Sailor Moon Fansubs - by Dan Bednarski (August 13th, 2000)
As everyone can see, fansubs associated with Sailor Moon have been a big issue in the past few months, and has risen to a new level in just the past week. In late March, the dubs of SMS and SMSS were announced. Major distros (ie VKLL and STV) took down their fansubs a week after this announcement. I personally didn't agree with those actions and hated that they openly insulted anyone who would leave their subs up. I don't see why they took down their subs, seeing that until last week, no commerical subs were announced, but I'll be getting to there later. But bringing down people like they did got me mad. I had letters to VKLL and STV all typed up. It started with a thanx for offering fansubs to begin with, my thoughts of taking down the SMS and SMSS seasons, and then saying that they shouldn't have just openly insulted like they did and that people could do what they want with them because of no commerical sub. If they wanted to take them down, fine, but there wasn't a need to make others look bad because their views differed from them. Now, I probably spent at least half an hour each on these letters, thought a while, then deleted them. I decided that even though I made my point clear in a nice written letter, that it would have just been thrown in their recycle bin and completly ignored. I decided a few weeks later to take a different approach, to start a download distro site, which has been a great success so far, MKBO. I knew that sites of fansubbed Sailor Moon episodes for download were very scarce, and after STV took down everything but the Stars season, that they were almost non-existant. So I put my STV episodes of SMC, SMR, and SMS up, and later finding the SMSS season and Terran Child's site, and after a long while, getting Stars on CDs from a nice Sailor Moon fan who wanted to thank me for my site. After some advertising, MKBO became a great success. During this period of time, I also found sites of people still providing Sailor Moon fansubs on tape, so I was happy to see that we were all keeping the Sailor Moon fansubs alive.

Everything was great, there seemed to be no problems at all for the past few months regarding Sailor Moon fansubs. But all this soon came to an end last week with the announcement of Pioneer commerically subtitling the SMS and SMSS seasons. This is great news, even though this also means that distro'ing of SMS and SMSS will soon be illegal when the tapes come out. Although no release dates have been given, most distros seem to anticipate some videos to come out within a month or two, and are taking down their SMS and SMSS fansubs at the end of the month. This is a good idea, seeing that these are mail order and if the subs are released unexpectedly, then lots of chaos will be avoided because the subs will have been lifted off the distro's list. Download distros have it easier though. Once it's released, we can just take it right off without too much of a problem. However, like all things, it just can't be that easy, can it?

I'm trying to follow a policy of keeping my episodes up to the legal limit, in which I see is that I can keep up my episiodes until they are released commerically. I made the announcement on my site that Pioneer is subbing SMS and SMSS and that I will be taking them down as they are released. People were sad, but they all understood. I've actually only had one complaint from someone, arguing that the net is not US only and that things that happen in the US shouldn't have a big impact on the net. While that is one good point (the other point he said was that the subs were probably going to be bad and that we shouldn't support them, which I totally blew off for obvious reasons), I am a US resident, therefore, I can't continue to distro these seasons once release time arrives.

I'm sure by now most of you are wondering why I'm writing this rant when things seem to be under control. Normally I wouldn't, but events on the message board at Fumei Anime (a merged anime download distro site of STV and Parasite Anime) sparked this and it finally got to the point where I couldn't just sit back and watch things happen. I can't get it off my mind, and it also involves me, so heres the result. A nice long rant by me. When I get going, it's hard to stop, as all the above was an intro to whats going on and me getting into my opinions on the subject.

This all started with a post from someone asking nicely where he could find Sailor Moon episodes. Someone immediately made a snide remark saying that they were right where he was (Fumei Anime) and that it was the Stars season. The guy asking apologized for not being clear and listed episode numbers of the first four seasons that he was looking for. Then the same girl who made that snide remark to him about Stars being right there (Fumei Anime), said that all those episodes were liscensed in America and insulted him for looking for liscenced anime episodes in America. She noticed that he was missing a few episodes that STV used to offer and said that he must've not been able to finish downloading and gave him an "oh well, too bad" kind of comment. Then a comment was made by someone else stating that they had the same view as me, that it's ok to distro up until the commerical release. Then the STV owner, now a Fumei Anime co-owner, Ermac, made a rant of the whole thing. I'm going to break this down and give my thoughts on this rant the best I can. Everything in quotes and italics is from Ermac's rant.

"OK, I don't know why I'm dignifying this with a response, but here goes..."

No comment

"First off, distributing anything which has been licensed here in the US is FLAGRANT PIRACY. Distributing stuff for which there is a commercial license here is cheating companies out of sales by people who will just download/get tapes of shows and then not buy the commercial releases."

"This is called the 'Maison Ikkoku' effect. Fansubs of that show became so wide spread that no one would buy the commercial tapes, and because of that this great show is basically dead for US distribution (although the choices Viz made in how to release it also played a part)."

Yes, I will agree that anything licensed that people distribute is piracy. Theres no possible arguement anyone can make once anything is released commerically. Since there is no set thing metioned in the first part of this (you'll know about when I get to the second part of this quote) that is distribute, I'd like to metion a recent event that took place. This was the order that Napster could stay online. For those of you who have managed to avoid hearing all the news and stuff about this, Napster is a program where people share their MP3s on the net. Recording companies and a couple groups sued Napster because recording they thought they were going to lose some money because of this. I don't see if this was such a big problem then why didn't they take action before Napster was programmed because MP3s have been floating around the net for years, and products have been made and even advertised for like "you can download music and put it to your own CD" and similar stuff. Anyways, Napster was ordered to shut down but a few hours before the shut down time, two judges lifted the order. Piracy has existed since who knows when, and no major effect has taken effect thus far. I'm not saying it's good, but if people have been good for years about buying stuff even with illegal copies availble, then let it exist like it has, it's not doing major harm. And it's people like us which help it not to do major harm, because we know the legal limit and distribute until that point. We know when to stop and no major harm has come of it. Also, there are still MANY people who haven't even heard of a fansub and would buy the tapes to see the orginal, which promises great commerical distribution.

"Now up until a few days ago I could see some selfish and inconsiderate people being able to rationalize putting Sailor Moon S and SuperS online. After all, there might not be a release on tape ever, and the dub is bad, yadda yadda yadda."

Ok Ermac. You rule the Sailor Moon download distribution world. You encoded them, you have 100% say about them. (sense the sarcasim) Could you stop your bitching? Just because you don't like it doesn't mean you have to bring us down. I've already explained my reasoning above, and this is long enough already so I won't even bother repeating myself. Moving on...

"But now there is NO EXCUSE. Pioneer will be releasing Uncut subtitled versions of the series on Sub VHS and Bilingual DVD! Rest assure that I will be purchasing every single DVD that Pioneer releases of this series. Despite the fact that I have all the fansubs, I already own all 3 Sailor Moon movies on DVD (the third disc is shipping as we speak) and I will not hesitate to buy the Region 1 DVDs for the series."

Yep. Theres no excuse now. THATS WHY WE ARE TAKING THEM DOWN WHEN THEY ARE RELEASED!!! Did you happen to overlook that? My fansubs are almost done and I'll be geting them soon, but I'll still be buying the videos. I'd buy the DVDs, but I don't have a DVD player yet. I also find it amusing how when the movies were released here, cut and dry subtitled versions, that you gave leeway for the movies.

"Any further distribution of those series online now is the equivalent of renting the SM movie from the video store, copying it and giving it to all your friends. You are cheating Pioneer, Toei, Kodansha, and Naoko Takeuchi out of money that they earned. Pioneer went to great lengths to get the SM Movies licensed, and they've done a fantastic job on the DVDs and tapes."

I realize Pioneer's great work, and I will be supporting it by buying their merchandise. I'm also supporting it by taking down episodes as they are released.

"And as for your comment about companies not licensing "sub rights" - that's horse shit. I own 60+ Region 1 anime DVDs, and only 1 of them does not contain Japanese audio and English subtitle tracks (8 Man After) and that was because it was an old Streamline property - and Streamline is not out of business."

Sub rights? What are they? Excatly, there are no such thing. Once a company gets an anime, they can do what they desire with it. However, fans have a right to see anime in it's orginal form and thats why we have fansubs. I'll continue this after this next quote.

"The purpose of Fansubs is to promote series which are not available here in the US - and that's what most of these people seem to not understand. For pete's sake, Sailor Moon is HUGE in the US. The only reason I'm leaving the Sailor Stars episodes up is because it's still legal and I'm hoping that maybe it'll get enough people asking so that it will get licensed as well."

YES!!! Something I agree with! That is the main purpose of fansubs, along with exposing the orginal to fans as well. I agree with you leaving Sailor Stars up for those purposes and I hope the remaining three seasons of Sailor Moon have commerical releases as subs as well. Like you said, Sailor Moon is big in the US, I can't wait to see when it's full potential is brought here.

"Fansubs are NOT A CHEAP OR FREE WAY OF GETTING COMMERCIAL ANIME. Way too many people treat fansubs like pirated DivX movies that you can grab off IRC. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE - and people who choose to treat the two the same are doing the entire Anime community a disservice."

Right on! Anyone who thinks of them like this is wrong. I don't think i could word this better than Ermac did.

"If you want subtitled episodes of Sailor Moon, then bug the companies that have licensed it, not the fansub distributors. The majority of them actually have integrity."

*sigh* Obviously, you think that everyone is out looking for cheap ways to get subs. I've said it above, it's not true, we are all for the most part very good about staying within the legal limit. You may stop insulting us just for keeping our SMS and SMSS subs up until this announcement came along anytime now.

"But that's a moot point now that Pioneer will be releasing them. Please do the right thing and cease fansub distribution, because Pioneer deserves credit for what they're doing - actually bringing subtitled Sailor Moon to the US."

Yes, Pioneer deserves much credit for commerically bringing subtitled Sailor Moon to the US, and they will get it. Fansub distribution of SMS and SMSS will cease soon enough. However, fansub distribution of the other 3 seasons will not cease until those are commerically released. Hopefully this will help convince Pioneer to sub those three seasons once they are done with SMS and SMSS and see how great the sales will be.

If you read through this whole thing, thanx and I'm very proud. This is what the NYS English Regents and the class did to me. Now insteading of making my points broad and all, I have a hard time keeping out details and shortening it. I hope that this helps show the nature of fansubs, and the current situation of them in the Sailor Moon world.

 Other Editorials
Why Fan Translations Are Still Necessary - by Dan Bednarski (May 16th, 2011)
Sailor Moon Re-launch in North America: What I'd Like to See - by Dan Bednarski (January 22nd, 2011)
Can we start to put an end to the stupidity? - by Dan Bednarski (September 19th, 2010)
Goodbyes Are Always the Hardest - by Robert Wheeler (May 4th, 2005)
Goodbye SOS. Good Riddance or Fond Farewell? - by Robert Wheeler (December 16th, 2004)
The Trouble With Whiners - by Robert Wheeler (October 10th, 2004)
Uncut Sailor Moon: Worth the Wait? - Part 2 - by Dan Bednarski (January 6th, 2004)
Uncut Sailor Moon: Worth the Wait? - Part 1 - by Dan Bednarski (September 23rd, 2003)
Disliking Vs. Hating - by Robert Wheeler (April 3rd, 2002)
The Twelve Dubs of Christmas - by Tiffany Wood (December 23rd, 2001)
Optimum Productions? Flagrant False Advertising... - by Robert Wheeler (September 3rd, 2001)
The Anime Translation and American Society Problem - by Dan Bednarski (August 6th, 2001)
Pioneer's First SMS Release: Heart Collection I - by Dan Bednarski (March 5th, 2001)
Annoyance: A Letter to the People - by Tiffany Wood (February 9th, 2001)
Cartoon Network - The Hypocrite - by Robert Wheeler (January 14th, 2001)
Moonian Rhapsody - by Tiffany Wood (December 25th, 2000)
Does Your Site Suck? (Repost) - by Tiffany Wood (October 28th, 2000)
The North American Sailor Moon World - by Dan Bednarski (September 26th, 2000)
The Trouble With Dubbies - by Robert Wheeler (September 13th, 2000)
Sailor Moon Fansubs - by Dan Bednarski (August 13th, 2000)
Does Your Site Suck? - by Tiffany Wood (August 6th, 2000)

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