A friend suggested to me that I should write some kind of a pre-warning note before I start writing one of my (Male) J-Idol Fangirlism series entries for the sake of the ones who take fangirlism seriously and of course, for the sensitive types. I thought it was a stupid idea to write such notice but after being attacked by the said individuals thinking everything I write in my blog is aiming specifically towards them, I reconsidered putting one up before the actual entry. Sure, these entries may direct towards fangirls in general, but these people have to keep in mind that they are not the only fangirls of a particular fandom that exist in this world. Sadly (or rather somehow), they think the opposite. Oh well.
This particular entry (and yes, it’s another novel-length entry, so if you hate long blog entries, best leave now :lol:) is another request from one of the users who stopped by my blog. It’s a pretty good subject too, to be honest, though I did mention a bit of this at my past entries. This particular entry will aim directly towards the said subject on the title.
In addition to being novel-length, this may even become in to a mini-series of the said subject. There is actually a lot to cover regarding fansubbing that all users and fans should be aware of. I don’t want to bore all you readers by putting all the information and such in one entry, so I’ll make it easier and break it down for you all. Sound fair?
Going back to the paragraph before the previous. In other words, if you come here and read this entry and then attack me and claim that you’re not interested in reading this entire entry (but you read it anyway, what the hell…), then seriously do yourself a favor and click the X button on the top right corner or next to your browser tab and get over yourself.
One of the benefits of being in a fandom of something coming from a foreign country online is being able to gain access to various sources presented by fellow fans to fellow fans. One of the most common sources that us fans are fortunate to gain access and enjoy more of our fandom is the ability to download and watch video clips of TV shows, drama series, movies, interviews, and even at times audio clips from radio shows that do not exist in our local TV sets or even at our local stores. Best of all, for a fan of something that exists outside of your own country, the biggest blessing that we are able to have is if these particular media clips have subtitles in them (most especially if they are subtitled in English, since most people around the world understand or have a good grasp of English in general).
There are several sites and communities (from forums to blog communities such as Livejournal and/or VOX as well as social networking sites like Facebook) that offer subtitled clips for free. The keyword to that is free, and it’s all because of copyright issues. You get sued by the producers of those clips if you do request users to pay you just to see your subtitled works (unless if you’re really authorized officially by these said producers to subtitle their works) for copyright violation and unauthorized sale (meaning you getting all the profit and none to the original producers). You know the deal.
Within these communities there are various subtitling groups that are established. Let’s take ARASHI fandom, for example. As far as to my knowledge there are three (maybe more but so far three) major subtitling groups that only specifically provide subtitles (fansubs is a more appropriate term) for various clips, TV shows and dramas, movies, etc. that stars ARASHI or any one of the members. These subbing teams belong to three existing global fan forums right now: Arashian, Aibakaland, and Arashi Forum.
These subtitling teams consist of volunteers— all of them fans (otherwise why join in to something you’re not interest in?)— and they devote their time to work through the process of subtitling these clips (from jotting down transcripts and translating them in different languages, editing, timing and syncing, etc.). Since I mentioned that they are volunteers, it means that they are not getting paid to do what they’re supposed to do. In other words, they are devoting their time and their skill for the sake of their fellow fans, especially those who have little to no access to these clips. For the entire fandom’s sake, it’s a good thing. It feels good as a fan, new, present, and former, to know that with the latest technology and access that we have that we are able to see our foreign fandoms more conveniently than ever.
However, there are some limitations regarding this fair use and free access. Like everything else, there’s always a good and bad side to this. These subtitling groups have set their regulations and conditions towards the rest of their fans. This is not because they are being mean or anything like that. Keep in mind that anything that we do voluntary for ourselves as fans (and subtitling is included) is actually questionable to the upper-ups, most notably Johnny’s/JE.
If you have been a long-time JE fan (as in you’re not just specifically a fan of ARASHI, but also a fan of other JE-managed groups such as KAT-TUN, Kinki Kids, SMAP, V6, NEWS, Hey! Say! JUMP, etc.) for the longest time, then I will assume that you may know and guess the purpose behind some of the subtitling groups rather strict and sometimes redundant regulations.
- Any type of photography or other types of visuals (whether if they’re official photographs or magazine scans— screencaps of videos too) of any JE idols are forbidden to be posted in the internet, whether if it’s for web designing purposes, galleries, or even on official sites. Period. If you even notice, even the JE official site does not have photos of their idols except for the CD covers.
- Due to Japanese entertainment regulations (Check out JASRAC, the organization behind regulating J-Pop clips being uploaded in public streaming sites), public streaming sites such as YouTube have been advised to remove any “official” clips of any Japanese Pop (such as music videos/PVs, etc.) uploaded by fans unless they were uploaded by the record companies who holds the copyrights to those clips.
As you can see, with subtitled clips, the latter of the two above is what mainly applies. And it’s because of JASRAC that these subtitling groups have to have these restrictions. After all, it’s not fun to get caught and get sued for distributing official media, especially if they were “altered” a bit, to the public as they consider that as copyright infringement, whether credit was given or not. Because of this organization (plus I’m sure their countries copyright laws can apply to them as well), subtitling groups would have to work hard to be a lot more discreet and limited to distributing their subtitled works to fellow fans for free under the fair use doctrine. It’s all for fandom, yes, but we also have to respect the artists and the people behind these original works, right?
Though these subtitling groups are placing these regulations towards their fans, there are some who feel that some of the regulations are rather ridiculous. Going back to my example of ARASHI, let me break them down per forum.
- ARASHIAN (http://arashian.com)
Fansubbing Team: Arashian Subbing Team (AST)
Regulations and Features:
- All guests and members have direct access to many types of subtitled clips.
- Arashian has three types of subbed video/clip boards: one called General Downloads, another called Restricted Downloads, and the very specific Arashian Subbing Team board.
- In General Downloads, you can get your current and past clips specially subbed by the AST. Some are also raw clips as well. You do not have to be a member to have access to this. In addition, only commercial clips, music videos/PVs, radio shows, news, and interviews are the only ones present in this forum.
- In Restricted Downloads, if you are one of the super-desperate ones who want to see the freshest, newest clips recently released, this is where it gets heavily regulated. You must be a member of the Arashian forum with a minimum number of 30 posts (although the rules thread says that it’s 50 posts— will have to confirm which one is correct). The reason behind this requirement is to regulate members who may be “leeching.” These are the people who join forums and communities just to download clips and sources freely without making themselves known or present to the entire community. Though there may be valid reasons why these people “leech,” many of them do not read the rules (or even care of reading them), read the rules but break them anyway, or those who are out to “steal” clips and upload them in to public streaming sites such as YouTube. Keeping in mind about JASRAC’s regulations, not very many (foreign) fans are aware of the JASRAC organization and their authorization over Japanese creative works, such as songs, written works, film, etc.
- The Arashian Subbing Team board is strictly for releases being subbed by the AST. The only requirement that you have for access is to become a member of Arashian. Just like the Restricted Downloads section, the rules also apply to this particular section as well.
- The AST also has a LiveJournal Community where they also release their fan-subbed works to those who would rather not join any forum community. They also have a privately-hosted blog (WordPress-powered) and a VOX blog as well (links are at the LJ Community site). The only problem with this is that the AST releases their works a lot later as the Arashian forum is the more priority location. So in short, if you are a user with little or no patience to register yourself at the Arashian forum for a mere 30 or so seconds, then you’ll have to learn how to be seriously patient. Otherwise, use these 30 or seconds of your personal time to register.
- The AST strictly forbids any user to upload these fansubbed works in public streaming sites such as YouTube. This does not limit to other J-drama-specific streaming sites such as Dramacrazy and MySoju. Again, going back to JE and JASRAC regulations, the AST is not being elitist like many fans may think. If you think about it, the AST volunteers are pretty much risking their neck to bring accessible media sources to their fellow fans, but at the same time they also honor the limitations set by JASRAC. We as media-hungry fans must also honor what these volunteers are doing for us.
Questions About the AST? Feel free to contact any one of the AST members (their contact information is in the Arashian forum or their LJ community) or you can contact me directly. I’m a global moderator of Arashian and I should be able to get easy answers for all your AST-related questions.
- AIBAKALAND (http://aibakaland.forumup.org)
Fansubbing Team: Stormy Team Fansubs
Regulations and Features:
- Don’t be fooled by the forum name. This is not a Masaki Aiba-specific forum. The original owner/founder of the forum was a huge Aiba fan, so probably this was the reason why she named the forum based on Aiba’s name.
- Because this is a free-hosted fan forum, Aibakaland does not have highly-sophisticated forum regulations system like Arashian and Arashi Forum do (both use the SMF system). Despite of the somewhat elitist tone that the forum may have at times, a user is required to be a member of the forum to have access to these subbed clips.
- In addition to being a member, you also need to have 50 posts to gain access. Now, getting 50 posts may not be difficult to obtain, but if you are a fan with a busy life, it may be somewhat difficult for you. I’ll touch base on the latter later on.
- If you are not one of those forum community types, perhaps you can try joining their Livejournal community site. But hold your horses. You also have to be a community member to gain access to these files. You can probably watch the community but I’m not sure if this is also guaranteed that you can gain access to the files. Not to mention that the Stormy Team members would not be happy with you as a watcher.
- Like AST, the Stormy Team strictly forbids any user to upload these in public streaming sites. Again, JE and JASRAC regulations.
- Read the Stormy Team’s complete regulations notice at Aibakaland. This should pretty much sum up their reasons why they are so restrictive.
Questions About the Stormy Team? You can contact the Stormy Team Fansub members directly through Aibakaland or their LJ Community for any questions or concerns. Their contact information is somewhere in there. You’ll find it.
- ARASHI FORUM (http://www.arashi-forum.com)
Fansubbing Team: Sakurai-Storm-Subs, AnS Subbing Team, E no Arashi, various other subbing groups
Regulations and Features:
- I’m still unfamiliar with this forum since (to my knowledge that is) Arashi Forum is the newest addition to the growing number of forum communities dedicated to Arashi. However, I do know a bit of some history regarding this forum and its connections from the Arashian forum. As far as I can understand, AnS Subbing Team is also the AST (unless I’m wrong— someone correct me on this one) as there have not been any posts regarding the AnS Subbing Team.
- From what it looks like, it seems that any individual who has some subbing skills are welcome to contribute their own subbing works to the community.
- One distinctive feature about the subbing team(s) in the Arashi Forum is that they will only do subtitling work on clips that neither the AST nor the Stormy Team have done or clips that no longer existed in the past. It looks like they provide their subbed works via user requests.
- Regulations are here at Arashi Forum.
Questions About the Subbers in Arashi Forum? Join the forum and contact the said individuals. You may even contact the forum staff, especially the admins (Aimee and Ai). For E no Arashi, you can check out their LJ Community. I can’t find any other way to contact others at the moment
Please keep note that there are several fansubbing services and teams that exist all over the internet and are not limited to the ones I mentioned above. Check out the forums and their community sites and compare and contrast on your own. You can even check out streaming sites from independent subbers who do not belong to a specified subbing team. You can tell which one of these clips are from an independent subber or a subbing team just by simply reading the credits added by the subbers. If you see someone’s name (or username), you’ll know that it is from an independent subber. If you see a name of a subbing team, then that is when you become aware of their restrictive notices regarding the usage and obtaining of these clips.
This first part of the Fan-Subbed Works entry series is basically explaining the view from the fansubbers’ point of view. The second part will be about Fan-Subbed works in the general users’ point of view. To make this entire conclusion short, fansubbing teams support all of these regulations mentioned below:
- Uploading fansubbed clips (unless if the person uploading is the fansubber him/herself) is prohibited. As I mentioned before, this particular regulation is based on JE and JASRAC regulations. In short, copyright issues. If these fansubbers get caught in streaming sites, they get sued and the entire fanbase falters. You don’t want that to happen, right?
- Fansubbed media hosts must have permission from the fansubber/fansubbing group to host their files. Sadly not very many of these hosts even bother do this simple tasks, which forces these fansubbing groups to regulate more harsh restrictions.
- I could be wrong with this, but these fansubbers/fansubbing teams will provide the raw clips to users who may request them. Why keep it to themselves (that would be elitist if they do)? Fandom is about sharing of everything after all. The keyword here is sharing.
- Fansubbing Teams always request for all users to realize the hard labor behind these subs (most especially the ones with direct accurate translations and the vivid quality of the subtitles). Call this as their way of “charging” you for their services. Good thing it’s not money they are asking for, but a lot more meaningful than money. Keep that in mind as you get a chance to download their subbed works.
Well, I think this is a good point to stop this “first part” of the subject. Next up in the “series” will be about Fan-Subbed Works and its subbers and subbing teams from the general user’s point of view. Third part would probably be my feelings regarding the entire Fansubbing bit of fanbase activity in the net.