fingers at, despite the fact that they haven't changed or improved their business model in years.

Again, while you may have the best intentions to be a professional journalist with no hidden agenda, it's been shown time and again when it comes to handling fansubbers in interviews:
1) they usually provide incomplete views which are cited too often and become outdated over the years
2) they play right into the hands of many biased/leading questions
3) the answers they give usually becomes misinterpreted as a stereotype of all fansubbers

Now, given that you mentioned that this "will be a 'hardhitting' piece with heavy questions for fans" and the pros, you might not get much fanfare. To some, it may feel like another trap of some kind. Which is tragic too, because to really understand what's going on in fansubbing, you'd have to talk to at least (and I mean AT LEAST) 10-15 different subbers, young and old, from different groups subbing different shows, all of them with varying opinions and motives. That's the kind of entity you're trying to ask questions to. No one single person can speak for all of us in an "official capacity," if you will.

From what I've seen, media exposure on fansubs is not going to do anyone favours. It has never been the kind of piece that really generates effective, vivid understanding out of both sides, let alone at a time where the industry's had a fallout -- Geneon USA folding, ADV laying off staff, Viz shifting over to manga -- and fansubbers are becoming ever more radical/experimental with attempts at high definition and other technologies. Both sides are quickly becoming worlds apart from each other even though their origins were the same.

But, depending on what you're trying to write, or how long this feature is... you could prove everyone wrong. In that case, consider this as casual advice. I'd like to think that hardhitting actually means you're trying to get some substance out of this, perhaps something else beyond a magazine article.
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Old 2008-06-02, 08:13   Link #18
DryFire
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Originally Posted by Ayanami9870 View Post
fansubbers are becoming ever more radical/experimental with attempts at high definition and other technologies. Both sides are quickly becoming worlds apart from each other even though their origins were the same.
Nothing experimental there. H.264 and HD standards have been around for a while, as have softsubs and mkv. We simply adapt to change faster than the industry (though some of us are still in 2000).

Quote:
I'd like to think that hardhitting actually means you're trying to get some substance out of this, perhaps something else beyond a magazine article.
hardhitting, like most buzzwords/sensationalist terms/whatever you call it, are too ambiguous and provide no useful information.

I wonder how long it will take companies to realize IP is not regular property.
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Old 2008-06-02, 12:34   Link #19
Nicholi
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They can demonize fansubbers all they want if that's what they are going to do. Still doesn't change the fact that fansubbers produce content faster and in some cases better (omg controversial! this is controversial because I said so!), and... for no profit at all. Let loose the attention whores I say n_n.

As if everyone is fighting for the reputation of their job or something. Don't want "the public" to think fansubbing is some hardened criminal activity because it will hurt your pride as a fansubber. Won't matter two shits what the public view is so long as the law remains unchanged, it will inevitably go in this direction.
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Old 2008-06-02, 15:27   Link #20
Happy_Chip
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Mr. Kamen, I did some googling and I was unable to find an on-line copy of your earlier article, would you be willing to post a link or perhaps post the article itself?
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