Hello, Everyone, and welcome to Honey’s Anime. Fonzy here, wanting to talk about what’s going on in Japan and the rest of the world regarding the new copyright laws enacted back in March 2020 which was the direct cause of KissAnime and KissManga shutting down recently at the beginning of August.
Japan studios have always been very protective of their intellectual properties so it should come as no surprise that many animation companies want to ensure that the integrity and the hype for their content are presented and preserved in their vision. The only bad thing about this is that the survival of a franchise is dependent on the merchandise sales, so you can imagine why some companies are so protective of their assets being available for free and without their permission.
A New Law Is In Town
The recent law that passed in March 2020 in Japan is a means to help the companies, their profits, and, of course, the livelihoods of everyone involved like the employees. The law originally targeted premeditated illegal music and video downloads, and now expands to illegal manga and scanlations. And KissAnime had both! In addition, the law will also be enforced further on January 1st, 2021, where anyone caught with illegal, copyrighted, downloaded content can face up to 2 million Yen (about $18,000+ USD) and/or 2 years imprisonment. Other illegal streaming sites will likely have to face the same treatment as KissAnime/KissManga, especially if they discover the identity of the server owners.
This is something that we personally feel was the issue regarding KissAnime. We have a feeling that the server host’s identity may have been discovered which is why the illegal streaming site is gone FOREVER! KissAnime has been taken down before and has come back strong afterward but they had never posted a message that stated “forever” in it so this looks like the real deal.
A Divided Community Hurting Itself
This is where the community comes in as they are voicing their concerns about both the negative and positive effects this law might have. The law helps the studios by stopping illegal sites from distributing their content illegally but the thing is, many might not know the main reasons illegal sites even exist. Call it first world problems or what-have-you, but the reality is that the current availability of anime is not as convenient for others as you might think. Ultimately, illegal sites are not a good thing at all, but to some, it is the only means of watching what they love because of either financial situations, region-locked content or just straight inaccessibility of content—because let’s face it, for many, even when anime is available, it isn’t really a whole lot…
So when you have people who love the industry and have the ability and the skills to translate something they love and share it with the rest of the world in a way that studios can adapt easily, it makes you feel like they are doing a good thing for others—which they are—but actually, it’s a disservice to the company that owns the rights for a very simple reason: not acquiring direct permission to do so. The community is split after this event because now many are without anime. Of course, there are those out there who are sharing other illegal sites where you can stream or download content in forums such as Reddit, 4Chan, and the like, only making it easier for DMCA individuals to find them and, trust me, copyright managers whose job is to look for this kind of stuff will be hanging out in the forums.
Curiosity Probably Won’t Kill the Cat
Now, we get to some very interesting rumors that are circling around the internet, and first, we want to talk about what we’ve heard surrounding Sony wanting to talk about acquiring Crunchyroll for about $1.5 Billion, which marks the anime industry as a billion-dollar industry outside of the Japanese market. Crunchyroll started out as an illegal streaming/downloading site before they were able to go legit and acquire licenses for the anime they streamed on their platform so it goes without saying that you can come clean if you want to do it right at any given moment but I digress. If Sony were to own Crunchyroll, they would have cornered the US streaming market for anime by owning both Crunchyroll and FUNimation!
Another rumor floating around is that companies/studios are clearing out the internet of copyrighted content regarding their intellectual properties as a means to partner up with another company called AnimeLog, to bring FREE anime to YouTube! AnimeLog already has licenses for Toei Animation, Nippon Animation, Kodansha, Tezuka Productions, and Shinei Animation, for now. Many more seem like they are coming but at the moment, this platform is only available in Japan but with intentions to make all the licensed content they acquire free globally.
A New Challenger?!
Now, if this is true, this will basically make Crunchyroll and FUNimation obsolete! When you have a paid service for anime vs free anime on YouTube from the actual companies making it, you’d want to support the company solely on the FREE option and knowing you can fully support the companies that way is the greatest thing ever! This would hopefully mean that the animation companies/studios actually have been listening to our calls and cries for more accessible anime—hopefully—because it would finally mean that anime is globally available for anyone, making YouTube the main source for our otaku needs.
Of course, we don’t necessarily know how manga, scanlations, and music will be involved but we imagine the industry is ready to be more forthcoming to the rest of the world. Now there is another factor of negativity and that would be for those directly involved with Crunchyroll and FUNimation. What would the future truly hold for them?, and would the anime community be willing to let go of both companies to support the original studios by switching over to AnimeLog on YouTube?
Now, we want to pass the question off to you! What do you think about all that is happening in the world of anime and manga? Do you think Crunchyroll and FUNimation, along with Sony, can come on top of this now evolving industry? Would you be willing to make the big switch over to YouTube if it became free and fully supported the companies/studios? Also, even if this happens all at once or fast at all, are you will to come clean and watch/read anime/manga legitimately now that the fear of being caught and fined/jailed for illegal content, even if it means limiting yourself in the process as to watch you can consume? (Assuming you used them in the past/use them now).
Make sure to sound off in the comments section below and let’s see what the community truly feels about the situation. We invite constructive criticism and opinions.