[ return : true ]

thanks for sharing.

am i right?

i pretend here to speak for all otaku, though i have no such power. still, this is my analysis of our beliefs.


as i'm sure all and sundry know, napster has essentially lost what they term their 'legal battle to stay alive'. this has triggered a wave of coverage from the fact-oriented media, and a wave of rhetoric from the opinion-oriented media.

let no one deny us our proper place among the latter.

historically, the anime community has been very friendly to mp3s, far more so than the mainstream music community. in a time when most mp3 sites cross-linked with warez sites, and many considered the very codec illegal, the anipike openly included an 'mpeg audio' section, with links to hundreds of pages featuring mp3s from popular series.

the reasons for this are obvious.

note that the anime community in the u.s. depends largely on fan-subtitled (fansubbed) tapes. legally speaking, fansubbing is illegal duplication of copyrighted work, even though to profit from it is socially unthinkable. However, anime studios and distributors tend to ignore fansubbing, accepting that it is not worthwhile to police, especially in light of the larger potential audience it creates.

The situation is roughly similar with mp3s. japanese cds, as you all in readerland probably know, are hard to find in the u.s. and (on average) four times the cost of american cds. mp3s have made japanese music available to a global audience, as u.s. music has been for decades.

otaku culture is closely tied to, even dependent on, the internet. peer-to-peer file sharing is something we've understood all our lives, understood from irc and dyndns, from hotline. . . from rooms filled with vcrs at conventions. fansubbers have already embraced this medium, posting files at a million free sites and hundreds of private hosts.

napster was never actually a community. at best, it brought members of a community together. it allowed me to talk with people from around the world, but almost universally, they were members of this same anime community that i know, tied into the same network. napster was not important, merely easy. if it goes, we will mourn and move on.

and what of for-pay, proprietary digital formats? in the end, it depends on the format, the recipient, and the amount. as an otaku, i would gladly pay royalties to the artist/studio, reluctantly pay the distributor, and refuse to pay some shadowy consortium. i would refuse to pay for packaging (since there is none) or promotion (since none reaches me). it would have to be something i could listen to under any operating system, on any modern architecture.

the community doesn't regard mp3s as piracy. we've used them since the format was invented, and it hasn't hurt the (almost nonexistent) japanese-import cd market at all. this is a nonissue. worry about something important.

wherever you go, we are all connected.


I was in the pub last night, and a guy asked me for a light for his cigarette. I suddenly realised that there was a demand here and money to be made, and so I agreed to light his cigarette for 10 pence, but I didn't actually give him a light, I sold him a license to burn his cigarette. My fire-license restricted him from giving the light to anybody else, after all, that fire was my property. He was drunk, and dismissing me as a loony, but accepted my fire (and by implication the licence which governed its use) anyway. Of course in a matter of minutes I noticed a friend of his asking him for a light and to my outrage he gave his cigarette to his friend and pirated my fire! I was furious, I started to make my way over to that side of the bar but to my added horror his friend then started to light other people's cigarettes left, right, and centre! Before long that whole side of the bar was enjoying MY fire without paying me anything. Enraged I went from person to person grabbing their cigarettes from their hands, throwing them to the ground, and stamping on them.

Strangely the door staff exhibited no respect for my property rights as they threw me out the door.

—Ian Clarke

is our opinion of the record industry clear?