Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Mon, 05 Jun 2000 13:41:38 -0700


Brett Jensen writes,

> Laws like that are just not practical. It may be illeagal but hardly
> unethical. most fansub distribution is probably unethical though. It's also
> illeagal to tape stuff off of TV but EVERYBODY does it.

  Note that I used the phrase "not necessarily okay". That's the essence of
the "fair use" principle. The gray areas of copyright aren't governed by a
hard and fast set of rules, but by a set of general principles based on
which a judge is supposed to make an appropriate judgement call. (Kind of
like the Bill of Rights.) The only way to determine for certain whether a
given activity is legal or not is to take it to court.

  But speaking of taping stuff off TV - "time-shifting" is, I believe, the
legal term - some manufacturers of recording equipment actually pay
surcharges to the media companies to defray the costs of piracy. Don't know
whether this applies to video recorders, but it is true of audio tape
recorders; the RIAA's suit against Diamond's Rio MP3 player was an attempt
to make the company cough up this piracy surcharge.

  In short, this stuff is a matter of judgement calls and compromises.
Absolute statements simply don't apply.

> It's bad enough that the magazine you write for only reviews dubs. ^_^

  Julie notes that these days, the video companies only _send_ dubs for
review; that's why even (generally) dub-hating publications like Tokyo Pop
and Manga Max review almost no subtitled products. For that matter, fewer
and fewer companies even _make_ subtitled VHS tapes anymore - DVD is the
preferred venue for subtitles (after all, you can turn 'em off).

  My soapbox moment: I don't think fansubbing hurts the market for domestic
releases of anime. But it's sure as hell helped kill the subtitled market.

- Mark

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