Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SingNet: We did not 'consent' to Odex

Yes they released their information only after ODEX produced a court order. But, they have not given subscribers a clear answer as to why they did not appear in court.

http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/STIStory_152613.html

SingNet: We did not 'consent' to Odex SINGNET has clarified that it did not 'consent' to demands by Odex to hand over details about subscribers allegedly downloading pirated Japanese cartoons, called anime.

The Internet service provider (ISP), which is being slammed online for its apparent capitulation in the controversial case, says in no way did it help Odex's application.

SingNet spokesman Chia Boon Chong said, 'We reject all requests from third parties for information pertaining to our customers. We will release such information only under a court order or if the law enforcement and regulatory agencies demand such information from us.'

In Odex's case, as it does in all such cases, he said, the firm would 'entrust the courts to apply the law and make a ruling'.

The Telecommunications Competition Code prohibits ISPs from disclosing subscriber information without a court order, and a spokesman for the Infocomm Development Authority said SingNet had not breached the code.

Odex won court orders earlier this year to get SingNet and StarHub to disclose names of subscribers allegedly downloading anime.

When Odex failed to obtain a similar order against Pacific Internet (PacNet) last Thursday, people began wondering why.

Online attacks against SingNet intensified after District Judge Ernest Lau published in his written judgement that 'for the SingNet case, the orders were made by consent'. He also said that SingNet did not even appear in court. Different judges had ruled in all three cases.

Many people, including corporate counsel and Nominated Member of Parliament Siew Kum Hong, interpreted this to mean that SingNet had agreed to Odex's application, thus expediting it.

Online users thus felt SingNet had betrayed them, and this probably fuelled the online outrage against the ISP, said Mr Siew, who maintains a well-read blog.

Read the full report in Wednesday's edition of The Straits Times.

Read More......

Monday, August 27, 2007

Megami Issue 88

Is the awesome! Go get it if you haven't bought it yet. Especially if you are a Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Fan.


Fate-chan: "So you want me to pose like this. あの, 何か恥ずかしい..."


Nanoha does her usual "lets all be friends" smile




And 2 wonderful potraits of Signum and Teana.

Read More......

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai OP and ED

At my sidebar I've just added 2 new songs inside a box. They are the openging and ending songs of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. If you have watched Higurashi the first season you would have known that it is a bloody and repetitive loop that repeats itself in the weeks before the watanagashi festival of 1983 (Showa 58?)

If you understand some simple moonspeak you would have noticed that the lyrics are consistent with the anime and reinforces the basic storyline.

Rika and Hanyuu

Read More......

Friday, August 24, 2007

A brief respite for now

Taken from TODAY newspaper, 24 August 2007, Friday

To read at the original website click here.

Still, we must wait 2 weeks to see whether ODEX will appeal...

Odex loses case against PacNet
ISP need not reveal names of alleged anime freeloaders

Ansley Ng
ansley@mediacorp.com.sg


IN a surprise ruling that throws a new twist into the ongoing Odex saga, a court has ruled that Pacific Internet (PacNet) does not have to release the names of its subscribers accused of ripping content from the anime distributor.

The decision has raised some eyebrows because two other Internet service providers (ISPs) - SingNet and StarHub - had earlier been ordered to reveal the identities of their subscribers accused of a similar violation.

In a closed-door hearing at the Subordinate Courts yesterday, District Judge Ernest Lau ruled that PacNet did not have to give up the names of about 1,000 subscribers who were accused of illegally downloading Odex's anime - Japanese cartoon and animation - series.

It was not clear if Odex would appeal against Mr Lau's decision. Odex co-director Peter Go did not return telephone calls.

The judgment surprised observers and those who were served letters of demand by Odex.

"You're kidding," said lawyer Siew Kum Hong. "You would expect the outcome of the three cases to be the same."

The Nominated Member of Parliament added: "StarHub and SingNet users are now likely to start asking questions, and we can also expect Odex to appeal."

StarHub spokeswoman Jeannie Ong said the company was assessing its options.

"We don't know the specific situation under which the judge in PacNet's appeal ruled in their favour. It was a different judge handling their case," she said.

A SingNet spokesman told Today that the telco had provided Odex with the names only after the firm produced a court order "and served it on us".

Since May, Odex has been cracking down on freeloaders and was successful in getting SingNet and StarHub to reveal the identities of customers who downloaded its anime illegally.

The company, which is the main anime distributor here, subsequently served legal letters on the freeloaders - many of them teenagers - reportedly demanding payments of between $3,000 and $5,000.

While the law appeared to be on Odex's side, the company's tough action has angered some users. Its other director, Mr Stephen Sing, has reportedly received death threats from angry anime fans.

There were also criticisms from observers that Odex's monetary demand from the freeloaders was excessive. But in a letter to the media, Odex said that the settlements it is seeking are not for damages, but "reimbursement" of expenses incurred "in pursuing these enforcement matters".

Meanwhile, an Indonesian woman, whose teenage nephew was issued a letter by Odex to pay a sum of up to $5,000, is meeting Odex representatives today.

"I have spoken to several lawyers who have all asked me to pay the money and settle the case," she said. "The question now is 'how much' because $5,000 is too much."

Read More......

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Broadband is useless...

...literately, if you have nothing to utilise the bandwidth. In Singapore, where profit oriented companies can act as god and demand people to stop downloading by the law, there is no content to be shared except state sanctioned Mob TV streaming Ancient Programmes. Why even youtube has no content to be viewed nowadays.

If you do not game or run a server, then your bandwidth is essentially useless. Let us return to the age of 56K.

Abao

Read More......

Friday, August 17, 2007

ODEX: A hell of a saga

The past week has seen chaos and mayhem erupt true to the opening of the gates of hell.

After the court ruled in favor of ODEX and ordered Starhub (Local Telco) to disclose their customers identity, the anime viewers voiced their displeasure at the attempt to stop their hobby. It could have been left at that, because ODEX is empowered by our laws to catch downloaders. But that was not all. Following the discovery by HardwareZone's CSI team that one of the director of ODEX, Mr Stephen Sing Xin Yang, who goes by the forum nickname xysing, has been gloating on the pilight of the anime downloaders and said harsh comments such as "double-6-ed and busy cathcing downloaders...", it galvanised many forumers and in no time, the news spreaded like wild fire, reaching the newspapers within the week.

Summarizing from what I've seen in the past week, I think that both parties are now wrong and an agreement should be reached as soon as possible.

1. ODEX must improve its Public Relations markedly by this month if they were to see any chance of downloaders softening their stance.

2. An compromise on watching Animes not released in local stores by ODEX should be agreed on with the community.

3. If said Anime title is released locally, ODEX should make an effort to inform the community. It's not difficult to do so, just send the more famous bloggers a mail inviting them to subscribe to their newsletter. These bloggers will do the dissemination to the rest of the community.

4. If people download said released Anime title in Singapore, ODEX is entitled to demand them to pay up, or face the party in court.

5. An association should be formed consisting of SG Anime Community. These will be the core community ODEX will negotiate and form a consenseus with.

Also, we should ignore that barrage of angry and childish responses circulating on the internet, especially on the HWZ forums. (Not that there aren't sane people there, but most of them are currently too enraged to think logically)

For now, I guess we can say goodbye to downloading Anime of any kind, since our argument is weak, unless we can find lawyers with the argument like Andy Ho represent us.

FYI, I go by my own code of conduct. For starters, I do not download Anime that are sold in Singapore. I also do not transfer Anime shows to my friends. If anyone is interested, I would give them a summary and send them pictures but that's it. I might not be white, but I am not black either.

Abao

Read More......

Friday, August 10, 2007

The rise and fall of Singapore anime blogs

The rise and fall of Singapore anime blogs

As viewed from Abao’s perspective

Background Information

About 1 year ago, a small group of 4 friends with 1 common interest decided to start blogging about their interests, Anime. Establishing websites such as animedesho, riuva, darkmirage and lolicontrol, they were widely popular and helped foster the tremendous growth of the Singapore Anime blogging scene.

However, with the recent actions by AVPAS, using high-handing methods of sending warning letters, the quad has since stopped their Anime blogging and online Anime viewing, even urging other people to do so for their safety. Why has the Singapore Anime blogging scene come down to this tragic end?

My aim is to give my take on this whole affair and archive it for future reference. Do note that this is never meant to be a credible source to be quoted.


Affordable Broadband


It was the year 1998, and the telecommunications company Starhub was formed in Singapore to grab a piece of the pie from Singapore's then telecom's monopoly, SingTel (Singapore Telecommunications) Originally into the mobile phones sector, Starhub rapidly expanded to include leased-lines and broadband internet plans, where it was dominated by Singnet also. As Singnet based plans were costly for the speed the provided, people warmed up to Starhub's broadband plans. With the addition of freebies thrown in, Starhub’s broadband sales improved and Singnet was forced to counter to maintain their share in the broadband sector.

With affordable broadband plans that even the lower-middle class can afford, Singapore
became rapidly connected to the World through the internet, with 70% of households having internet access.

Broadband penetration rate

http://www.ida.gov.sg/Publications/20070209134246.aspx


A PC for Every Household

OC ownership

In today’s Singapore, due to relatively cheap computer hardware and the increasing adoption of the computer as a form of working platform, has seen PC ownership rise throughout the years. It is quite safe to say that there is a PC for every household.


http://www.ida.gov.sg/doc/Publications/Publications_Level2/IDA_Corp_Brochure_2006_ENG.pdf

The Blogging Phenomenon

Blogs has started to become popular back in 2001, evolving from personal homepages and chat boards. In my opinion, this is can only happen after the above 2 points are realized. Singapore did both, and inevitably it has to happen. Just as diaries are written after the creation of paper, similarly blogs are created after people have access to the computer and the internet.

With the Blogosphere maturing in 2004 and becoming mainstream, different types of blogs has begun to surface, such as political blogs, video blogs, photo blogs. Blogs took on a different meaning and became the expression of one’s ideas and ideals, other than just a personal diary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

The rise of Singapore’s Own Anime Blogs

Now the anime blogs such as Jason, and Garten or Kurogane has been around for sometime but there were literately no Singaporean based anime blogs. In order to create awareness on Singapore’s anime scene, 4 motivated youths named Tsubaki, Tjhan, kwok and darkmirage created their anime blogs.

With this and other help from the World’s anime community such as setting up animenano podcast, the first for anime; establishing Sganimebloggers on IRC, a popular internet chat messenger, and organizing meets at Singapore’s cosplay scenes, the number of traffic at their blogs exploded and also, the number of Singapore based anime blogs increased over the past year.

For a more concise explanation, you can refer to this blog http://that.animeblogger.net/2007/07/21/a-chronological-history-of-the-anime-blogging-community-where-do-i-belong/#more-3302

Bittorrent

The rise of anime blogs is dramatic, but without Bittorrent, it would have never become as rich as it had been.

Anime fansubs has been around in the World for sometime. It used to be a tedious process, needing to be imported from Japan and the few dedicated people will then sub it and share it with their friends through the old VCR. This was in America.

In Singapore and I believe most of Asia, we get our initial dose of anime through the state broadcasted televisions. Remember Dragonball Z in Chinese Subs and Dubs? Throughout 1997-2000, the state TV bought in anime series as a by effect of the Japanese Drama wave and thousands of kids were exposed to the signature drawing of anime. Also around this time, manga became more popular and this built up a core community of anime people.

As more of the Generation Y grew up, aided with the PC and broadband, begin to source for other methods of getting their anime. And this is where Bittorrent comes in handy.

Bittorrent, a file-sharing technology developed by Bram Cohen back in 2001 allows files to be shared easily without the troubles of a owning and maintaining servers. It allows each user to share what they are holding on to and allows users to act as a server (in this case a seed) once they have finished downloading. Thus Bittorrent allows data to be transferred easily around the World.

Share and Winny

Mirroring the rise of Bittorrent is the popularity of Share and Winny. These 2 programs are used near exclusively by the Japanese people, particularly the otaku community, for sharing files (anime included).

Being designed with security and privacy as the main concern, Share and Winny operated effectively for years until recent crackdowns by the Japanese police, leading to the arrest of the creator of Winny. However, they are still in frequent usage as of today.

Fansub Boom

With all technologies made available to people, followed the rapid adoption of online fansubbing.

Enter AVPAS

Alas, all good things must come to an end. AVPAS (Anti Video Piracy Association of Singapore), allegedly acting on behalf of its members, has started issuing threatening letters demanding compensation or fight a court battle. Its actions has seriously dented Singapore’s Anime blogs in general, with the quad posting their thoughts about the events and ultimately, to stop 1. Downloading Anime, 2. Stop Anime blogging in general. Due to their influential status, most of Singapore’s Anime Community followed suit and what follows next is what a call the death of Singapore’s Anime Blogs (RIP 2007)

From that I’ve gathered thus far, people who had not met ODEX (the main arm of AVPAS in Singapore) and their CEO had generally negative viewpoints on the company’s operating methods, questioning their methods of treating their customers and complaining about their video quality and poor sub quality.

For the few how has actually spoken to their CEO (aka Mr. Sing), however had a totally different opinion of ODEX and is extremely optimistic about the future of the anime industry in Singapore.

Epilogue for now

As for now, the community is dormant and many people have quit Anime altogether or reduced their share of illegal downloads. As for the richer ones, they import the DVDs from Japan. Until ODEX and/or AVPAS gives us a good answer, the community is likely to be dissatisfied with their actions.

I await tjhan’s post on his interview with the CEO of ODEX, to present his 5 part story on the entire story behind.

Abao.

(This was written on July 27 2007, early afternoon. Events occuring after the piece was written are not reflected in these thoughts. The article serves as the author's thought channel and information written may not be accurate. This article is not meant to be cited as a source or reproduced in anyform unless doubly verified and only after seeking my permission.)

Read More......

Thursday, August 09, 2007

National Day Parade 2007 Thoughts

Just watched most of the show. Strangely felt great dissonance with the theme. Music was great but a tad too grandiose. Theme song seems to be asking for more from the people, asking what can you do for the country. Probably just me having such thoughts though...

One segment I like about the show though, is the display of Naval and Air power when the patrol boats, chinook and apache did a great performance by turning in the small space. Provides great eye-candy and strengthens the notion of the "fleet in being" and "airforce in being" and accomplished power projection.

Read More......