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Old 2009-04-08, 14:00   Link #1
getfresh
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Otakon 2k9 Fansub/Industry Panel

We are beginning the process of contacting companies to set up this years panel. This year we would like to achieve greater results in regards to the success of the panel and the over all impact/resolution that the panel is intended for. Even though we have a format outline and topics we plan to discuss already, we would also like input from the community on addition possible discussion topics. If you have something you really feel is important to have discussed don't hesitate to suggest it.

Thanks,
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Old 2009-04-09, 02:14   Link #2
Access
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"We would like to achieve greater results in regards to the success of the panel and the overall all impact/resolution"...

What concrete things do you hope to achieve as a result of the panel? The industry appears to be in a state of general decline, while in terms of fandom, not much has actually changed since last year.

I guess you could summarize what concrete things actually were achieved last year and what you hope to achieve this year... otherwise most of us have no sense of perspective or expectations.
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Old 2009-04-09, 02:14   Link #3
npcomplete
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Thanks for putting together such a panel in the first place! Probably the most anticipate at Otakon. Since you asked for suggestions.. if I may get on my soapbox:

- Getting more fansubbers
- Getting more companies: Crunchyroll and how about Japanese companies? What about smaller or independent/self-publishing producers? (Perhaps using online conferencing with a live translator)

Also it would be great to get some of those handful of people who have worked on both sides (currently or formerly). They don't need to divulge employer or subber info.

As far as topics goes:
- issues of current model for most commercial productions and ownership rights and where most of the money goes, both costs (staff pay) and profits
- how fansubbing might be able to assist in an alternative, more equitable system with a more direct and global creator to viewer distribution; also the ability to involve the viewership in terms of content feedback and fan derived works i.e. creator->viewer->creator->viewer; this system can incorporate more than anime: manga, music, merchandise. In addition to being more cost effective overall for both viewers and creators, this kind of system produces much more goodwill and provides more incentive for fans to pay I believe.
- suggesting the use of CC or CC type licensing; this is effectively in use today in the doujin industry amongst each other and with an implicit acceptance from mainstream publishers

Basically I'd like to see a "moving foward" kind of discussion which I think is more productive than a debate about who's right, who's wrong and why-do-you-fansub, etc. This is why I thought it important to involve current and particularly aspiring content creators (free of the need for discretion in what they say) in Japan if at all possible. I want to emphasize "content creators" since most of what we get are industry representatives and PR spokespersons.

And yes, I know, easier said than done.
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Old 2009-04-09, 03:49   Link #4
getfresh
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np, you are pretty much on the same page we are already on. We don't want to repeat the same topics over and over. Also it is hoped to gain a much more diverse group of companies as well. The idea is to keep it as balanced as possible. this was not possible the first year since lets face it 90% of the companies looked at it like the plague.

Right now we are working on the presentation/image of what the panel will focus on this year so that we can use it to show the companies that this isn't some kind of "taking on the man" or an attempt to make them more lenient with fansubbers. The panel showed last year that while the industry reps were standoffish they did listen to what we had to say quite a bit. That opens a door for the possibility of more change to meet the "consumer" fans needs. We've shook our heads, bitched, moaned, and made fun of some of the practices of the industry for as long as I can remember. But really it was just us sitting around doing dick squat to really effect a change in the way things were being done. And lets face it, would you care to listen to what someone who starts their feedback with "*insert company name* is shit!" has to say.

I believe that if we present our ideas with sound reasoning while also listening to the circumstances that the industry must deal with and looking for a solution that works within their set system of rules standards and regulations, both parties will come out with gains.

There will be no topics on the legality of fansubbing this year.
No holy war topics or "why we do this" "why we will or won't stop" etc...

That was all covered last year. This year is more about solutions to issues both sides are having while not having these problems be focused on who did what or harmed who.

My initial thought is this.

First we open a discussion that allows the industry to explain the nature of the business and the reasons certain things are just the way they are. Also allow them to put may of the assumptions that people carry about pricing, distribution, licensing, and so on. We've had a ton of time to talk about "our side", we understand our side very well. However, many people do not fully understand the constraints the industry side has placed upon itself, myself included.

Once we know more about that we can, as we have shown many times in the past to be capable of doing, begin to find solutions that are outside of the box but within the power of the anime companies to take advantage of for their benefit as well as our own.

While this all sounds great in theory, it is going to be very difficult to construct a stable route in that direction. Right now, as it stands, we are still 99% looked upon as a thorn in their collective side. The majority do not trust us to be civil enough during such a panel to even be worth their time. Also many look at this type of thing as if them sitting down to chat with us would make them look as if they were condoning our actions.

They have one fact about us 100% correct. We are pirates, period. But what they have forgotten over the years is that we are a much friendlier type of pirate that in general is not out to say "fuck you, you can't stop us!", we just like anime and the hobby of fansubbing. We love really nice collectors items, and having copies of our favorite shows on a disc that wasn't labeled with a black sharpie marker. But while we do like these things, we are in general a bit more demanding when it comes to want we consider a good product that fits our needs.

I think fansubbers in general have tons of great ideas for marketing expansion of products since the biggest force in fansubbing is always the next way to watch. In generally we pioneer many of the formats that the industry later comes to use, and we have an insane amount of "research" data as well as methods and solutions to issues they will and in some cases right now are running in to.

Sorry that this turned into a rant, but you asked for it sorta.


Back to the topic of which companies we will be inviting. I do not want to release a list just yet of those we will be attempting to open dialogs with because it would have an unfavorable impact on what little chance we have of them even being willing to discuss the chance of having a discussion. Also we will not release a list of those we attempted to speak with only to be refused/rejected/turned away, so don't bother asking about who later. All I can say is that we are not just going to contact the licensing companies for anime, but also the distributors, animation studios, news organizations in relation to anime/manga, animation studios, publishing houses, manga licensing companies, etc...

Hopefully we can show our determination and dedication to the industry so they will see that we are not trying to waste their time.

Anyways, it's 4:40am, and I'm out of gas. I hope people will remain optimistic or at least not become involved in this topic to do nothing other than be negative, nonconstructive or obtuse just because...

Thanks,
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Old 2009-04-09, 09:05   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getfresh View Post
First we open a discussion that allows the industry to explain the nature of the business and the reasons certain things are just the way they are. Also allow them to put may of the
If it's not out of place, maybe you could ask them to touch on the whole dubbing thing, not 'should it be done' but why they do it the way they do it. In contrast to how its done in Japan. This is one of the things that absolutely confounds me (and pleanty of other fans) about the local industry. I know ADV's dubs are pretty much gone, Clannad was sub-only, but the commentary extras only helped to confirm the folly. As far as I know, Funi, others, still follow this dubbing process... not to discuss it anymore here as it's already discussed elsewhere, but that's a 'nature of the business' thing I'd be real keen to hear more about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getfresh View Post
assumptions that people carry about pricing, distribution, licensing, and so on. We've had a ton
Keep it current, a lot has changed in the last few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getfresh View Post
that direction. Right now, as it stands, we are still 99% looked upon as a thorn in their collective side. The majority do not trust us to be civil enough during such a panel to even be worth their
That's why you need to look for ones that are, rather than just let anyone up there and have the discussion turn rabid... last thing anyways wants, did a good job in this respect so far.

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Originally Posted by getfresh View Post
They have one fact about us 100% correct. We are pirates, period. But what they have forgotten over the years is that we are a much friendlier type of pirate that in general is not out
Not a productive line of discussion...

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Originally Posted by getfresh View Post
of the formats that the industry later comes to use, and we have an insane amount of "research" data as well as methods and solutions to issues they will and in some cases right now are running in to.
I think right now it's not just 'us', but the whole legal/illegal streaming thing for instance, on the fansubber side are actual groups putting their stuff on streaming sites by choice or are third parties putting them there? At the same time you have the industry moving some titles exclusively to streaming sites, which are region-limited, and not even putting out DVDs, basically turning their backs on a whole class on fans, and on the clubs that show live anime. Even DVDs are region limited, while fansubbing distribution is worldwide, even back to japan in some cases...

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Back to the topic of which companies we will be inviting. I do not want to release a list just yet
ADV perhaps? I'd like to hear a little about what happened there, but maybe that is better left to another (their own) panel rather than a problem-solving one.

Pretty much all I have to say right now.
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Old 2009-04-09, 10:24   Link #6
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Originally Posted by Access View Post
I think right now it's not just 'us', but the whole legal/illegal streaming thing for instance, on the fansubber side are actual groups putting their stuff on streaming sites by choice or are third parties putting them there? At the same time you have the industry moving some titles exclusively to streaming sites, which are region-limited, and not even putting out DVDs, basically turning their backs on a whole class on fans, and on the clubs that show live anime. Even DVDs are region limited, while fansubbing distribution is worldwide, even back to japan in some cases...


Yeah, I think as fansubbers, we all want to hear about the streaming side of things. It was touched on at last year's panel but obviously we've had Crunchyroll make its move since then and Funi are starting to try and match Japanese airing times too. It'd be interesting to get their perspective on all this - especially why places like Veoh that stream fansubbed stuff (largely without the fansub group's say) don't have these titles removed. I'd imagine sites like that are in direct conflict with Crunchyroll etc.

And Access, it's my understanding that DVD rights are still the same as they always were... just that Crunchyroll is acting more like a TV station nowadays. I'd imagine even the series airing on Crunchyroll will one day have DVDs out, though whether this again causes a conflict of interest, I don't know. Would Crunchyroll then pull down their videos of that particular series?

I think the only way to find out would be to ask people in the industry.
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Old 2009-04-09, 14:37   Link #7
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First off, I hope this panel gets an audio or video recording like last year.

Also, like others have touched upon in this topic, I would really like to see this panel dominated by discussion as to why fansubbing persists despite Crunchyroll and Funimation putting out a near-equivalent product for free or low price.
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Old 2009-04-09, 20:43   Link #8
Access
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Also, like others have touched upon in this topic, I would really like to see this panel dominated by discussion as to why fansubbing persists despite Crunchyroll and Funimation putting out a near-equivalent product for free or low price.
Are groups actively "fansubbing" the titles that crunchyroll or funi put up?
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Old 2009-04-09, 21:45   Link #9
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Are groups actively "fansubbing" the titles that crunchyroll or funi put up?
Yes. Low quality streaming rips and high quality fansubs using TV broadcasts.
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Old 2009-04-09, 23:36   Link #10
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Are groups actively "fansubbing" the titles that crunchyroll or funi put up?
haha are you kidding there's seriously like 10 different english releases of fma brotherhood, and that's not counting the funimation rips
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Old 2009-04-10, 07:10   Link #11
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Originally Posted by getfresh View Post
First we open a discussion that allows the industry to explain the nature of the business and the reasons certain things are just the way they are. Also allow them to put may of the assumptions that people carry about pricing, distribution, licensing, and so on. We've had a ton of time to talk about "our side", we understand our side very well. However, many people do not fully understand the constraints the industry side has placed upon itself, myself included.

Once we know more about that we can, as we have shown many times in the past to be capable of doing, begin to find solutions that are outside of the box but within the power of the anime companies to take advantage of for their benefit as well as our own.
First,
If I can quickly rehash some of the points discussed elsewhere:

While I'm also not privy to what goes on in the business side of things, I think you may need to raise some of the issues yourselves depending on how frank the industry people are in the discussion though (and the reason I bring up alternatives for a more equitable solution). For example, Lance of Funi has mentioned before about buying DVDs to "reward the creators". Well, this is absolutely not the case now. I think some people would find the lack of royalties to creators surprising. Essentially there is a large disconnect between creators and rights holders, who are comprised of different business entities.

On the other, if you buy the downloads of Time of Eve from CR, I dunno.. maybe some of it does go to Yasuhiro Yoshiura.. Certainly when you buy a 500 doujin or a 1000 CD from Comiket, all of that's going straight to the creators

Now if one argues that you're compensating the investors (production committees and sponsors) who put up a lot of money to pay for the project--which is a fair, up to a point--there's the issue of how little of that money invested is used to actually make (and pay the staff for) the anime, like 16% in the typical case.

For previous discussions on these topics, see here, here, and here
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Old 2009-04-10, 07:46   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by npcomplete View Post
First,
If I can quickly rehash some of the points discussed elsewhere:

While I'm also not privy to what goes on in the business side of things, I think you may need to raise some of the issues yourselves depending on how frank the industry people are in the discussion though (and the reason I bring up alternatives for a more equitable solution). For example, Lance of Funi has mentioned before about buying DVDs to "reward the creators". Well, this is absolutely not the case now. I think some people would find the lack of royalties to creators surprising. Essentially there is a large disconnect between creators and rights holders, who are comprised of different business entities.

On the other, if you buy the downloads of Time of Eve from CR, I dunno.. maybe some of it does go to Yasuhiro Yoshiura.. Certainly when you buy a 500 doujin or a 1000 CD from Comiket, all of that's going straight to the creators

Now if one argues that you're compensating the investors (production committees and sponsors) who put up a lot of money to pay for the project--which is a fair, up to a point--there's the issue of how little of that money invested is used to actually make (and pay the staff for) the anime, like 16% in the typical case.

For previous discussions on these topics, see here, here, and here
The problem with this argument of paying for media only because it "supports the creators" is that it quickly becomes unwieldy to apply in general.

Take a pair of shoes, for example. How much of the $70 goes to the person who actually created it? Does that seem to bother people?

All human production goes through complex chains of business, producers, investors, distributors, and sellers. The point of a free market is that market forces end up deciding how much each piece of the chain ends up getting of your money. By inserting some artificial sense of morality into the picture, you are putting an artificial force onto the free market which may simply not be tenable.

As an example: If a person in the US wants their money to go in greater proportion to the "originator" of the product they buy, they usually have to physically go closer to the place the product was created. For example, shop for produce at a farmer's market instead of a grocery store, or drive to amish country to buy furniture. The onus is on the consumer to change their purchasing habits, not on the producers to artificially shorten the production chain or redistribute wealth in a manner that's contrary to market forces.

I think that anime fans should have the same standards. If you want more of your money to go to the creators, then buy directly from the creators. Go to comiket, or purchase DVDs of independent shows instead of Bandai visual. But, in the end, the mega hits are the giant corporate shows most of the time, and so you have to think to yourself that maybe there is something to having the income spread out among so many participants.

Sorry for the long winded post.
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Old 2009-04-10, 08:26   Link #13
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The only sensible argument in this direction is to say that purchasing anime enables Japan to produce more. If I buy Maria+Holic DVDs, the investors see people like me love SHAFT's works, so they'll continue to finance more projects with them in mind, and so on. The discouraging fact is that, yes, buying licensed anime has minimal influence on the bottom line. Then again, I wouldn't want foreign capital to shift anime trends (for a short period of time between 2003 and 2005, this was somewhat of an issue).

I agree, I would like to see the old R1 industry make a new case for their products.
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Old 2009-04-10, 09:09   Link #14
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The only sensible argument in this direction is to say that purchasing anime enables Japan to produce more. If I buy Maria+Holic DVDs, the investors see people like me love SHAFT's works, so they'll continue to finance more projects with them in mind, and so on. The discouraging fact is that, yes, buying licensed anime has minimal influence on the bottom line. Then again, I wouldn't want foreign capital to shift anime trends (for a short period of time between 2003 and 2005, this was somewhat of an issue).

I agree, I would like to see the old R1 industry make a new case for their products.
If you truly don't want foreign captital to shift trends, then you shouldn't buy or watch anything from Japan.

Even if you steal everything you watch, you still are creating a market outside of their country by talking about it with others or spreading knowledge. Fansubbing itself didn't give a cent to the bottom line of Japanese companies in the early days, but it was because of fansubbing that the R1 market exists in the US today. Well, fansubbing and Pokemon. But a good argument could be made that the US market would look a lot more like, say, the mexican market where only things like DBZ and pokemon get licensed if it weren't for the early fansubbers and companies like ADV that were born from them.

From my perspective, I think that otaku are too paranoid of non-Japanese influence on Japanese animation. Look at Basquash, for example. People almost dismissed it as western influenced trash, until they saw the first episode and realized that it was damn awesome. But would that anime have even been made if it weren't for a greater sense of a global audience and global animation talent?
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Old 2009-04-10, 09:42   Link #15
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If you truly don't want foreign captital to shift trends, then you shouldn't buy or watch anything from Japan.
One thing is buying anime, another is having ADV or Geneon on production committees. <_<
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Old 2009-04-10, 10:16   Link #16
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The problem with this argument of paying for media only because it "supports the creators" is that it quickly becomes unwieldy to apply in general.

Take a pair of shoes, for example. How much of the $70 goes to the person who actually created it? Does that seem to bother people?

All human production goes through complex chains of business, producers, investors, distributors, and sellers. The point of a free market is that market forces end up deciding how much each piece of the chain ends up getting of your money. By inserting some artificial sense of morality into the picture, you are putting an artificial force onto the free market which may simply not be tenable.

As an example: If a person in the US wants their money to go in greater proportion to the "originator" of the product they buy, they usually have to physically go closer to the place the product was created. For example, shop for produce at a farmer's market instead of a grocery store, or drive to amish country to buy furniture. The onus is on the consumer to change their purchasing habits, not on the producers to artificially shorten the production chain or redistribute wealth in a manner that's contrary to market forces.

I think that anime fans should have the same standards. If you want more of your money to go to the creators, then buy directly from the creators. Go to comiket, or purchase DVDs of independent shows instead of Bandai visual. But, in the end, the mega hits are the giant corporate shows most of the time, and so you have to think to yourself that maybe there is something to having the income spread out among so many participants.

Sorry for the long winded post.
I'm not disagreeing with you actually. Don't get me wrong, I don't think such complex chains and their associated costs should be prevented nor even regulated. And yes, it should be up to the consumer and the market at large to influence the system. However, unlike your example of farmers markets vs grocery super markets, there is no real channel or avenue for those smaller anime producers to get their product out yet, although perhaps CR is one of those now.

Even without a direct channel like a farmer's market, there can be a thin middleman providing services. Continuing with the same example, you have companies like Trader Joes and Wholefoods (they've opened in Japan, right?) who market, distribute and sell products directly to the consumer on behalf of producers who sell under their own in-house brand. This cuts out the overhead of having seperate wholesellers and distributors and is especially useful for specialty products that may not sell well in a general supermarket, kind of like anime.

Likewise there should be some service that allows studios or creators to deliver content in more direct fashion. And when you eliminate or greatly reduce that 86% of non-creative costs of total production costs in the previously mentioned example, then this is where people in the fansubbing community--you guys--could play a role I believe. For the typical commercial production, TL, timing, typsetting and encoding costs are trivial compared to the total associated costs. But once you reduce that overhead, then those costs start to become significant.

In addition to lowering costs for existing studios who want to create original content, having some kind of self-publishing service/channel also lowers the barriers to entry for aspiring creators who could now have a global audience instead of just Japan from services you provide.

The other thing that is required for change from the consumer side is awareness--awareness of the entire above situation. I'm reminded of a recent story I heard on public radio about designer Italian brands whose products are now made in China who go to great lengths to hide that fact or skirmish around it by having most of the material made in China and just enough in Italy (final stitching, whatever) to avoid a pure "made in China" tag.


With regards to raising capital (and related to what Toua mentioned about securing funding for future works).. well, this is also getting long winded too so all I'll say for now is that I think there are alternatives. Independent productions aside, the biggest problem I see with the current system is that in order to raise capital for some project, you have to sell your rights to it.
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Old 2009-04-10, 12:23   Link #17
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BTW one interesting company to invite is Kadokawa. They had their experimental KadoTV service earlier this year, allowing users to submit, share and edit subtitles without approval. They even had the translations for many unlicensed shows.
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Old 2009-04-10, 22:26   Link #18
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Maybe I have to look into it more or something, but one thing I always keep half a mind on is simply getting the word out about it, and also making sure they listen alongside hearing.

I think most people who buy DVDs don't know about online streaming, and maybe people who get things through a convoluted mess of every online channel except for Crunchyroll or Tokyo Toshokan, don't know about Crunchyroll or TT.

The market won't evolve if no one knows that it's evolving. I'm not from the US and I've never been; I don't know the "scene" over there, but it's probably the same as Australia or anywhere else. This is pretty general, but the more common anime consumer are probably like what I described, and probably won't care too much about semantics as long as they get the content. At the very least, I know a few friends who are somewhat like that.

I think that that was why you said that they've forgotten that we're a "much friendlier type of pirate", getfresh. We're lumped together, because it's all just piracy in the end. But each individual fansubber has a completely different motivation to make them create, rather than only consume. Perhaps "create" and "consume" are the keywords? I don't know if you went over that in last year's panel, though; I should probably look it up again.

On that note, I think distributing companies from countries other than the US could put some input, too. Like Madman Entertainment, for the Aussies. Opinions could differ by country, too.
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Old 2009-04-11, 19:21   Link #19
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I have created a board on FLF's website for the panel since it will allow the panelists to moderate the board and such. Please use the board for directly listing your ideas and use sub threads for discussion on them. I want to make it clear that the panel discussion is all that this board is for.
http://forum.freelancefansubs.org/index.php?board=30.0
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Old 2009-04-11, 23:16   Link #20
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Have you considered asking an economist to join the panel as well? Preferably one who has experience with infinite goods.

I thought this was a very nice speech about how to use infinite goods to make scarce ones more valuable.
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