Two studios renowned for their extraordinarily draconian approach to copyright enforcement, Lantis and Sunrise, have apparently been demanding anime fan sites remove all episode caps, citing a breach of copyright. Publishing fan art online is also forbidden by Sunrise.
Even heavy hitter Yamakan has offered harsh criticism of the policy, which seems to lend substantial credibility to the missives. There is also some suspicion from the titles involved that copyright is not their only concern…
Lantis seems to have warned site administrators thus:
Dear (Redacted) Site Administrator,
This is Lantis Corporation.
We invest in the production committees of, and protect the IP of, the anime titles “Akikan”, “Asu no Yoichi”, “Sora o Miageru Shoujo” and “Kurokami”.
We have discovered that you appear to be using parts of our works on your site. We would like to request that you delete these parts, as soon as you have read this.
We do not permit any unauthorised images of our shows, of the characters or otherwise, in whole or in part, and expressly forbid the publication of such.
Regardless of whether the infringement is for profit or not for profit, it constitutes violation of our copyrights under Clause 1, Paragraph 23 of the Copyright Act.
Please be warned that should you not delete the infringing material we will be taking legal action against you.
An extraordinary missive.
Sunrise offer similar warnings:
Regarding the use of images of Sunrise products on the Internet:
On the Internet, even when not for commercial gain, or on a personal homepage, you may not use them.
We receive enquiries about permission such as “It’s not for profit” or “It’s a personal homepage”; even in these cases you can’t use them. On the Internet, even personal use constitutes “reproduction and distribution”, thus you cannot use any such images.
Regarding pictures or writing made yourself:
Even with pictures or writing made yourself, when incorporating Sunrise products they must not be distributed on the Internet.
On our ISP we offer 5mb user homepages, wherein you may publish what you have made yourself.
So all the dirty little fan sites had better not be capping any Gundam or Geass either. No fan pictures from artists published online either.
It seems this may be a legally dubious basis for asserting copyright violation, but of course intimidation is the intended effect of such missives, so this hardly has any bearing on their tactics.
The fan response is predictably scathing, although there are as always more supine fans who do accept the premise that the caps constitute infringement and, for example, suggest using only very low quality images (not that this would appease the companies in question, who forbid any images at all).
After all, who would bother watching an anime, let alone buying a DVD with unknown juicy extra content, after seeing a few quality screenshots of it?
However, the vast majority would argue that screen captures have a huge marketing effect, serving both as publicity material and as reviews, and have a highly positive effect on sales, in most cases.
Some are suspicious that total control over fan activity is not the only motive these companies have in pursuing so ludicrous a ban. A quick look at the anime being brought up tends to support this:
Asu no Yoichi
Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo
Sora o Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai
To put it politely, none of these titles are known for especially high quality production values, especially Akikan…
These warnings are applicable to Japanese domestic sites, but there seems little doubt they would be enforced against overseas sites too, were it only possible.
Famed Haruhi choreographer Yamakan, himself no stranger to such behaviour, has apparently weighed in on the issue, and is none too kind:
“Making copyright claims as if this is going to reduce viewer propensity to watch, or to buy, is truly a case of misplaced priorities indeed.
If your works are that precious to you, why don’t you stop broadcasting them on TV and selling the DVDs, and just exhibit them in an art gallery?”
The 2ch thread is preserved here.