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Old 2009-04-26, 15:51   Link #1
GHDpro
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AnimeSuki & Streaming-only Licenses

AnimeSuki has always been a torrent index with a specific policy of what goes on it and what does not. Torrents for anime licensed by US companies are not allowed, and since December 2004 anything produced by Media Factory Inc. isn't either.

Now in the past, when a title was licensed it meant you'd had to wait a few months to a few years and it would get released on DVD. Considering the region protection of DVD is pretty easy to circumvent and there are various US online shops you can order DVDs from, this meant it was fairly easy to obtain licensed anime, even if you're not from the US, as long as you have the money and a credit card.

With streaming-only* licenses as they have recently been appearing on Crunchyroll, things got a little bit more complicated. Initially I supported the removal of such streaming-only licenses, as technically Crunchyroll is just another US company licensing an anime title.

Not being much into streaming or the series being streamed (I've stopped watching Naruto after episode ~130 and never watched Gintama - etc) it didn't occur to me that the fact that some of these series are "region locked" could be a problem for me personally.

Until this season turned around that is. I like anime produced by SHAFT. I have several of their series on DVD (Moon Phase, Pani Poni Dash, Negima!?) and like others too (SZS, Hidamari - etc). Not surprisingly I find their latest series, Natsu no Arashi interesting as well. But Natsu no Arashi is licensed by Crunchyroll, so there are no torrents on AnimeSuki. When I visit Crunchyroll however, I'm greeted by a "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, this is unavailable in your region." message. Argh. This leaves as only recourse to get the torrents on a "certain other site". But as creator/owner of AnimeSuki that doesn't seem quite right.

Now the question I'd like to ask your opinion on: How do you think we should treat streaming-only licenses?

There are some possible answers:
  • Keep the current policy, as there is nothing wrong with it.

  • Change the policy and... (Insert suggestion here)

  • Other... (Insert suggestion here)
Btw, I know you could use a proxy to bypass region restrictions, however the content in question is streaming media, which is highly bandwidth dependent. As such using a proxy to watch stuff on Crunchyroll doesn't seem quite easy.

In a related question... SHAFT's previous series was Maria+Holic. That series wasn't listed for the second reason mentioned in the first paragraph, namely it's a Media Factory Inc. published/co-produced anime. Should we continue to ban MFI titles from the site? (If you are not familiar with why we don't list MFI titles, read this)

PS. While the main goal of this thread is to discuss how to treat streaming-only licenses, feel free to nitpick any other part of our current listing policy as well. However do be realistic in your suggestions.

*) My definition of a "streaming-only license" is one where it's unlikely or undetermined whether the series will get a DVD release. Crunchyroll is a streaming site - they don't release DVDs, unlike say, Funimation which does.
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Old 2009-04-26, 17:13   Link #2
bayoab
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Keep the current policy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GHDpro View Post
Now in the past, when a title was licensed it meant you'd had to wait a few months to a few years and it would get released on DVD. Considering the region protection of DVD is pretty easy to circumvent and there are various US online shops you can order DVDs from, this meant it was fairly easy to obtain licensed anime, even if you're not from the US, as long as you have the money and a credit card.
How is a DVD license any different than a streaming license?
Both are companies purchasing the english language distribution rights from the Japanese.
Both are only meant to be available to R1 (or maybe a larger area depending on the license purchased).
Both are easily broken copy protection schemes. (front-side proxy vs R0 dvd player).
There really is no difference between them when you remove all the technicalities. The only difference is that it is harder to work with a proxy and each streaming site requires it's own trick to get around the geolocks.
(Also note that listing most of the copies of these series that float around the web is the equivalent of listing a DVD rip (which is especially iffy if they ever decided to start C&Ding).)

Quote:
Btw, I know you could use a proxy to bypass region restrictions, however the content in question is streaming media, which is highly bandwidth dependent. As such using a proxy to watch stuff on Crunchyroll doesn't seem quite easy.
You don't actually have to transfer the video over the proxy for most services. It depends where the check is being done on your location. From what I've seen, a number of them currently are very easily bypassed because the checks are done on the front side and not the back side.
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Old 2009-04-26, 17:40   Link #3
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Well... I always thoth that AnimeSuki's policy for the anime license was great until Crunchyroll come whit it simulcast anime after it airs in the japan thingy. When I noticed that AnimeSuki don't list the anime that Crunchyroll have, I was a bit confused because I don't think that all anime that Crunchyroll have will see the daylight of the DVDs. My impression on the AnimeSuki policy was that, what is listed in the License Database will eventually see releases of DVDs, but now all the license thing is becoming mest up and in my opinion it should be change (just a little).

My suggestion would be that AnimeSuki should list Streaming-only Licenses anime which is streamed by company's who don't realise the DVDs of the series which are streamed on their sites. I think it is safe to say that, what Funimation streams will eventually see the daylight of the DVDs, so such licenses can be considered legit and can be added to database.

Well that is all. I was never a good speller on the english so I apologize for all spelling mistakes, if there are any that is...
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Old 2009-04-26, 18:12   Link #4
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Quote:
Now in the past, when a title was licensed it meant you'd had to wait a few months to a few years and it would get released on DVD. Considering the region protection of DVD is pretty easy to circumvent and there are various US online shops you can order DVDs from, this meant it was fairly easy to obtain licensed anime, even if you're not from the US, as long as you have the money and a credit card.

With streaming-only* licenses as they have recently been appearing on Crunchyroll, things got a little bit more complicated. Initially I supported the removal of such streaming-only licenses, as technically Crunchyroll is just another US company licensing an anime title.

Not being much into streaming or the series being streamed (I've stopped watching Naruto after episode ~130 and never watched Gintama - etc) it didn't occur to me that the fact that some of these series are "region locked" could be a problem for me personally.

Until this season turned around that is. I like anime produced by SHAFT. I have several of their series on DVD (Moon Phase, Pani Poni Dash, Negima!?) and like others too (SZS, Hidamari - etc). Not surprisingly I find their latest series, Natsu no Arashi interesting as well. But Natsu no Arashi is licensed by Crunchyroll, so there are no torrents on AnimeSuki. When I visit Crunchyroll however, I'm greeted by a "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, this is unavailable in your region." message. Argh. This leaves as only recourse to get the torrents on a "certain other site". But as creator/owner of AnimeSuki that doesn't seem quite right.
As I pointed out in the other thread, treating DVDs and stream licenses differently would be completely contradictory. Changing it just because you now feel you're getting cheated is a bit hypocritical, as many people like myself already feel cheated by the egregious prices for non-US consumers and the hoops you've got to jump to get your hands on a DVD with merely 5 episodes.

You can also hook up to a proxy server and watch the streams without any issue at all, but that's not entirely comfortable (and secure). However, buying DVDs overseas without any legal means of previewing the series whatsoever, and having to use a credit card (which I don't own almost out of principle), online shopping, and having to keep track of the package (nevermind waiting for it), I find much more uncomfortable. But maybe that's just me.

Personally I would hope you guys started listing licensed series, since it just means licensed in the US (and I'd also love to see cheap anime available in my country, and I'd also love to have a car, &c. but that's hardly the matter in this discussion).
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Old 2009-04-26, 20:48   Link #5
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"Hypocritical" would imply intent which I don't see here. Let's say that angle "We have to talk guys, because now I have a problem" was rhetorically a bit unfortunate and leave it at that.

Now about the actual question. Let's assume you list the FMA torrents. You'll get a nice letter from Funimation within less than a week. Are you really up to ignoring them? If so, why did you ever stop listing MFI anime? The letter from CR might take a bit longer because they probably don't have the financial standing to bother you as much as Funimation but when they'll see you comply to Funimation without flexing some legal muscles they'll send one too.

Leave that to tokyotosho, they seem to have the better legal standing and/or nerves. I said it in the other thread and I say it here again .I don't even see a point in animesuki listing torrents at all.

tl;dr Pointless exercise.

EDIT: I didn't see the small print. Which makes half of my argument invalid. So you don't plan to list Funimation titles anyway. But the central question remains: are you really willing to show CR and MFI the finger?
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Old 2009-04-27, 01:17   Link #6
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Yes, sorry if the way I phrased my post seemed hypocritical. I suppose what this whole post more is about my frustration about the decreasing relevance of the site (torrent listing) to me and others.

Traditionally licenses meant a DVD release, and since a DVD release takes time and effort to make (especially if it has a dub) this meant US anime companies could only license a hand full of titles each year. In addition to many titles only being licensed after they had aired (and been fansubbed) already, this meant the impact on AnimeSuki wasn't that great (except when Naruto and Bleach got licensed perhaps).

Streaming media however makes exploiting a license about as easy as fansubbing. As such, it seems like several new shows appear on Crunchyroll almost every week. That leaves AnimeSuki with the scraps. Arguably that includes some good series still, but if you need to go to another site (not Crunchyroll) to get the rest of the series you want to download, I can see some people simply use those other sites for all their needs.

Which I suppose leads to the question... is there much point in maintaining the site (torrent listing) the way it is now? I know some of you really don't care (ahem, see previous poster, ahem), but does anyone else still do?

Anyway...

I tried using a proxy on Crunchyroll btw, and it's indeed laughably easy to get it to detect your country as US so that you can hit the "Play" button. Unfortunately they seemed to have fixed that loophole though, as the video still won't play.

For those worried: this discussion is about the site. The forum is obviously still quite alive and kicking, and will remain no matter what happens to the main site, as long as I can help it.
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Old 2009-04-27, 01:57   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHDpro View Post
Now in the past, when a title was licensed it meant you'd had to wait a few months to a few years and it would get released on DVD.
Not necessarily Mew Mew Power only lasted to episode 26 and only had like two DVDs released in Australia (The last 26 were released in France I believe though). Plus Full Moon wo Sagashite DVDs are basically on permanent hiatus. Add MFI titles and there are a good deal of shows not listed that even an American would have difficulty with obtaining.

Edit: I also remembered something. I believe there are a group of Saki translators who are ripping the subs off of CrunchyRoll and replacing the Mahjong terms used with a different set of Mahjong terms and fixing errors. So eventually there might be subbers who base their subs on the streams which would complicate the issue further. This way you wouldn't have to separate proper fansubs and rips.
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Old 2009-04-27, 10:39   Link #8
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The main issue for me, the visitor, is that I can't find all anime I want to watch on AnimeSuki. Because of this, I rather use the RSS feed of that other site. It's easy to filter and all fansubbers seem to use it.

I think that MFI was just a case of misunderstanding of the site's technicalities. AnimeSuki only indexes hyperlinks, which is no different than say Google. In any case, no matter what you decide to list, it won't be illegal doing.
That being said, listing direct stream rips of licensed shows would be kind of inappropriate for this site. Even listing TV-based fansubs wouldn't give it much of an excuse as far as morals are concerned, but it would give the site a new mission. Basically, the site decides to list only fansubs with quality TV sources + the usual R2 DVD/BD-based fansubs + links to legal streams, as surveyed.

Reflecting personal morals into other people's faces can get ugly (believe me when I say this). As long as your site tries to encourage support for anime-related purchases, I don't see why you should have any moral qualms about it. The issue is that if you plan on using lack of DVD releases as an argument for listing licensed anime stream rips, it's a pretty weak argument because we all know that web distribution is the way of the future. Anime had its shot in America and America blew it, now the ball is in Japan to make something out of the international market, but the way things are, streaming licences for niche titles are going to be just as NOT profitable as they were for America on DVD. Naruto is big online, sure, but sooner or later Japan is going to figure out that Crunchy's business model ain't worth it for niche anime, mostly because there's other content that people watch these days and can't be bothered by no-name titles. It's a bit different than walking into a store and coming across the anime section. There are perfectly tried ways to sell niche anime, but not on $7/month subscription + ads that get split among various content providers. That's pocket change.

For me, AnimeSuki as a torrent listing website has ran out of its usefulness a long time ago, I just visit it for its forum, but I know that torrent traffic plays its part in keeping the community alive, so yeah, I'm concerned.
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Old 2009-04-27, 12:40   Link #9
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I agree with this, but put streaming links on another page. I really want to see the torrent page (the main page) with no change, with a streaming page linked from it.
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Old 2009-04-27, 15:02   Link #10
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I would rather keep the status quo because currently, not all people have access to super fast broadband connection over 7-10 mbps which is adequate enough for streaming and also considering the fact that most ISPs are putting caps on bandwidth usage, which is making streaming somewhat limited (read about the recent TWC caps and overage and you see what I'm talking about).

Quote:
I tried using a proxy on Crunchyroll btw, and it's indeed laughably easy to get it to detect your country as US so that you can hit the "Play" button. Unfortunately they seemed to have fixed that loophole though, as the video still won't play.
You can try connecting using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which will hide your actual IP address which will bypass the country check as long the VPN is located in the US, but most VPNs cost money (which can actually cost more in the end than buying the DVD) and shouldn't be used for P2P.
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Old 2009-04-27, 17:00   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHDpro View Post
Until this season turned around that is. I like anime produced by SHAFT. I have several of their series on DVD (Moon Phase, Pani Poni Dash, Negima!?) and like others too (SZS, Hidamari - etc). Not surprisingly I find their latest series, Natsu no Arashi interesting as well. But Natsu no Arashi is licensed by Crunchyroll, so there are no torrents on AnimeSuki. When I visit Crunchyroll however, I'm greeted by a "Sorry, due to licensing limitations, this is unavailable in your region." message. Argh. This leaves as only recourse to get the torrents on a "certain other site". But as creator/owner of AnimeSuki that doesn't seem quite right.
Thus my answer to question #12 being "No, never."

One thing that I believe that AnimeSuki could do, is to use the site to promote non region restricted material. Show them why region restrictions are holding them back. Then perhaps they will tear down that wall.
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Old 2009-04-27, 20:15   Link #12
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Quote:
Which I suppose leads to the question... is there much point in maintaining the site (torrent listing) the way it is now? I know some of you really don't care (ahem, see previous poster, ahem), but does anyone else still do?
I personally don't use Animesuki for torrents, except for the cases when I prefer the way you guys index them in your RSS feeds (for example, both XviD and H264 releases, with a sane way of adding the fansubbers' name, etc). If dropping the torrent listing would lead to lifting the ban on talking about fansubs of licensed and MFI shows, then I'm all in for it.
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Old 2009-04-27, 21:11   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHDpro View Post

Which I suppose leads to the question... is there much point in maintaining the site (torrent listing) the way it is now? I know some of you really don't care (ahem, see previous poster, ahem), but does anyone else still do?

For those worried: this discussion is about the site. The forum is obviously still quite alive and kicking, and will remain no matter what happens to the main site, as long as I can help it.
Personally, and this is a completely personal opinion, i found this site thanks to the torrents. I no longer use this site for torrents however, but without them i would have never came here. Even if my friends told me about this awesome fourm, i probably would have ignored this without the torrents. I wouldn't be surprised that most of the fourm members here came for the torrent, and stayed for the fourms. I would predict a large drop in new users if the torrent site went down. To me the torrents are the origins and the real heart of the site even if the fourms are the soul.

I don't know how much work is put into the site so maybe its just too much work to keep it going, but i don't want to see it go.
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Old 2009-04-27, 23:11   Link #14
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Originally Posted by SeedFreedom View Post
Personally, and this is a completely personal opinion, i found this site thanks to the torrents. I no longer use this site for torrents however, but without them i would have never came here. Even if my friends told me about this awesome fourm, i probably would have ignored this without the torrents. I wouldn't be surprised that most of the fourm members here came for the torrent, and stayed for the fourms. I would predict a large drop in new users if the torrent site went down. To me the torrents are the origins and the real heart of the site even if the fourms are the soul.

I don't know how much work is put into the site so maybe its just too much work to keep it going, but i don't want to see it go.
A most interesting comment.

I too became interested in this site because of the torrents; Heck, it took me more than a month to even notice there was also a forum here.

Don't know how it is for everybody else, but I wouldn't be here to begin with had the site been void of torrent listings.
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Old 2009-04-28, 01:22   Link #15
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I also came here because someone told me that this site has a great listing of torrents. Then, I discovered the forums and the rest is history.
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Old 2009-04-28, 11:02   Link #16
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I don't think crunchyroll and other streaming sites should count as licenses for the reason that what they stream can and does get licensed. For instance, Naruto is licensed by Viz Media. However, crunchyroll's streaming of it cannot be a license, since licenses grant exclusive rights to a single company to distribute it.

In addition, crunchyroll has not yet sent out a C+D letter, and I think that is because they do not have the authority to.

Now, I do not think that groups which just take crunchyroll rips and host them should be allowed on. But I think streaming sites are just supplemental options.
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Old 2009-04-28, 12:29   Link #17
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I also arrived initially for the torrents.... one might just consider the torrent listings to be a "gateway" for new members who then later move on to "wilder sites". I still use this torrent site as a first stop to check for torrents or as handy linkages to anidb, official site, etc when investigating a new series.

If you do mix torrents and streaming, I'd want the "streamed by XXXX" clearly designated. That'd still help people to FIND where they can watch series (and the more adept among them can still capture streams). I suppose AS could host a global anonymizing proxy, um, simply for patrotic free speech purposes

I'm really concerned that this CrunchyRoll experiment is going to lead to many series that might have been licensed to DVD never getting that action. So I'm left with no fansubs AND no DVDs. MFI has already shown me that they're totally uninterested in my money or in me seeing their works so I feel perfectly comfortable with my response to their antics.
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Old 2009-04-28, 12:49   Link #18
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However, crunchyroll's streaming of it cannot be a license, since licenses grant exclusive rights to a single company to distribute it.
No, a license is not necessarily exclusive. There are some licenses that are typically sold exclusively (Home Video, translation, etc) and others that are not (Merchandising, Digital Distribution, TV, etc). It actually isn't uncommon for Japan to sell a part of the license to more than one party (see GITS:SAC). The companies will typically buy the exclusive versions when they can so that they can be the sublicensor instead of Japan. Japan has figured out that they can easily sell the non-exclusive group of rights to multiple parties and make more money and there it doesn't really create problems. This is why you see various Gonzo titles being put up by Gonzo in some places and ADV or FUNimation in other places.

Quote:
In addition, crunchyroll has not yet sent out a C+D letter, and I think that is because they do not have the authority to.
Crunchyroll could C&D if they wanted to as they have bought the digital distribution rights from the parent companies. The reason they haven't is probably because of things like the internet bitchstorm that happened when FUNi C&D'd for FMA:B. A good portion of their userbase is the ignorant teenagers who like to treat themselves as the victim when C&Ds are thrown around.
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Old 2009-04-28, 15:57   Link #19
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How do you think we should treat streaming-only licenses?
As far as I'm concerned, you should do whatever you think you can get away with legally from the country AS servers are located. ( with the exception of hosting licensed for DVD distro anime in English. )

As for the streams listed, I strongly prefer not listing pay-to-view streams. And fansub sanctioned streams only. The only time I buy anime is when the "complete series collection" package DVD of an anime I found worthy of purchase when watching it through fansubs is released in my area. I refuse to pay for low quality streaming crap.

Quote:
Should we continue to ban MFI titles from the site?
Like above, if you can get away with it...go ahead and unban. I think MFI was mistaken when they sent the copyright crap notice, and these days everyone just goes to "That other site" when they want to get MFI anime fansubs anyways. It's a pointless restriction and if you don't believe you are in any real danger of legal trials then there is basically no reason for suki to continue not listing MFI titles.

Last edited by Edgewalker; 2009-04-28 at 18:55.
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Old 2009-04-29, 08:32   Link #20
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Color me surprised seeing so many people say they've discovered the asuki forum via the torrent page. I'd have thought this for forum had gained enough mass to accrete material from the primordial noob dust on its own.

I for once became interested in the forum independently of the torrent page. I seldom check forum links out just because they are there (because they are almost everywhere and most forums behind it are just not worth it.) And if people are attracted by the front site content shouldn't they much more likely end up at the big databanks' forums (ANN, anidb, animenfo)? Or, of course thatotherbiggertorrentsite's forum?
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