“Fansubs are EVIIIIILLLLL!!”
It’s true. We, who download fansubs, should be tortured and crucified and burned. In that order. Or at least, according to some dude in some panel in some con. Not his exact words. I paraphrased. (Or I might have made up some words.)
Yup. The same old spiel comes around every six months. It alternates with the “Support the Industry” bandwagon. And as a not-so-humble blogger and fan, I share an extremely biased and non-scientific and layman observation. I propose four camps, four distinct reactions on the “frakkin’ issue” that will never ever, ever die.
1. “Fansubs kill the industry,” says holier-than-thou individuals, spewing teachings of downloading guilt and shame.
2. “There are no downsides to fansubs,” says the naive fan, possibly in his early teens and not exactly earning his own living. Again, I theorize. You may flame me for the presumption.
3. “Fansubs is a complex issue that blah, blah, blah TL-DR,” says mostly reasonable individuals who can’t help but rehash the frakkin’ subject because of annoyance to pretension and to hypocrisy.
4. “Huh? Didn’t we discuss this before?” says the indifferent cynic, unfazed by the hoopla. He watches anime rather than involve himself to another of “those” discussions.
Frankly, I’d like to see myself in the fourth category with all the cool and calm they exude. Alas, I fall into the third category. I can’t help myself. But whichever side I am on, it matters not. I write not to rationalize and/or defend my downloading habits. Nor I count how many DVDs I collect each year to prove my worth as an enthusiast. I write to reiterate my layman views on fansubs, copyright, and new media.
Fighting fansubs, which is an integral part of the anime community, is like fighting against the tide. A tactic of threat, intimidation, and condemnation will not work against the Internet Generation. If one avenue goes down, another takes its place. As seen in the ever-evolving file-sharing networks.
Wallowing on traditional methods will potentially fossilize aging ideas. To survive the business game means to adapt, the most basic of survival skills. Inflexibility and echoing a dated stance blind old players from trying out fresher avenues. As with new media, competing with fansubs requires a brand new business model. Think iTunes, and how it monopolized digital music. Think streaming episodes on broadcast networks websites, and the profits generated on advertising. Think Radiohead’s In Rainbows embracing digital download, and garnering commercial success.
Instead of looking at fansubs as parasites of the community, why not view it as an organism co-existing with the anime industry in mutualism? At least, that’s what the idealistic part of my brain screams. The question now is “How?”.
For an exceptionally satisfying lambasting, head to Hinano.
For meatier reads, head to omo and Paul.
For rage, head to this dude.
For a good laugh, head here.