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The kids are all right, fansubs edition - Unjapanologist
In your texts, interrogating them from the wrong perspective

Nele Noppe
Date: 2012-06-29 11:40
Subject: The kids are all right, fansubs edition
Security: Public
Mood:optimisticoptimistic
Tags:anime, copyright, economy, fansubs, scanlations
Since I'm almost thirty and a new haircut just revealed a very distinguished grey streak over my forehead, I reckon I'm entitled to start talking about Kids These Days without including myself in that group.

Kids these days are awesome! Yesterday I did a guest lecture about fanworks and copyright for a group of foreign students at Kansai University. I didn't get far before an older member of the audience raised her hand and asked about this fansubs thing she'd heard about. So I explained in brief, and the teacher was intrigued. She interrupted the lecture to have the students pair up and discuss what they think of fansubs, and how they might solve the problem: fans want their anime quickly and are unimpressed with the copyright implications, but the industry isn't able to provide said anime with the desired speed and translation quality. Most of the students knew what fansubs are and had watched them. However, they were unaware of efforts like the Digital Manga Guild, a company that recruits capable fan translators to have them work on official translations of manga, light novels, and doujinshi - which is basically an attempt to legally harness the energy of fans who do scanlations, the manga equivalent of fansubs.

After two minutes, at least three student groups had independently come up with the innovative business model of the Digital Manga Guild. These were all people of about 20 who had no background whatsoever in economics or digital commerce; they arrived at their conclusions based on their experiences as anime fans, and basic common sense. 

I'm going to keep this afternoon in mind the next time I get into a Twitter discussion with people who think that fans who make and consume fansubs and scanlations are all immoral people who aren't "real fans". If a couple of random fans need only minutes to hash out the sticky legal issues related to fansubs/scanlations and invent a completely fair practical solution, I'm pretty sure they're not as immoral and unreasonable as some commentators make them out to be.



ETA: Randomly pointing out Fast Manga, a company that tries to streamline communication between manga artists in Japan and customers overseas who want something in manga format. Not familiar with this one yet, but I can see some fannish applications there - and innovative platforms FTW.
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