Thursday, May 31, 2007

Shifting Sands

Over the past month or so, rumours have been spreading that ODEX, an Animation company in Singapore and AVPAS, Anti Video Piracy Associaion of Singapore, has started taking action against Anime downloaders. The latest news has been a lawer's letter sent by AVPAS to an unknown invividual, warning that unless the matter is settled out of court, it will escalate to court and can be sued for S$10,000 per episode.

Original news here: http://www.darkmirage.com/2007/05/30/apocalypse-now/

On futher examination, however, there are strange coincidences and minor discrepancies. Take a look at this part:

A.




From the above 2 screenshot, it is known that AVPAS and ODEX is housed in the same building, same floor and the same address extension.

B.


The telephone number points to AVPAS, while the email address points to ODEX

C.


I suspect, though without proof, unfortunately, that Stephen Sing is Sing Xin Yang. That will mean that ODEX staff is AVPAS staff.

D.
http://www.avpas.com.sg/AVPAS_President.html

Dr. Toh is the president of AVPAS. But surprisingly, his profile at CAPTEL has nary a mention of this.

http://captel.ntu.edu.sg/tohseekiat.htm

With the addition of this screenshot, http://www.darkmirage.com/2007/05/30/apocalypse-now/#comment-68633




I guess it can be established clearly that ODEX is AVPAS and that the company is trying to force out illegal downloading of Anime. From the pdf file, it can be inferred that ODEX is catching those Anime that has been released to the local CD/DVD shops for sale. But, if I refer to the long list of "Licensed Anime" in Singapore, http://www.avpas.com.sg/AVPAS_Authorized.html, then ODEX/AVPAS has in theory, the right to sue anyone downloading them, even if they are never released at all, never mind they spent a bomb buying the rights to bring them to SEA.

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However, have they ever wondered why people prefer to download instead of buying their products? In my opinion, there exists a few "stereotypes" of Anime downloaders.

1. The hikkikomori. The poor teenage guy who has money only for his internet access. Information gathering and communication for him is basically done through the internet save for the buying of basic nessecities. How to expect him to buy licensed Anime when he doesn't have much money in the first place.

2. The previewer. These are people who download Anime to watch, but when the Anime get released locally, they buy a legal copy too.

3. The innocent. These people never knew that there are online ways to get the Anime fix and waits to buy the licensed Anime.

4. The loaded ones. These people may download Animes, but the also import the titles from Japan or Taiwan once the DVD's are available. No matter what price, they can afford it.

5. The "thrift". In order to get more money for other things, the prefer to download Anime instead of buying them, even though they have the money to do so. (A survey should be done to find out how many % is in each category)

Other than the stereotypes, ODEX should remember that there is a long held perception that their visual and subbing quality are inferior to fansubs. This is not a problem that can be solved in a day's time and sending lawyer's letter to your potential customers does not change the perception but serves to reinforce it.

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What I suggest fanboys should do (though it is very hard, imo):

1. Establish another company in Singapore to liason with the Animation Companies in Japan and get a free to air license rights.

2. Set up a system that allows downloading of Anime using a subscription based system. Users will be allowed to download Anime legally as long as a fee is paid. (A survey will have to be conducted to find out what cost is acceptable)

3. Find a team of translators, QCs and encoders that will translate and subtitle the Anime for release. Ideally volunteers or collaborate with language schools.

Note: Plz don't sue me. I have no money to pay anyway. I only have my life.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A moment of silence...

http://www.todayonline.com/articles/190040.asp

Let us express our condolence to his family

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Internet Censorship

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6665945.stm

The survey found evidence of filtering in the following countries:
Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burma/Myanmar, China, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.

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Sad but true...

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