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Can the Teaspoon Model stand up to Bloodsucker Streaming Sites?

by BruceMcF Mon Oct 19th, 2009 at 06:56:34 PM EST

Burning the Midnight Oil for Breaking the Silicon Cage
crossposted from ProgressiveBlue

A little while back I saw a Tweet about one of these bloodsucker bootleg anime sites from debaoki, manga blogger at About.Com:Manga. So I want to check it out, and a little conversation ensued ... (NB: skip to the last section if you've heard all of this before)

The post that Deb Aoki pointed to was a whining complaint about getting a "Cease and Desist" letter from the American anime distribution house Funimation to take down links to bootleg copies of the works that Funimation licenses. The list (shown an item per line at AnimesFree.com) was:

Afro Samurai, Air, Air Gear, Baccano!, Baki the Grappler, Basilisk, Beck, Black Blood Brothers, Black Cat, Black Lagoon, Blassreiter, Burst Angel, Claymore, D.Gray-Man, Darker than Black, Desert Punk, Devil May Cry, Elemental Gelade, Ergo Proxy, Fate Stay Night, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ghost Hunt, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gunslinger Girl, Hellsing Ultimate, Jyu-Oh-Sei, Love Hina, Lovely Complex, Magikano, One Piece, Ouran High School Host Club, Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~, Samurai 7, Samurai Champloo , Shuffle!, Strike Witches, Trinity Blood, Welcome to the NHK, Xenosaga, xxxHOLiC, Casshern Sins and Eden of the East

Lest you think that "whining" is unfair:

I woke up this morning thinking it would be a crap day.

I was right. As I opened my e-mail inbox I found a nice little message from my webhost. Funimation had launched a massive DMCA notice and had kindly taken the liberty to go straight to my copyright-zealous host asking them to ensure that I take content down. They said I had 48 hours before my account was suspended.

So as it is, I spent three hours today taking down each and every category that Funimation wanted me to remove due to their licensing, each with a nostalgic flashback of the many hours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons that it took to link and add. In reality, it really felt painful removing over 1000 episodes of good Anime from the website. All the staff on AF are devastated as well. They worked hard. We all did.

So I hope that anyone who reads this little message understands that life never goes the way you want it to. And as far as `Anime' and `community' are concerned, Funimation seem to only care about the sites that would be too troublesome to take down and pick on the one's that try to grow. And what perfect timing too. We were just becoming more popular by the day. I hope whoever DMCA'd us from Funimation feel good about what they just did, because we must have been SUCH a threat to the industry that they had to have us remove One Piece alongside other good Anime.

But it wasn't all just whining: there was bravado as well:

But here's a little message:

AnimesFree.com will continue just as STRONGLY as it has been these past three months. Meeting everyone new on the website was great and I don't intend for it to stop anytime soon. So we're not going to quit just because of a few dozen series. There's two things that you can do when a bully pushes you down. You either stay down and cower, or you stand back up and fight until you can't walk anymore. There are just some things that the `Anime' corporate giants will never understand about how people rely on online Anime communities.

Fans supporting a healthy industry speak out

The first reply from Dave (URL seemingly deleted in a fit of pique by the site admin) received the kind attention of having a reply edited in by the site admin:

Jesus Christ, you need a tissue? The legal owners of the material claimed their rights to the product you compile links to. You are not a victim. They are not bullies. What you are is a whiny, entitled brat. And then the begging for money: priceless! Thanks for the laughs, bro, I'm out.

Reply from Admin:

And you've just wasted minutes of your time and my time insulting me which doesn't make a damn difference to... anything. And if they're not bullies, why do they pick on some sites and others? Or maybe ten or so other websites have the `legal rights' to stream all their products for free? Whatever it is, if you're going to post such a useless comment don't even bother putting in your site URL through the comments next time. Begging for money? That's about as retarded as you can get. You're getting nothing from us and we want nothing from you. Get lost. On our site, we always have the last laugh.

gia pointed out that some of these titles are available streaming from legitimate sources:

I'm with Dave- don't whine because your copies of copyrighted material that people worked hard to make so that they could earn a living had to get taken down. The only reason I cared enough to even look at this was to see if there was any indication of new licenses.

I mean, really- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood? Why would you even host that? FUNi's worked its ass off to make that anime available FREE and QUICKLY after its air date in Japan. Anyone who claims to "care" about anime or its industry should want to support projects like it.

... and so the conversation went. Having a link to the original complaint about the evil Funimation copied out through the #anime Tweetosphere and connected parts of the anime blogosphere attracted the interest of those who were less than impressed with all the work put into attracting people to get free streams with not a fraction of a cent going back to the original animators, voice actors, graphic artists, directors, or any of the other collaborators in the creation of the original works.

The replies started putting the site admin who posted the original complaint into defensive rationalization mode. Icy Storm:

I don't think this is worth complaining about. You're illegally providing content that others sell legally; does it not make sense that they use the law to rightfully assert their ownership of the content in the United States? I think the DMCA is crap, but if you're offering licensed shows here, I don't see why you're surprised and devastated. I think it should be expected. At least on Hulu, FUNi (and the Japanese companies involved) would probably get compensated in some way for showing Baccano! for basically free. Here, they don't get squat unless a viewer decides to buy the DVD... but how many people actually do that in the United States?

Reply from Admin:

The only reason why I was devastated is because I've heard many stories about Funimation and how harsh they are with their series. It's understandable, they have rights to their titles. But instead of simply sending me an e-mail, they went straight for a full on hostile DMCA which could have been avoided. If Funimation would have co-operated a little more, I would have been willing to comply and this post would have never existed. And looking at all the other sites on the Internet which are left alone, it really boils my blood. {emphasis added}

VamptVo of ani-gamers weighed in:

Frankly, you are an idiot.

What in the world made you think that you had any right AT ALL to post videos of anime that somebody else owns? The only reason why you are allowed to do what you do on this site is because no one steps in to stop you. When a company finally decides that enough is enough and shuts down a mere fraction of your operation (not to mention all of the unlicensed shows that you also have no real right to distribute), they're not a goddamn bully, they're somebody whose business is being hurt by your self-righteous bullshit. Get over it, dude.

Well, this generated a big rationalizing reply, which prompted a reply by VamptVo, which prompted another rationalizing reply, and that was when I butted in ... note that the interior quotes are mostly by the AnimesFree site admin in question in reply to VamptVo (just to be, uh, clear):

"You're supporting companies who never even aired something that was aired FREE in Japan."
Actually, it was either aired on ad-supported or subscription supported broadcast or narrowcast networks. It was never aired for free. If it had been aired for free, they could not pay the salaries of all the producers, directors, animators or voice actors involved.

"Unless, of course, you guys are Funimation employees. In which case, you can keep your jobs."
Actually what happened is this page link hit Twitter, so it was exposed to a broader cross-section of anime fans, including those who support anime.

"Funimation should work in CONJUCTION with sites such as this in order to provide both for anime communities local and abroad."
Why? There is no revenue stream from sites like this to even support the salaries of the employees who are "working with" sites such as this.


... is their effort to generate revenue from video streaming. Why should Funimation undermine its own revenue, when Funimation's revenues are what pays for its licenses, which are one of the income streams that funds the industry in Japan and helps new anime series be financed?

"This site doesn't just help US people who can purchase Anime for themselves, but also in other countries where DVD purchases are far out of reach."
Simply block access from US locations, and US license holders will not bother with you. In fact, block Region 1 and 2, and pragmatically you are unlikely to attract much notice at all.

And backing slowly away from the storm in the teacup

It goes on ... indeed, I have another point by point reply, VamptVo weighs in again, but the point is not this particular bloodsucking bootleg site amongst the swarm of bloodsucking bootleg sites out there. The point is rather trying to think through how niche creative industries are to survive when they have had much of their income stream knocked to one side.

It became clear to me just how naive the site admin was when I received this challenge:

As for Bruce however, who makes some constructive points -

Name me one Anime licensing company that has folded over because of the recent financial crisis.

Setting aside the notion that the recent recession was the start of the recent financial crisis in the anime distribution industry in the US, I did some googling and in less than a quarter hour came up with:

The Synch-Point R1 division of Broccoli shut down in 2005. The Geneon USA division was shut down in December 3, 2007. Central Park Media filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in April of 2009. Last month, ADV finished the re-organization it was forced into by threat of insolvency, re-organizing as AEsir/Sentai and spinning off its production arm.

That leaves Viz Media, Bandai and Funimation as the substantial surviving dubbing houses, with AnimEigo, Manga, Media Blasters, and Nozomi all adopting lower overhead niche marketing distribution strategies focused on sub-only thinpack boxset distribution.

Now, as noted in some of the discussion above, its not as if its impossible to get legit streams for many of the animes under discussion. For example, the site Crunchyroll which gained the reputation of being the "YouTube of Anime", largely on bootleg copies, went entirely legit at the beginning of this year, and now streams about half of the Japanese Fall season line-up, an hour after Japanese broadcast for subscribers and by ad-supported free stream, normally a week later, for the balance of members.

Yet when I took a closer look at Animesfree, I found they were linking to the following clips which I knew to be Crunchyroll streams:

And just who is "cache01-videos02.myspacecdn.com"? According to Whois.Com, the administrative contact is

Fox Webmaster
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Intellectual Property Department P.O. Box 900
Beverly Hills CA 90213


"MyspaceNCD" seems to mean, in other words, "Network Data Communications" service served by the myspace.com servers.

Does this mean that Twentieth Century Fox is streaming these films and Animesfree is leaching off of them? Does it mean someone has uploaded the bootleg files (maybe at the request of AnimesFree, maybe not) using a free video server, and that is being leached by Animesfree? I have no idea.

But it does highlight the perilous state of niche businesses like anime distributers in the new information economy. This is just a small sample of the information that could be automatically harvested from AnimesFree and followed up to find the actual site where the bootleg material is being stored. After all, "off-site" streaming sites have to tell the Java player that they are using where to find the material, so they can't keep secret the location that they are leaching material from.

Including, in this case, proving themselves to thin skinned in response to criticism in the disclaimer that they put up on episode player page:

Note: AnimesFree is a streaming website which embeds already uploaded videos on the Internet much like the way Google embeds searches. In case anyone had any misguided ideas about the purpose of this site, we fully support the Anime licensing industry and encourage anyone who watches and likes a particular series to go buy it, from sites such as VizMedia or your local Anime licensee.

Oddly, at their Armed Librarians: Book of Bantarra (Crunchyroll) pages, while they stream the third episode from MySpaceCDN.com and link to an external free streaming site for episode 2, they seem to stream the video for episode 1 from:

Now, I have not been able to confirm whether they are hosting that file, or whether that link is, for example, required to launch a process to leach off of some larger site like Veoh (which when I checked does seem to have several copies of Book of Bantorra). However, if that is a file at their server rather than a process, then it would show how "flexible" they are with respect to their disclaimer.

What does the Teaspoon Model have to do with it?

The lovely Shakespeare's Sister at Shakesville presents the teaspoon model like this:

The teaspoon reference started with my post on International Human Rights Day, when I said: "Today is the final day of the 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence, during which I suppose I have blogged exactly as often as always about violence against women, in America and abroad. Sometimes it feels like it's all I ever write about; sometimes it feels like I can't possibly write about it enough to do the issue justice; often, those feelings exist within me simultaneously. All I ever do is try to empty the sea with this teaspoon; all I can do is keep trying to empty the sea with this teaspoon." From that came the Shakesville Silver Teaspoon for Random Acts of Feminism, and a whole lot of subsequent references to teaspoons in these pages, when we are feeling crushed by the vastness of the work to be done.

As far as the economic health of this creative industry which is just a niche market in the US economy, and the success of efforts to try to come up with business models that can work in the new information economy - AnimesFree is not "the problem". They are one small bloodsucking fly in a cloud of bloodsucking flies.

And swatting down that cloud of bloodsucking flies would seem to be impossible but still, I wonder. After all, as I noticed when I started looking into this - being an aggregator for material available elsewhere in the Internet means pointing to where to find the material. And the reason they attract memberships (they are presently trying to raise $100 for their new and improved site design) is because its time consuming to wander around the back alleys and dank corners of the Internet trying to find places where the bootleg material is available.

So this is what I was thinking. Perhaps a small, struggling company that wanted to reduce the density of the cloud of bloodsucking flies draining the work of the artists who create this material of market value could gain leverage not by trying to find the Super-Teaspoon - but by recruiting a supporting group, each armed with ordinary teaspoons.

There'd have to be at least one person at the company actually sending out the letters to the sites streaming the bootlegs - but they would be far more effective if backed up by ten or twenty people contributing a couple of hours a week tracking down where the material is located. Indeed, the "white hats" could drop in info on where to get the material legally while at the bootleg bloodsucker streaming sites, including the proliferating opportunities for legal free streams.

Anyway, that's the idea that comes to mind when I think about the position of small, struggling distribution companies trying to survive the turbulent transition from the Old Media economy to the New Media economy.

Midnight Oil: Bedlam Bridge promotional clip


Oh, wait, its nothing like that at all.

(BTW: click through to YouTube for translated lyrics)

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Oct 19th, 2009 at 06:57:48 PM EST
This actually poses an interesting challenge. Namely how to design and implement an intellectual property regime that

  1. Keeps niche companies in business.

  2. Protects the rights of artists.

  3. Does not grant unreasonable privileges to large, mainstream companies.

  4. Ensures that all solvent customers are able to obtain a legal product.

As far as I can tell, current copyright law fulfils 1) and 4) only partially and 2) and 3) not at all.

A fifth and sixth bullet could be added specifically for electronically distributed products: Users should be permitted to make however many backups they damn well please, as long as it's backups for personal use only.

And users should be permitted to hack the product (and any and all DRM it comes wrapped in) in order to fix security and compatibility issues. Either you make your software standards-compliant and free of malware (yes, Sony, I'm looking at you), or you allow people to reverse-engineer it. Simple, no?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 19th, 2009 at 09:55:33 PM EST
The challenge facing the niche companies, of course, is given a rights regime that only protects those companies big enough to have a full time professional sweeping operation - how to survive?

Given that they have the target not of completely suppressing all bootleg distribution but rather to make sure that legit free streams is more convenient for most people in most Region 1 and Region 2 countries.

If distributors can advertise or gain subscribers in North America (Region 1) Europe and Japan (and as it happens, South Africa) (Region 2), it seems likely that anime creators could well end up mostly giving up on much of Region 3 (ASEAN), Region 4 (Australia, Oceania and Latin America), Region 6 (China) and Region 5 (the balance of Asia and Africa).

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 01:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Artists don't have rights. That's the whole point of the new economy.

Bankers have rights. Stockholders have rights, sort of.

Little people who make stuff - no. Unless they have teh sexy. Then they have rights, of a sort.

Given this - which is the premise of all the vampire blood-sucking sites, including Pirate Bay, etc - it's already a lost battle. Because buyers, and vampires, assume creative work is worth exactly nothing.

The bizarre thing about the file sharing sites is that so many uploaders expect people to say thankyou, and get in a strop if they don't. They've gone to all of the trouble to take ten minutes to rip and upload something, and by god, the rest of the world had better be grateful for that hard work.

The way to reinject value isn't to worry about units of stuff. The unit model worked when creative work could be sold in physical units. Now that's increasingly unlikely, it has to rely on a different premise.

I think the key is that all marketing is identity politics. People who don't want to pay money for a CD or DVD will be more likely to pay to feel a part of - something.

There are many possible somethings that's true for.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:06:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The political argument of people like the Free Software Foundation appears to me to be deeply dishonest - there is a reason why those people get contributions from the worlds largest companies.
by rootless2 on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do training in computer science or work in information technology breed libertarianism?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:54:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FSF and similar are not libertarian.
They have a vaguely hippie ideology that, underneath, seems to me to be basically anti-labor.

For example - see this.


by rootless2 on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 06:08:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stallman has an interesting biography. I don't think he's anti-labour, but I think he is an example of a not-quite dying breed - the old hyper-authoritarian, no compromise, top-down, cult-of-personality left.

What as dishonest was trying to co-opt creative culture with the rules of hacker culture.

Art is not code. You can't open source art in the same ways you can open source code. They're different media, with different social, personal and political functions.

You can't even map patent and copyright law from one to the other, because the traditions and history are so different.

Interestingly, there is an essay by Stallman or one of the other FSF people somewhere which acknowledges the concept of art as personal testament, which shouldn't be changed by third parties - any more than diaries or personal op-eds should be changed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 07:05:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Hacker culture" was the ethos of graduate students employed by the military.

I find this article perversely fascinating.


by rootless2 on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 07:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not quite. Hacker culture was a weird mix of engineering nerds, hippies, and people who were willing to do ARPA-ish research because the money was on the table - partly because during that period, the money was managed and disbursed by someone who was a hacker themselves.

Very little of that ARPA-ish research was militarily useful. A lot of it ended up in general domestic computing instead - which is likely a good thing.

What's depressing is the extent to which the free content movement has been driven by lawyers like Moglen and Lessig, who really know nothing at all about art, or what kind of work is involved in making it, but still seem to feel qualified to preach to working artists and musicians about how they should be trying to make a living.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 07:17:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I told Moglen once that I'd listen to him when he gave up tenure and salary and contented himself with the free will offerings of his students.

However, I suspect, like many preachers, he would do well with that scheme.

by rootless2 on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 08:03:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, this insecurity, valuable though it seemed in principle, was cherished almost exclusively either in the second person or in the abstract. Its need was thought urgent for inspiring the efforts of other persons or people in general. It seldom seemed vital for the individual himself. Restraints on competition and the free movement of prices, the greatest sources of uncertainty for business firms, have been principally deplored by university professors on lifetime appointments. Their security of tenure is deemed essential for fruitful and unremitting thought.

- Galbraith, The Affluent Society

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 08:13:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A distinction with many (thought not all) forms of music is that performers of music can use free distribution of music to advertise performances. And while there will be fewer multi-million dollar incomes with the demise of the big record labels, taking out the cut going to the record company has an upside as well as a downside.

Plus we get Pamplamoose Music ...

With publications (whatever the media), the publication is the performance.

One of the factors that pushes Japanese anime to focus on pandering to "otaku" culture, even where it may result in less mainstream appeal, is that in otaku culture, "buying all the stuff" from a favorite show is a way of showing off, so its possible to sell a series by the two-episode (25min episodes) DVD volume, then the boxed set with trinket to all pre-orders, then the collectors box set, all to the same customer. Plus a wide range of merchandise on top of that.

However, that is just one income stream for the anime producers. With other income streams under pressure, there's the risk of having all your eggs in one basket - and there also the question of just how much anime can be produced on the back of harvesting a large share of the income of obsessive otaku.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 09:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For comparison, the original:

... in which I think Beyonce looks like some kind of hypersexualised cyborg freak, compared to that cover.

But the cover is a cheat too. The video performance has nothing to do with the recording, which is heavily autotuned and looped. It looks folksy and cute, but it really isn't.

Pomplamoose won't get any income for their time. It's an enjoyable cover that probably took a day or two to put together.

But it's free entertainment.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 11:14:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the rules of the Video Song are given as:
This cover is a VideoSong, a new medium with 2 rules:
  1. What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice).
  2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds).

So not every loop is on screen at the same time, but supposedly every loop shows up on screen sometime.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 12:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, I don't think it is auto-tuned ... any more than the Carpenters were, when they showed a single voice is often able to keep a tighter harmony with a tape of itself than with another voice live.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 12:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... autotuner - according to the Video Song rules you can do any production trick you want to, as long as at some point you show it being done.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 12:18:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Melodyne is the tool of choice in the studios I visit. You can 'quantize'  a track i.e. autotune it, but to melodyne it means you retain the entire envelope of the sound as you shift it to any fraction of a note. Quite complex harmonies can be post-produced - for any musical sound source.

And loop technology is way past simple repetition.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 12:38:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they use it to manipulate the sound, its supposed to show up on screen sometime. I don't know anything beyond Audacity, so I wouldn't know what to look for.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 12:49:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tricky to deconstruct. Although it is possible to record all actions upon a file. But retro-fitting i.e. analysis of a mixed down sound file is notoriously difficult. It's something I tried to do as a producer for analogue recordings: find out how someone else's musical 'effect' was achieved and reproduce it.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 03:15:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thing is, if they are playing by the rules (have no idea whether they made up the rules), there's a shot somewhere in the clip of them doing whatever they are doing. EG, when they do the scratch effect with the patch box, they show it.

If they did the scratch effect with some other device or on the computer, and just pretended to do it with the patch box, that would be cheating. If they made a click sound electronically and showed it as closing a classic If they muffled the bass drum (their September cover) electronically but showed it being done with a muppet hand puppet, that would be cheating. And confer where they have the keyboard that is clearly computer filtered, they have both the keyboard and the laptop in one of the shots.

Its all samples mixed together, but they claim, at least, to show where all the of the samples come from in the video.

... though maybe La Vie en Rose is more apropos ...

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 04:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recording, EQ and such which weren't shown - probably done in Logic, which has quite a good pitch correction plug-in.

I'd bet on the opening harmony being autotuned, because it's just a little too perfect and shiny. But after that it gets less clear. There's quite a bit of timing slop on the vocals, which suggests live recording for at least some of the harmony lines.

Not that I'd want to be too picky - it's a very good cover, and I like it a lot more than the original.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 04:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on her Edith Piaf, which can't possibly be auto-tuned, I think the lass just has decent pitch.

And of course, there's no promise to show every sample they recorded, just the ones they used.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 04:24:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there is a commonality. In both cases we are dealing with skilled labor attempting to control work product and capital attempting to keep labor as labor.
by rootless2 on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 07:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But in collaborative publications, in whatever media, there is often multiple skilled labor / capital interactions and the capital tapped by the "producer" in a producer/director relationship at the start of a product may well be distinct from the capital represented by the distributor.

Breaking down distributor strangleholds sounds great, but if it is at the expense of killing off the production studios, its not so great.

Studio Rikka and Directions Inc., that produced Time of Eve seem to working on a "direct to stream" model, producing six shorter-then-television format episodes over the course of about a year, with Crunchyroll their American distribution partner. They also sold DVD singles of the episodes in Japan.

(They have also announced that they will release the series as a movie in Japanese theatres accompanied by a BlueRay release. So if the whole package does well enough for a second series, that is a "direct to stream/DVD-single, repackage as film for theatrical / Blue-Ray / DVD release" model.)

All English subs are available for free stream for the first season of Time of Eve (recommended), but I don't know whether there are European streaming rights restrictions. Part of Crunchyroll getting set up for all legit streaming was filtering streams by country of destination, which leads to constant complaints about specific series that are not available in specific countries.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 10:57:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the key is that all marketing is identity politics. People who don't want to pay money for a CD or DVD will be more likely to pay to feel a part of - something.

There are many possible somethings that's true for.

This comes around to contact what Erica Friedman has been writing about social marketing and micro-niche marketing. In her Sunday piece at Okazu, on Conventions, Trade Shows and the Anime/Manga Bubble:

But where anime and manga companies really fail is at Reward Your Market. Instead, they have been rewarding the audience, regardless of their commitment to the company. That means there's no meaningful way to gauge genuine interest and the size of the market becomes conflated with the size of the audience. Market Research cards and mailing lists are not commitment. It's easy enough to fill out a card or sign up for a list with fake or junk info.

There are only two real measurements of commitment - Time or Money.

Time and Money are measurements of passion. Reward people who give you Time or Money and your reward will have significance. People value want they pay for and do not value what they receive for free. Make fans sit through a 10-minute discussion of why subs and scans are killing what they love - then reward them for sitting through it. It reinforces the time they spent and the value of that time. And the thing they get becomes more meaningful because they had to work for it.

Instead of handing out bags to anyone who stops by in hopes that free publicity translates into sales, how about giving bags to people who pre-order one of a specific set of items, or who sit through your panel, get the card handed out at the end and cash it in for that goodie? Make your consumer work for that reward and they'll value it more.

Reward commitment - of time or money. Where would this tie in with the "teaspoon model" for fighting back against the leach streaming sites? It would be easiest if you were running a legitimate streaming site yourself, like Crunchyroll, where you could give, say, a X% discount on a monthly subscription to anyone who has made a "first report" of the file location being used to store bootleg copies for streaming.

But it would probably be more effective if it was organized as a group and there was some way to receive group rewards, like advance "reviewer" screenings of shows not yet available for general release.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 09:11:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While I usually have some sympathy for file-sharing this seems just petty. What point is there to run a streaming site that just duplicates what Chrunchyroll already does? It's like they go out of their way to deny the creators any revenue stream.
Having said that I suspect that without fansubbers and file-sharing the foreign Anime market would be only a fraction of what it is today.
by generic on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 09:54:21 AM EST
... fansubbers the audience would be much smaller, but it seems unlikely that the market would be smaller. After all, the expansion of file sharing has gone hand in hand with an expansion of the audience and contraction of the market.

And it seems likely that if Twitter had existed four years ago, and if this same kind of post had gone up, it would not have elicited the same response. A discussion between @Yuricon (who wonders whether this discussion here skims the edge of Godwin's Law) and @AnimePlanet:

AnimePlanet @Yuricon I definitely think that there's a new shift in the fans, instead of everyone advocating fansubbing due to necessity (availability)

more are understanding that companies WILL fail and it WILL effect the industry... tho a lot of anime fans are just cheapasses :⁄

Yuricon @AnimePlanet There's a shift of fans getting older, more mature, having jobs, willing to pay. Among other things

And, apparently wrt "tho a lot of anime fans are just cheapasses :/":

Yuricon @AnimePlanet They don't get that the companies that might eventually fail are the Japanese companies. If they go...Game Over

AnimePlanet @Yuricon Good point, and makes complete sense; with the advent of pay per episode and such I think that's helped a lot too. I'm sure a lot

of us remember paying hundreds of dollars for a 26 ep series and that was totally horrendous - nowadays much more attainable

Yuricon @AnimePlanet Some - it's still an evolving model and the popularity grows faster than any way to make money off of it.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 10:20:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... treated as a more "constructive" commentator early on is because I focused on that ... its really hard to make the argument "oh, we are doing this so people can get what they can't otherwise get" when everyone who is able to get your stream is able to get an ad-supported Crunchyroll stream.

I doubt the ads do much more than cover the cost of the free-stream (or maybe just defray the cost!), but the members on Crunchyroll are of course a potential source for subscribers, or "premium" members, who get access to the shows an hour after Japanese air time.

The flip side of the Teaspoon Model of ongoing guerilla war against the leach streaming sites is, of course, that the distributor has to be able to attract the commitment of fans in order for the model to work, so its something that one of the niche companies like Nozomi (RightStuf) or Manga would be more likely to be able to pull off than Viz Media or Funimation.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 10:30:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me a Bittorrent like streaming-system could help with costs. It would still run on a razor margin, but getting people to pay several hundred € for something they are used to getting for free is hardly a promising business model. Although of course stranger things have happened.
by generic on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 11:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't checked oanda.com but I'm reasonably sure that $7/month does not translate to several hundred €, and Crunchyroll does not require a subscription to watch the anime it streams - only to watch it as soon as it becomes available.

As for as torrents - that's how the original bootlegs are distributed, which are then uploaded to various free streaming sites that are then leeched by these "free anime" sites. But if you are relying on a torrent model, and build the torrent feed into the streaming player you use, you either have spotty availability, or else you need a seed farm to get the process started, and that seed farm includes the bootlegged copies that are vulnerable to copyright enforcement efforts.

Meanwhile the legal distributor can accept stream advertising from sources that are blocked to the bootleg distributor, so can offer a direct stream and better resolution with less buffering than a torrent player ... as long as the legal distributor can hold a large enough share of the audience within an actual  market.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 11:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was talking about the cost of DVDs.
by generic on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 12:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... but in smaller markets I expect (and indeed, its mentioned in the discussion thread at AnimesFree.co) they are more expensive.

But online distribution is what AnimePlanet was talking about in:

AnimePlanet @Yuricon Good point, and makes complete sense; with the advent of pay per episode and such I think that's helped a lot too. I'm sure a lot

    of us remember paying hundreds of dollars for a 26 ep series and that was totally horrendous - nowadays much more attainable

At RightStuf.com, a 13-episode season of the programme that the tip jar ending song came from is $37.49 (the five 50-minute episode OVA is $29.99) for a four DVD thinpack box set. No individual volumes, no collectors boxset, and to get a trinket (mobile phone charm), you had to pre-order, so no longer any trinket.

If the programme were available at a pay per episode site (though as far as I understand, its not), that's normally $2/episode, so $26/season (but of course, you provide the storage).

Via Netflix, on a two-at-once $10/month subscription, you'd get the four disks within a month, and if you had the time to watch fairly close to the day they arrive, anywhere from four to eight other DVD's as well.

If it were available on a streaming site like Crunchyroll (but its not), $7/month would get as many of the shows they carry as you care to watch, including catching up on their back catalogue.

Note that Crunchyroll abandoned selling downloads on a pay per episode basis, so evidently they feel that the ad-stream with early release to premium subscribers model is a better return on their investment of time and money.

If a leech site like AnimesFree.com launched people into the Crunchyroll page for the episode when the person is from an area that Crunchyroll is licensed to stream, and played the bootleg when the person is from a different area - while the original content creator would be in a position to follow that up, Crunchyroll would not have a legal complaint to make, and under the Teaspoon Model would point the volunteers to a different free anime streaming site.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 01:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think part of the reason I got treated as a more "constructive" commentator early on is because I focused on that

Another part is most likely that you didn't fall back on boilerplate IFPI talking points. Such talking points tend to elicit a (very understandable) knee-jerk reaction from people who should be sympathetic to the case you're trying to make.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 05:34:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... on that ... or maybe, since I don't know what IFPI means, I misfiled it.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 06:04:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IFPI: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry

Big-label record industry shills. They're the reason that you pay a fee to 20th Century Fox when you buy a case of blank DVDs to make backups of your personal filesystem. Because obviously, blank DVDs are only used to bootleg music and films. For added fun, the fee only goes to the big labels - so the niche companies actually subsidise the big labels out of their CD and DVD turnover.

They also have some decidedly questionable ideas on what DRM software should be allowed to do on (and to) your computer. Oh, and they're at the forefront of the assault on the common carrier principle, which is one of the cornerstones of a pluralistic internet.

So you can see why their talking points would generate no small amount of animosity...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 06:56:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, them. Yeah, screw them (the first time I read it as "International Federation of the Pornographic Industry", but it turned out to be a worse bunch than that.

My concern is how to squeeze income through the terrible system they have built to get it into the hands of the producers of the media.

Indeed, as I said in the Direct Action diary:

And I don't really care. For me, the point is that Fox is massively "in your face" when it comes to its copyright rights. There was a documentary of the making of an opera where the stagehands had a TV on backstage and a couple of seconds of "The Simpsons" were airing, and the documentary maker couldn't afford the clearance, and had to paste a different image onto the screen.

But does it have a "respect copyright" culture in terms of "think about the poor starving artist at the trickly end of the money pipe"? Hell no.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 20th, 2009 at 07:07:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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