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Comcast Targets Unlicensed Anime Torrenters 352

Posted by Zonk
from the hard-to-get-your-jpop-fix-without-it dept.
SailorSpork writes "According to a thread on the forums of AnimeSuki, a popular anime bittorent index site, Comcast has begun sending DCMA letters to customers downloading unlicensed fan-subtitled anime shows via bittorrent. By 'unlicensed', they mean that no english language company has the rights to it. The letters are claiming that the copyright holder or an authorized agent are making the infringement claims, though usually these requests are also sent to the site itself rather that individual downloaders. My question is have they really been in contact with Japanese anime companies, or is this another scare tactic by Comcast to try and reduce the bandwidth use of their heavier customers now that their previous tactics have come under legal fire?"
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Comcast Targets Unlicensed Anime Torrenters

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  • Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:25AM (#21404235) Journal
    Haven't the anime companies pretty much said "It's okay, so long as it hasn't been licensed"? I remember the first season of Ghost in the Shell:SAC. When it got picked up for the US market, the company who owns it politely asked the fansub groups to stop. (And they did if I recall.)
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Asmodai (13932) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:39AM (#21404301) Homepage
      Thus far the Japanese animeka's and mangaka's have never protested. I have also not seen any such hints in the Japanese media. It only served to further their fanbase and potential market. Whenever a series became licensed in the US most groups fansubbing that series stopped.

      Of course there's more people interested world-wide and it can be difficult to find it locally. (Not to mention some English translations are horrendous and the fansubbers are doing a very good job.)
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:51AM (#21404383) Journal
        So unsurprisingly it appears Comcast are acting on behalf of other parties who have never actually complained, let alone asked them too Yet another classy Comcast move.

        Just like the CRIA shutting down Demonoid, despite the fact that due to the levies we pay up here on media and players, it's been ruled multiples times by the courts that downloading for personal usage is legal. Also that uploading is legal, as obviously to download, someone has to upload.

        The recording industry body still shut down the site, which was hosted in Canada, despite the fact that A) really all they SHOULD be allowed to do is demand the removal of music torrents, and B) torrents which, in the host country, were perfectly legal anyway.
        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by KDR_11k (778916) on Monday November 19, 2007 @03:33AM (#21404621)
          If I recall the DMCA letter correctly you have to assure under penalty of perjury that you are or represent the copyright holder.
          • by Ash Vince (602485)

            If I recall the DMCA letter correctly you have to assure under penalty of perjury that you are or represent the copyright holder.
            But does US law allow a company to be prosecuted for perjury? If not the individual can get out of it based on the fact that his employer told him something and he acted in good faith.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by sumdumass (711423)
              It doesn't necessarily have to be your employer to be acting on good faith. It could be someone else claiming an interest and you can be acting for them. However, good faith doesn't necessarily get you out of trouble.

              Point is, if you don't know better then you cannot attest to the state of ownership so your complaint is false anyways. If I tell you that is mine, stop it from happening, and you file a DMCA take down, you better have a reason to believe I'm not lieing to you. Similarly, when you do this for a
              • by transiit (33489)
                More to the point, is the DMCA enforceable in Canada, as the comment leading into this point said was the context?

        • by SeaFox (739806)

          it's been ruled multiples times by the courts that downloading for personal usage is legal. Also that uploading is legal, as obviously to download, someone has to upload.

          I'm not arguing with what Canadian law says, I just wanted to say that it really isn't that obvious that uploading would be legal based on the logic that for downloading to happen someone has to upload.

          According to the DMCA, people are supposed to be able to make backup copies of media for personal use. But then, distributing tools to allow

          • According to the DMCA, people are supposed to be able to make backup copies of media for personal use. But then, distributing tools to allow circumvention of encryption and copy protection measures is not allowed. Wouldn't it be rather... obvious that the distribution of these tools should be legal, since they are required for consumers to exercise their privilege to make personal copies?

            It seems that Congress has neglected to consider all consequences of their legislation, presumably helped along by some l

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pv2b (231846) on Monday November 19, 2007 @07:06AM (#21405619)

          [...] it's been ruled multiples times by the courts that downloading for personal usage is legal. Also that uploading is legal, as obviously to download, someone has to upload.
          Your logic is flawed.

          What you're saying is akin to, "murder must be legal, since being murdered is legal, and for somebody to be murdered, somebody must be doing the murdering".

          One possible rationale behind laws that say downloading is illegal while uploading isn't, is that there is no practical way for somebody who is merely using a network download can possibly know whether the copyright holder has authorised such distribution. For all you know, the downloads may be sanctioned.

          However, when making a file available, you're expected to clear it with the copyright holder. On some level this makes sense, as long as you think along the lines of traditional producer->distributor->consumer lines, and expect normal people to be passive consumers.

          The fact that the Internet doesn't actually universally work that way any more, however, has changed the balance. Everybody's uploading and downloading these days, often uploading and downloading the same file simultaneously.

          To apply the same logic to modern peer to peer technology, you'd have to change the distinction from uploader and downloader, to a distinction between the person who ripped, encoded, and put the first copy online in the first place, and everybody else. That would effectively decriminalize peer to peer file sharing, although files would still enter the system illegally. Once they're in the system, they'd effectively be fair game though.

          I'd prefer the changes to go a bit further myself. Non-commercial copyright infringement should be downright legalized. The copyright system was conceived in the age of the printing press being an instrument of power in the hands of relatively few people -- not a society where practically everybody has access to a global information and media exchange network -- an own personal printing press if you may.
          • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

            by RicoX9 (558353) <rico&rico,org> on Monday November 19, 2007 @11:45AM (#21407743) Homepage
            I think your analogy is flawed. You seem to be looking at this from a US point of view.

            Prior poster mentioned that the Canadian courts have validated the P2P filesharers multiple times. There's a reason. Every piece of storage media has a *IAA surcharge/tax/extortion built in. Regardless of what it is used for. That money goes straight to the pockets of the media companies/*IAA. The charge is there specifically because the media COULD be used to copy music/movies/etc - DESPITE what it actually gets used for. For years, the *IAA has gotten tons of money for media that never had a scrap of music/movies copied to it.

            Basically, the agreement the government made (despite the protestations of its citizens) with the media companies is now turned on them because every time a Canadian buys digital media, there is an inherent contract that they already paid for whatever media they want to copy to it. Law of unintended consequences. The *IAA whines now because they want everyone to buy media twice, guaranteeing that they can have their cake, and eat it too. Tough nuts for you *IAA.
            • by Haeleth (414428)
              How exactly does this apply to anime? I seriously doubt the Canadian recording industry pays a cent to the Japanese media companies whose intellectual property rights are being violated when you download a fansub.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2007 @03:07AM (#21404473)
        "Thus far the Japanese animeka's and mangaka's have never protested. I have also not seen any such hints in the Japanese media."

        Not true. Japan has issued a formal statement to the US government asking it to take measures to prevent the illegal distribution of Japanese creative property.

        http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2007-10-23/japan-asks-america-to-stop-illegal-net-releases-of-anime [animenewsnetwork.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Microlith (54737)
        Make no mistake, the Japanese -are- pissed because as far as they're concerned, fansubs devalue their product.

        But you won't hear about issues with foreign licenses in the Japanese media. You'll hear about Japanese P2P users and programs like Winny and Share.

        And any actual fan would know that fansubs are copyright violations anyway and that unfavorable reactions should be unsuprising and you should support the creators ANYWAY instead of bitching when they get annoyed with your running roughshod over their ri
        • Some anime are never licensed in english, so the only way to watch them is by fansub.
        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Golias (176380) on Monday November 19, 2007 @04:22AM (#21404865)
          Make no mistake, the Japanese -are- pissed because as far as they're concerned, fansubs devalue their product.

          Says you.

          1. I defy you to cite examples of Japanese anime houses (not US dub shops) objecting to the fansubs of unlicensed shows.

          2. No US media company would ever have bought hard-to-categorize shows like Death Note, Nana or Prince of Tennis before the fansub community proved that there was a market for such shows among western viewers. Fansubs are basically free market research for the distributors.

          3. The big money in US anime distribution comes from dubbing shows with English-speaking actors and putting it on cable TV. When a show is released to DVD as a subtitle-only set (such as season 2 of SuperGALS!, or the "Uncut" editions of Seasons 1 & 2 of Sailor Moon,) sales have been lackluster at best. Fansubs don't cut in to TV viewership numbers on Adult Swim. If anything, they boost ratings and DVD sales, because by the time, for example, Death Note hit cable TV last month, the show was one of the hottest word-of-mouth topics at anime conventions and on web forums for over a year. No amount of traditional marketing could have done for that show what a few dozen "L" and "Misa" cosplayers at each and every con last summer accomplished to get people curious about it.
          • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

            by zalas (682627) on Monday November 19, 2007 @06:17AM (#21405401) Homepage

            1. I defy you to cite examples of Japanese anime houses (not US dub shops) objecting to the fansubs of unlicensed shows.
            http://www.animesuki.com/doc.php/legal/mediafactory.html [animesuki.com]

            2. No US media company would ever have bought hard-to-categorize shows like Death Note, Nana or Prince of Tennis before the fansub community proved that there was a market for such shows among western viewers. Fansubs are basically free market research for the distributors.
            Don't be silly and use examples like Death Note. Death Note was insanely popular in Japan and has been out in translated manga form in the US for a while now and NANA has also been available in manga form in the US as well. If you're going to use examples, at least mention Azumanga Daioh, which is more likely to have been licensed because of fansub popularity. Keep in mind that research from fansubs determine what people want to watch, and not necessarily what people want to pay money for.

            3. The big money in US anime distribution comes from dubbing shows with English-speaking actors and putting it on cable TV. When a show is released to DVD as a subtitle-only set (such as season 2 of SuperGALS!, or the "Uncut" editions of Seasons 1 & 2 of Sailor Moon,) sales have been lackluster at best.
            I think you might be confusing cause and effect here. Subtitle-only DVD releases are generally only done when they believe there would not be a good enough return on the dubbing. Thus, usually it's the relatively niche shows that get that treatment, instead of the lack of dubbing causing less people to buy it.
      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bryanp (160522) on Monday November 19, 2007 @09:40AM (#21406423)
        Whenever a series became licensed in the US most groups fansubbing that series stopped.

        That used to be the case. More and more I've seen digisubbers whose attitude is "Yes, it's been licensed, but we don't want to wait until they put it out, so we're going to keep subbing/releasing/distributing." I wish I could say these were a tiny minority of subbers, but I don't think so anymore.

        This hobby has changed quite a bit since the days when I and my friends would spend $75-$150 on an imported laserdisc and hook it up to an Amiga 500 with a genloc card and a script file to record a VHS fansub.
    • There's basically been tacit allowance of widespread copyright infringement for unlicensed anime because there is little incentive for the Japanese companies to try to stop it. That's because the English market for an unlicensed anime isn't open yet; they need someone to translate and distribute it. There's no money to be lost yet, so they can mostly benefit from the infringement to market the shows and get data on what's popular in the western markets. The only downside is the risk of not being able to sto
    • No, they haven't (Score:5, Informative)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday November 19, 2007 @05:50AM (#21405307) Journal

      First there are two laws at work here. The first is obvious, anime/manga is subject to copyright just like any other creative work. Just because it comes from japan (or anywhere else) does not change that.

      Second is the issue that it is NOT legal to make a translation of something without permission from the original creator. If I translate your post, that could land me in legal trouble. The law is a bit idiotic as it is broken the moment a reader translates something in his own mind to his native tongue. It also conflicts with most countries own laws on accesibility, translating for instance for the hearing impaired into sign language or in braille for the sight impaired.

      Nonetheless, providing a translation of a copyrighted work is by itself illegal.

      Now for the position of 'some' anime/manga producers from japan on the subject of foreigners distributing their work with subtitels. They ignore it. Some individual authors have expressed themselves more clearly, but as far as I know no company has ever uttered a statement on the subject OTHER then that they were against it. Any official statement that says otherwise would have the lawyers shitting themselves.

      Why? It would mean they would also have to tolerate domestic redistribution of their work by fans. No japanese court would accept a claim by a anime/manga company against japanese filesharers if they given an official statement that it is okay for the rest of the world.

      This is in fact the problem, the fansub community has become so big, so reliable and so good that the japanese themselves now use them as their source for 'illegal' downloads. This obviously upsets some companies, and is changing the attitude to fansubs, it is no longer just a few otaku's who share homemade vhs tapes. Some of the subs are in fact of better quality then the commercial release because fansubs are not restricted to the horrible subtitle system of DVD's and can use all kinds of fancy tricks like overlays and color and multiple subs to truly translate and explain what is going on. Plus, well, most commericial subs just plain suck as they get even simple things wrong such as the first name, last name order and use the wrong one in the subs even if the correct name is an essential part of the plot.

      Speed is another issue, fansubs are done in days, at times hours. By the time the offical release ever happens, the fan community will have moved on. The idea that you watch the first few eps fansubbed and get the rest on DVD just ain't real anymore, by the time the official western version is out, the fans will have fixed the few errors in the subs, rereleased it with the japanese DVD's as the source including promo's and tv specials and you would have to be very dedicated to buy it on dvd. With bad subs, and always the threat of censoring.

      So how come japanese companies still haven't openly attacked this? Well some have, and send out copyright notices immidiatly regardless of wether it has been licensed in the west.

      But there is a part of it that goes against japanese culture.

      This is turning into a long rant but the first is relatively simple, japanese anime and manga is often far more directly produced by the creators then in the west. They want to produce their work, and don't care about all the legal crap. Just like not all music artist in the west care about filesharing, they are too busy with their art to worry about it. This however is changing as the nature of fansubbing has changed and become far more proffesional. Most material can't be licensed anyway, because it deals with subjects you could never broadcast on western television (well US television anyway) or because it just too specific to japan (Card Captor Sakura was carefully editited in its western release to remove all traces of the series actually being set in japan). In short when you got a small business to run, that is constant on the edge of bankruptcy you got other things to do about then worry what some foreigners are up to.

      That neatly leads to the

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sanjacguy (908392)

        Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was in college, I got a chance to join and play with an anime club. I still have the marks - anyway... I helped out with a fan sub, we had a library that people checked out tapes from, and had six hour drives to the regional all weekend long copy sessions. The way we'd copy them was to chain a whole bunch of VCRs together and have somebody play a master tape. Whoever went to the copy session would then drive the six hours back and enter the tapes into our libra

  • I never really got it what the draw of anime is, can someone please enlighten me ?

    http://rndpic.com/ [rndpic.com] a total waste of time :)
    • by piojo (995934)

      I never really got it what the draw of anime is, can someone please enlighten me ?

      One advantage of anime over traditional TV is that (for most series) the story continues between episodes, and this can allow for a more intricate plot. (Of course, in some animes, each episode stands alone, and some TV shows have a plot line that continues throughout a season.)

      Other than that, I'm not sure what the pull is. I know that most of it is made for adults, so you can't really compare a lot of it to kids' shows. Maybe part of it is selection--there's a whole lot of anime out there. Maybe I just d

      • by Golias (176380)
        Sorry to break the news to you, but "YHBT."

        An open-ended question about the appeal of anime is one of the oldest and most shop-worn trolls on Slashdot.

        It's only slightly being asking, "I'm interested in anime, but don't know where to start. Can somebody recommend some good shows or movies for me?" and slightly ahead of "isn't anime mostly just giant robots and tentacle pr0n?"

        In conclusion: YHL, HAND
        • by Golias (176380)
          s/being/behind/

          Sorry. I've been away from /. for a while, and fell out of the habit of hitting "Preview."
    • by SeekerDarksteel (896422) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:44AM (#21404331)
      There's two big draws I think. First off, look at the success of serialized shows like Heroes and Lost. Shows with ongoing plot lines, rather than completely episodic sit-coms and dramas like CSI. Rather than being the exception, shows with a single overarching plot line planned from the start of the series (or even earlier in the case of an anime based on a manga) are the norm in most genres. So you can have development, a real crisis, and a conclusion in 13 or 26 episodes. Compared to most american shows whose primary goal is to stay on the air as long as possible, anime provides a better storytelling experience.

      Secondly, animated shows can tackle any subject matter. You don't need block buster CGI effects since everything is animated anyway. So anime shows can feature sci-fi, fantasy, or ridiculous action themes much more easily than an american tv show can.

      There are some people who like it because it's Japanese and exotic and weird, but all in all I don't think that's the primary reason. It's simply that the animated medium allows more flexibility and creativity than live action, but is stigmatized in america as being childish.
      • It used to be stigmatized as childish. I think The Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park changed that years ago.
        • by Telvin_3d (855514)
          I don't know about that. All three of those fall into a pretty narrow genre of comedy show. Could you really see someone pitching an animated show done in the style of Friends or the X-Files to any of the networks? And I mean that as a show designed to run in prime time, not Saturday morning or right after school hours.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        You can also see the inpiration for US shows in them. If you watch "Irresponsible Captain Tylor" you'll see a lot of stuff that looks like the Minbari later on in "Babylon 5". Tylor has a setting borrowed from a lot of other places too - it is more or less what original Trek would be like if the Enterprise was captained by the Road Runner.
    • Ya, I never really understood the people who know everything about every anime. I first got into Japanese movies because for the first time, I was unable to figure out the ending based on the first 10 minutes of the movie. That does eventually go away though as you read a bit into the history etc.

      Japanese media is just like any other media. Some is good, but most of it is crap. Japan just has a pretty rich culture to draw from. The music sucks (Hide is the only artist from the area that I can stand), b
    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:59AM (#21404427) Journal
      -ongoing storylines
      -many of the plots are based in part on japanese legend and myth
      -extensive use of metaphor and symbolism
      -it's not like cartoons here which are mainly for kids, a lot of anime is geared toward older age groups and tackles more difficult/mature topics
      -science fiction and fantasy brought to life through animation
      -a great way to test out your understanding of the japanese language if you watch the original non-fan subed versions
      -anime reflects japanese culture to some extent just like our own entertainment is molded by current events/culture
      -a lot of really good story lines that actually are worth watching and draw you into the story.
      -there are *a lot* of different genres and stories, if you find yourself bored with a certain anime series you can switch to another easily
      -there's a big community behind anime and manga- lots of fan-fiction and what not that explores the story further
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SetupWeasel (54062)
      For me anime is just an available source for more quality entertainment. I'm so desensitized to most entertainment that I dislike most of it now. So I look to other cultures to find things that are fresh to me. Anime seems to take a little more risk than American television so it keeps my attention.

      The people that are truly obsessive only make it an easy outlet for me.
    • by zakezuke (229119)

      I never really got it what the draw of anime is, can someone please enlighten me ?

      Plot, character development, basically anime tends to be quality entertainment. They are not like american cartoons which AFAIK are still affected by the McCarthy era standards. Anime tends to stand on it's own as well as much life action television. It's hard to explain, and I never fully understood why anime is taken so seriously by the creators. I have always thought of it like this, japan is relatively small country, and that being so I *think* they resort to anime as it requires less surface area

      • Plot, character development, basically anime tends to be quality entertainment. They are not like american cartoons which AFAIK are still affected by the McCarthy era standards. Anime tends to stand on it's own as well as much life action television. It's hard to explain, and I never fully understood why anime is taken so seriously by the creators. I have always thought of it like this, japan is relatively small country, and that being so I *think* they resort to anime as it requires less surface area to create.

        Your failing for the mis-representative sample fallacy. Like immigrants, the ones that make it to our shores tend to be the top half of the quality bell curve. We don't run into the other half because no one cares enough to sub/dub/import/torrent it. Just like Not all Chinese are hard working and mild mannered but enough Chinese immigrants are to spread that stereo type (I'm Chinese please don't racism mod me). The effort required to sub/dub/torrent helps filter the crap just as the effort required to actu

    • by QuickSilver_999 (166186) on Monday November 19, 2007 @03:27AM (#21404591)
      Hmm... Why do I watch anime? That's a good question. Several reasons that I can think of off the top of my head are:

      1) It's not the standard US crap that's all pointed at the lowest common denominator. Most US shows are so blatantly dumbed down that it's absolutely pathetic. Anything that strikes of being intelligent (and isn't a medical or criminal drama) usually ends up taken off the air in a season.

      2) It gives a different perspective on life sometimes. The characters are of course larger than life and more extreme than reality usually is, but some of the differences in how Asians and Westerners perceive life is fascinating.

      3) Anime doesn't need a $100 million dollar budget to put out a good solid high quality show.

      4) Good anime is timeless. Just borrowed some old 80s anime from a friend, and it's just as irrelevant today as it was then. Still fun to watch though.

      5) I don't have to put up with some annoying fluff head that thinks their opinion suddenly matters because they play a character on TV.

      6) I don't have to put up with laugh tracks.

      7) Voice actors on anime don't get paid a million dollars an episode like some American "actors."

      8) I was a fan of Nagel http://www.patricknagel.com/ [patricknagel.com] and Olivia De Bernardis http://www.eolivia.com/ [eolivia.com] so... The fan service can be fun... :)

      9) Different mythos and cultures can really make a show interesting to me even if I think the premise is kind of dumb.

      10) Did I mention no fluff headed "actors" that couldn't make me believe they were on fire if I doused them with gasoline and put a match to them myself?

      I tend to like the longer story arc anime, although a few of the shorter works are just as interesting. Cowboy Bebop was one of my favorites. I wrote bail for 2 years, and sometime the characters just reminded me of people I knew in the industry. Hikaru no Go was an interesting series as well, since it showed a glimpse into what it's like to be a Go player in Japan. I don't usually like the "Big F**king Robot" anime, although I do have a few exceptions to that rule (Armitage, Bubblegum, GunBuster). And although Naruto is a secret (well, not anymore) vice of mine I'm not really a big fan of the "Ninja" crap. What I mostly like about anime though is that the characters actually tend to develop as the series continues, unlike the cardboard cutout US characters. Most of the time it really doesn't matter to me what the setting is, as long as I can find the characters compelling.

      A better question though might be: Why do people continue to watch the crap that American companies have continued to foist off on the world as "art?" Like "Survivor." After the first couple of episodes, I kept hoping they'd drop a nuke on them to give the bastards something to survive. Or "Lost." I figured out why they didn't get rescued. No one gave a flying fsck if they ever got off the damn island. "Dresden Files" I liked, but of course SCIFI killed it so they could have more wrestling (True, it's fiction, but is there REALLY any Science in pro wrestling?). I have 200 channels and I usually end up on Cartoon Network, TBS, Nick at Night, Discovery Channel, or the History channel.
    • I am growing more and more towards the believe that Japanese culture is flat out superior to ours in terms of diversity and creativity. I recently watched in full two anime series: "The Law of Ueki" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", both of which were excellent. Animation is a time-consuming and expensive process, yet the Japanese seem to produce the finest quality artwork in their sleep without even trying. Their stories tend to actually have consistency, meaning, and development, and they don't see
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      That's easy and hard to explain: Good plots.

      The average TV show loses its appeal after a handful of episodes. It becomes repetitive, if it was any good and intriguing to start with. Most shows today are predictable and quite devoid of any plot twists. IMO, a waste of time, because you only get to watch what was a given after 10 minutes of the show. Rarely if ever a show manages to capture me, that's why Lost lost me after about half of the first season. It was a given that there will be no revelation, that
  • by corsec67 (627446) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:29AM (#21404259) Homepage Journal
    The DMCA requires the copyright holder to issue the takedown. If the anime is unlicensed, that means that **nobody** in the US is legally able to issue that takedown, and it should be ignored, or a counter takedown/law suit should be initiated...

    IANAL, of course, but the wiki page [wikipedia.org] is pretty clear on that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Microlith (54737)
      No, but the Japanese licensors can request it be done, or authorize a 3rd party to make a request.
    • by MWoody (222806) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:45AM (#21404339)
      Unlicensed doesn't mean uncopyrighted. It just means no company yet has the rights to produce an English-language version for local distribution. The original creators still own the rights to the work, and may enforce it as they see fit.

      The "don't torrent licensed anime" rule held by many fansubbers or fans is considered a moral restriction, intended to get more fans turned on to anime in general or a specific series in particular without drawing revenue away from (and thereby discouraging future) English-language versions. It has no basis in law; licensed or not, downloading anime is copyright infringement.

      That said, this story is still bizarre. Why care if an unlicensed anime is available with fansubs? I suppose if a future English-language release is forthcoming but not announced, they could think they're making sure they don't lose any customers. But if that's the case, it's still misguided for two reasons: 1) fansubs tend, historically, to increase sales of the released product, since they generate buzz about a show - hell, they're the only reason anime is popular here at all. And 2) the aforementioned "don't fansub licensed work" rule works in their favor, and such a bad-faith enforcement will shatter the basis for what's essentially a tentative moral code. Treat your fans like shit and they'll return the favor.

      But even this foolhardy move seems unlikely, since these are releases from different companies being targeted, many of them tremendously unlikely to see a region 1 release. It really does look like Comcast is generating these DMCA notices itself, which is just... bizarre. I'd laugh if they weren't completely without competition in so many markets, meaning for some people this sort of bullshit is effectively inescapable. I'm not a libertarian, but can we get a LITTLE help from the free market here, people?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Microlith (54737)

        fansubs tend, historically, to increase sales of the released product, since they generate buzz about a show

        This is an unproven assertion. At best a fansub makes the show available to those who wouldn't buy anyway, with a FEW additional buyers. At worst it may be cutting down the number of people who actually pay. I know there are a lot of die-hard downloaders who hate licensors for specious reasons, spouting arguments that have been destroyed regularly over the past 8 years. Suffice it to say, if the numbe

      • 1) fansubs tend, historically, to increase sales of the released product, since they generate buzz about a show - hell, they're the only reason anime is popular here at all.

        Here's the problem in the modern age. It's not fansub distribution networks who are mailing out VHS tapes anymore as the primary method of fansub distro. It's foreign bittorrent trackers, Directconnect hubs, ftps, irc f-serves, etc.

        I do download fansubs, but I'm not going to act all butthurt when my favorite series is licensed or the fansubber gets a C&D.

    • No one in the US can issue the takedown. Does the DMCA require that the copyright holder be based in the US, or just the person or organization that is being requested to take the work down?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014)
      Hmmm. This may be one of those situations where the difference between MUST and MAY comes into play.

      IIRC the standard safe harbor takedown procedure envisions the service provider as controlling the distribution of the materials in question. The service provider receives the takedown notice from the copyright holder, removes the materials, then waits for a counterclaim by the purported infringer. If a counterclaim is offered, the materials are restored unless the copyright holder promptly files suit agai
  • Copyright holder? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FooSoft (1150437) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:32AM (#21404273) Homepage
    Are we in the right to demand Comcast to reveal the name of the copyright holder upon receiving a DMCA notification?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Raptoer (984438)
      The name and postal address of the copyright holder is not necessary in the DMCA takedown request, unless a counter notification is sent. IANAL
    • Re:Copyright holder? (Score:5, Informative)

      by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Monday November 19, 2007 @04:09AM (#21404783)
      More than that, if the takedown notice does not include all of the relevant information, then it is invalid. The required information includes:
      • Identification of the work that is allegedly being infringed
      • Identification of the material that is allegedly infringing that work
      • Sufficient information for you to contact the complaining party
      • A declaration under penalty of perjury that the complaining party is the copyright holder, or is authorised to act on their behalf (meaning that if you send a takedown notice for something you don't have the rights to, you go to jail - perjury means roughly "lying to the court", and is a very serious crime)

      If no contact information is provided (so you don't even know who complained), you may simply ignore it. For some of the other parts you are obliged to inform the complaining party so that they can correct the error, but you don't have to do anything further until they do. Since you can't contact them at all without their contact details, you have no obligations when that bit is missing.

      I do not think that Comcast are sending real DMCA notices here, they're just making noise in the hope that people do what they say anyway. But if they were, the above would apply.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've been running a personal mailserver for the past four-plus years off of Comcast, this Thursday or so they just started filtering SMTP connections to it. The IMAP / IMAPSSL / etc connections all were working fine. Anyone else seen same?

  • by crowbarsarefornerdyg (1021537) on Monday November 19, 2007 @02:47AM (#21404353)
    Because it cuts into their employee's bandwidth to download the same thing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jibjibjib (889679)
      But it wouldn't cut into their employees' bandwidth. With the right software, Comcast could just monitor their customers' downloads and get copies of all the anime for their own use. ... I think I just realised why the NSA tries to intercept so much traffic.
  • It's simple... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Raven737 (1084619)
    Comcast has no idea what Anime is, they probably don't even know WHAT their users are downloading at all
    nor do they REALLY care, all they care about is what costs them money and that is people USING the service they paid for
    a wee bit more then others. (oh the horrible crime!!!)

    It is simply the assumption that bittorrent + lots traffic = illegal. No need to verify, just roll out the DMCA crap.
    Comcast expects that teir 'stupid customors' won't know how to properly respond and hope that they simply won't
  • Common Carrier? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bhima (46039) <Bhima DOT Pandava AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 19, 2007 @03:46AM (#21404687) Journal
    Now that Comcast is actively monitoring and selectively interfering with traffic doesn't that mean they are no longer a common carrier? Aren't they now obliged to detect and stop all the child porn and all the unlicensed & infringing material, and slander & libel, and terrorist threats ?
    More importantly aren't they legally responsible for such content on their network? Can't they now be sued by various interests?
    • I don;t think that they are considered a common carrier. As far as I understand it, they're considered to be a private network by which they can pretty much decide what can and can not go through but at the same time they have found a way around any obligations implied with that kind of control.
    • by jpfed (1095443)
      I don't believe ISPs in general have historically been classified as common carriers in the first place.
  • Must because more and more subbed anime is the only thing worth watching. Right now, on my paid for "digital" cable from TimeWarner, the only thing worth watching i some show on the Travel Channel about unusual McDonnals restaurants around the world. Damned if I had only thought ahead to download so anime ahead of time. Everything else that would have been worth while watching is reruns. The rest is just crap. So Comcast must just have figured that they would getter get more people to watch tv if there was
  • by jpmorgan (517966) on Monday November 19, 2007 @03:51AM (#21404701) Homepage
    From the DMCA, takedown notices must include

    512(c)(3)(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

    However, the letter posted in TFA doesn't look like a DMCA takedown notice. It looks like just a warning about acceptable use policy infringements. If they'd been DMCA notices then Comcast would apparently be committing perjury.

    • by MadJo (674225)
      Indeed, they are DCMA notices instead of DMCA notices. (as per the article) :)
  • It's interesting that so many folks don't understand what anime is. I've helped run a club for nearly a decade so what I can tell you and why it's loved has more to do with it's format I suspect. I prefer to call them anime series because most series are about 12-26 episodes long. Imagine going to watch a good movie and having it last for 12-26 episodes. It's why I like anime, they can go far more in depth than a good movie plus they cover topics that would give our censoring groups a heart attack. Som
  • I see this as a marker of just how mainstream anime has become. Back when there was only a few thousand people who knew what anime was, the studios probably didn't care. Back then, the cost of going after fansubbers when potential profit was near zero was just throwing money away. Now, millions know about anime, and there is potential profit at stake. The anime studios don't need the free advertising effect of fansubs, especially now that they have real advertising channels to play with.
  • Some History here... (Score:4, Informative)

    by initialE (758110) on Monday November 19, 2007 @04:29AM (#21404919)
    A bit of history here, could get long-winded.
    The actual origins of the letter are a group of Japanese Anime Licensors, acting under the umbrella of a foreign distributor, Singapore-based Odex Pte Ltd, which itself provides local distribution of VCDs, DVDs and sublicensing for on-air distribution. They first started going after their own customer base, by obtaining lists of ISP customers through their ISPs, (and please note the ISPs themselves were so ignorant of their customers rights that they didn't really put up much of a challenge to the right to obtain customer data, but hey, lawsuits like this doesn't happen often in Singapore). Once having obtained the contact info of the customers they started issuing letters of demand to the individual customer themselves for the amounts of SGD3000-5000 in restitution, together with a promissory note not to do it again.
    Of course, there are those who would say it was a fishing expedition, just to get the person to admit fault and become liable for prosecution (which would mean possible jail time under Singapore law).
    In any case, the PR backlash was immense, it made the news, and anime communities around the world took note. In order to pursue the alleged infringer without compromising his identity, Odex is now attempting to use the ISP as it's middleman to communicate their demands to the ISP customer. Which is why the letter is sent from Comcast and not from Odex itself, the company is supposed not to know the exact details of the infringer.

    http://xedodefense.org/articles.php?art_ID=3 [xedodefense.org]
  • first off, the lack of the actual copyright holder and contact information make me call into question whether it's actually a legitimate complaint or one of those BS spoofs that have been sent by various companies and private parties over the years to gag individuals they don't like.

    the thread in question speaks of baytsp, which has a long history of underhanded legally questionable tactics in their pursuits of general p2p discouragement.

    The other option is fraudulent emails sent by parties who dislike anim
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday November 19, 2007 @04:40AM (#21404991) Journal

    I see some people come up with the logical question, why still use comcast. Because we have no choice people reply. But aren't you americans, the country of the free market that should ensure plenty of competition? How come I as a socialist live in a country with multiple ISP's whose competition is mandated by the goverment, creating a free market and ensuring that any ISP that tried to pull this will be out of business very soon (it is very hard here to even find an ISP who still uses traffic limits other then the speed of your connection)

    Shut up the reply then usually is.

    Americans seem to be brainwashed when it comes to the free market, they been told that goverment regulation is bad and will scream about it at every opportunity but are totally unable to regonize the results of it.

    If comcast is truly the only alternative in some areas, then that is clear evidence the free market does not work. WIth current tech there should be at least two options, cable and adsl, in all areas, using the cable and phone network that any reasonable goverment should have mandated should be available to all homes.

    With both networks it is also trivial to mandate open access so that there is a difference between the company operating the cable and the actual ISP.

    Is there truly no alternative to comcast (an ISP that charges tripple for a better service DOES count as an alternative, quality costs money) and if so, why are americans so utterly incapable of spotting that this is wrong and needs to be fixed, by the state, because IF it is true it is clear evidence that the free market doesn't work.

    I can predict right now that this post will be modded down by an american who just cannot accept that the free market don't work, and get comments spouting why goverment interference is bad without actually ever touching the end result, that in goverment regulated areas people got choice and freedom, and in free areas people have restricitons and are at the whim of their ISP.

    • by tsotha (720379) on Monday November 19, 2007 @05:06AM (#21405107)
      Actually, most utilities in the United States are regulated monopolies. In my area we only have one source for water, electricity, gas, and (wired) phone service. I have the choice of two cable providers, but that's very unusual. In most places the cable company has a monopoly. If Americans have faith in the free market, one of the reasons is we have to deal with regulated monopolies like the cable company. Next time please check your assumptions before you start ranting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Americans seem to be brainwashed when it comes to the free market, they been told that goverment regulation is bad and will scream about it at every opportunity...

      This is completely, utterly wrong. Have you even talked to an American recently? Most of us are just as ga-ga for government intervention as are people in other, supposedly more "socialist" countries. Sure, we sometimes pay lip service to the concept of "limited government," but just look at our two ruling parties: both strive for bigger and bigg

  • by n dot l (1099033) on Monday November 19, 2007 @04:56AM (#21405061)
    ...that Comcast is apparently in charge of Gundam.

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