You know, I had planned on posting stuff on Kamen Raider OOO today, another one of my famous über-galleries where I was planning on uploading a bunch of pics that have come out over the last month, just to compensate for the lack of Kamen Rider posts. But them something happened that thoroughly pissed me off. Some of you have actually been clicking the links in some of my smaller side posts, including links to certain videos on YouTube. There are three in particular that come from YouTube user Grass Whoppers, all of which pertain to Go-Kaiger. Because of these, and other related videos, Grass Whoppers’ account was suspended by YouTube, on the grounds of copyright violation claims by, you guessed it, freakin’ Toei. This pisses me off for a whole lot of reasons: 1) Grass Whoppers, admittedly, was one of my biggest sources of toku news. 2) Grass Whoppers always listed copyright information, so that claim is completely bogus. 3) Grass Whoppers only uploaded informational videos, he/she/it didn’t upload episodes or music videos or anything like that (at least not frequently), most of his videos were basically slide shows with music, usually composed of pics from the web. No harm, no foul, right? WRONG! At least according to Toei. So now, I have three non-working links on my site, my main source of news is gone, and another account was taken down from YouTube for no reason because Toei has been such a douche.
And the worst part of this is, that it’s not just Toei. Tsuburaya, Media Factory, and every other major Japanese production company has been aggressively targeting major video sites on the web now for over a year, unfairly removing videos, suspending accounts, and basically acting however they please, simply because it’s “their” content. And most of the people they go after aren’t making any sort of profit, their just fans who want to share their passions/obsessions with the rest of the world. The real problem here isn’t that the people uploading this stuff is making money, it’s the fact that these companies assume that THEY AREN’T making money. How wrong are they?
The fact that these companies can go out and do this represents a bigger problem than pissed off fans. No, the fact is, that their ability to do what they’ve done so far over the last year is a real threat to net neutrality. Consider this; at the moment, they can only remove content from existing, popular media-sharing websites, but how long before they have the authority to outright find and shut down whole websites? Now mind you, no one would ever allow such a thing to happen, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying in the past. At the moment, the most they could do is sue websites that have their content, presumably without their permission. But even then, it would be beyond unnecessary and frivolous. At some point, somebody is going to have to challenge these companies from a legal standpoint, because they’ve taken this almost too far. When American companies tried to pull this crap, Viacom attempted to go as far as to sue YouTube for allowing “violation of copyright laws”, and Viacom lost their lawsuit against Google and YouTube, the ruling representing that fair use doctrine took precedence. I don’t know whether or not such a legal battle even took place in Japan, but it needs to. Anyone who understands anything about the internet knows just how impossible it would be to try to regulate any type or amount of content. These companies need to realize that the more they try, the more their eventually going to lose. If that means taking legal action against these companies, then so be it.
And with saying that, I hereby formally declare internet war against Toei Productions LTD, and any other company that would use the same tactics to regulate the use of their content online. By their actions, they have denied a greater, worldwide fanbase that can only get this content online, and denying themselves of what is essentially free advertising, since many people outside of Japan also buy merchandise related to these shows. Their actions have made it impossible for anyone outside of Japan to watch their content, and have made it almost impossible for anyone to even attempt to put their content on any major video-sharing website. I can’t even think of anyone with the nerve to upload subbed videos of either Kamen Rider OOO or upcoming Go-Kaiger. But that does not mean that we should stop trying, that does not mean that we shouldn’t blatantly defy these companies and force the issue to come to light, because this is a form of injustice, and like the very heroes these companies create, we too, should be willing to fight injustice when we see it. If I have to, I may even go as far as to download a subbed episode and put them online, whether it’s on my YouTube channel or here on this website. I’ve wanted to make my own videos for a while, why not start with that? I just rather it not have to come to that, because then I would need to either pay for a direct download, or get some sort of torrent player, and most of those just aren’t safe or worth a damn.
Be careful of your next move, Toei, because it could cost you dearly.
-M.C., the quantum twin
UPDATE: (2/16/11) Look, I know this isn’t one of my most liked post, in fact it was voted down by three people, but I just want to say that I stand behind what I said. I’ll admit, I wrote it in anger, but what about this situation isn’t angering. Let’s face it, their actions are driven by corporate greed, which is the same everywhere. I could delete this post, appeasing those of you who have expressed dislike towards it, but that wouldn’t change anything. It’s still going to happen, and is probably happeneing right now. That’s just my opinion, so you can love me or hate me for it. Either way, I still win because you’re reading this post in the first place. And if you’re really that worried about it, I’ll do that OOO über-gallery that I wanted to do before. And it turns out that Grass Whoppers got right back on the horse, just look for Whopper Productions. He/she/it re-uploaded some of the same videoes I had links for, so I’ll try to fix those. New posts coming soon.