Please see the previous precaution notice. It’s pretty much the same except with a few additions.
In case you are wondering, I have never done any fansubbing work or anything to do with media files. The only “media” that I have done is audio files. I thought of streaming edited audio files on a streaming mp3 player at AMNOSnet as part of our promotional system to get the fans to purchase the CDs. Anyway, that’s just a sidenote.
Here’s Part 2. This would probably be more of a Q&A format rather than a standard article/blog entry.
As fans, sharing is (probably) the prior factor in a general fanbase of something or someone. Otherwise, no fan would ever appreciate their love and devotion to their favorite idol or group. Obviously, if they are foreign, you pine for any subtitled clips that feature your favorite idol or group. Sadly, the only thing that anyone can rely on at this point is clips subtitled by fellow fans who have the skill, equipment, and time to do so.
In the case of J-idols, or to be more specific, Arashi, nowadays it’s pretty easy to gain access to these fansubbed clips, be it via downloads or (yes…) streamlined media. Though it is considered easy, there are also restrictions that fansubbers enforced on fellow fans and users regarding downloads and usage. As a user, you would think that this is all ridiculous and what not and may be thinking that the fansubbers were just being elitist over their projects.
So, I compiled up some possible Frequently Asked Questions for an easier explanation and to have everyone aware as to why fansubbers and fansubbing groups enforce their regulations to the general fanbase.
- Who actually does the subtitling of these clips and videos?
Fellow fans just like you! These are the fans who are fluent or even proficient in the foreign language itself, the ones who have the skill and time to time these subtitles in to the video themselves, the ones who carefully edit their translations, the ones who love to do background research on certain customs, gestures, and history (if applied) to further explain the meaning and the intentions of these characters as in a particular scenario, and as well as grammar and spelling. In short, the very dedicated fans. They can be fans of general J-dramas, Japanese culture, a particular idol or two, etc. etc.
- Are there any officially-released subtitled videos of these clips?
Some do, some don’t, depending on the film company responsible for releasing and distributing these videos to the market. Unless if you live in Europe or something, Japanese items in general are usually expensive. If a regular edition of an album CD would cost us Americans close to $25 USD, then you can imagine how much a regular edition of a DVD (even better, a DVD set if it’s a drama series) may be. You will have to do your own research regarding these official products and make sure you’ve got enough money to purchase them. In this case, there aren’t any officially-released subtitled videos, but there are officially-released RAW videos.
- Where do fansubbers get the raw clips from?
Most of the time they are contributed by fellow fans. Some just record it directly from TV. With the latest gizmos and technology today, anyone would be able to get raw clips from the “sub” sources as of late. There are endless possibilities, but I would go for the don’t ask, don’t tell approach to this question unless you really want to know. Most of the fansubbers do not provide RAW clips, but they can make exceptions if you do request for it.
- Why do most fansubbers request other users to give them credit when mentioned? Why not just watermark the clips with their own logo?
Watermarking is illegal as the fansubbers do not own the copyrights to the original source. It’s also a calling for the authorities with “I watermarked this clip because I want credit! Arrest me!” As a courtesy for their hardwork and time, of course it’s natural that fansubbers would like to have some credit from you users and I think it should be this way. It’s not like they’re asking you for money or anything. That would be another calling for the authorities to lock them up for getting involved in pirating videos.
- Why do fansubbers have these countless restrictions? It only discourages some of us users in to gaining access to these fansubbed clips!
As mentioned in Part 1, this is all because of JASRAC regulations as well as (international) copyright laws. Fansubs are unofficial subtitling releases of foreign shows freshly-released in their origin countries and no official distribution and subtitling available for sale. They serve as our bridge to be able to enjoy a particular show or story translated & interpreted in our languages to better understand and appreciate the shows (stories) altogether. Remember, the industry always aims for profit, and these fansubs are absolutely free. And when they’re offered free, the industry doesn’t get profited, which means that us fans are practically “stealing” their work. See why it’s also illegal? Because of these particular regulations, that’s why there are restrictions. Sadly, many fans still do not understand the story behind some of the basic restrictions that they still continue to break the copyright laws by downloading them and uploading them in streaming sites or even create DVD copies of them and actually sell them to the masses (video piracy). This not only applies to J-dramas in general, but also applies to other foreign shows as well as anime.
- Why are fansubbers restricting users from uploading them in to streaming sites (or even put them up in their own sites)?
Same reason as above. Putting them up in streaming sites is also calling attention from authorities because of the fansubs (in which the fansubbers are being credited in there and can easily be exposed in the open). In addition, some “private” streaming sites are also making profits from these fansubs with various ads and membership fees from users in order to watch these streaming shows. It’s another form of video privacy if you think about it.
- What are some of the methods that we can use to download these fansubs?
There are Megaupload and/or MediaFire storage downloads that fansubbers would provide and/or you can use Torrent services (ie. BitTorrent, uTorrent, etc.). Check the fansubbers’ official sites or community blog (LJ, for example) and see what’s available.
They do it for the good of the fandom, both for the fansubbers and for the fans. They do it so they would be able to continue bringing more good entertainment for us who aren’t able to. They do it to continue expanding the fanbase of our favorite shows, our favorite idols, and so on and so forth. These fansubbers are highly supporting our fanbase, current fans and new fans and fans who deny that they’re fans. It’s only fair to repay them by kindly heed to their restriction guides, don’t you think?
If you have any other questions or if I’m missing something here, feel free to reply. :)