[Image Source: http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/onep/]
I think it’s fair to say that since the rise of the internet piracy has never been more popular. No one needs boats anymore, pesky parrots, or pirate speak (except perhaps when used affectionately). In fact I’d go one step further and say that not only has the internet pluralized piracy, but for the first time in years pirates are either keeping pace or winning against those who hold the goods. However, in the past year, companies have stepped up their game.
The latest such escalation comes with an unmistakable amount of irony, as FUNimation, trying to curb illegal downloading and sharing of their content, has decided to sue over a thousand torrent users who have shared One Piece episode 481. Now if you just read this, chuckled about pirates stealing an anime about piracy, and then realized that you might be a victim know that at least for know FUNimation does not know everyone’s identity, yet. Still you might want to check in with ANN for further updates.
In the meantime, while I cannot deny that I have in the past benefited from piracy via subgroups etc., I have to openly support FUNimation’s right to claim what’s theirs. You might have many reasons in mind for why you would legitimize pirating; however, let me just mention a few reasons you shouldn’t (aside from any obvious moral/legal implications).
First of all consider this, FUNimation, which is by far the industry leader currently, has gone leaps and bounds to provide more anime, faster than ever, for free or at a low cost. One method FUNimation, and Crunchyoll, have used to do this is simulcasting. If you’ve read any anime news lately, or my last weekly column, then you’ll have heard about how the simulcast of Fractale, a new anime this season, almost was completely cancelled over piracy. Perhaps you’ll remember too how, when simulcasting was first introduced, some people stole the episodes early, also causing a delay/halt to some simulcasts. Needless to say the action of a few caused the displeasure, and more, of the many.
When you think of it in those terms you must also consider the loss of revenue not just for ‘FUNimation’ as a whole, but for creators, writers, line producers, voice actors, and other staff in the US and Japan. Piracy is all about an individual or individuals taking something from others a la equivalent exchange if you will. In this way you should see that piracy is therefore a selfish act.
Now I do understand how historically there has been a delicate, and positive balance, between companies and fansub groups, and how many fansub groups respect that, perhaps best exemplified when they pull a licensed show. So I’m not putting the blame on them, or the fans as a whole, and as usual really just want to highlight the bad apples. However, even if we are not the ones who steal, or distribute, we should be mindful of this climate of piracy. Of course, if a company has done wrong then keep their feet to the fire, but also be thankful for what has been done right and for what we have been given over the years.