Download Anime Free - Ethical?

This has been long enough. There are a LOT, and I mean a LOT, of ‘ethics’ debate that have been raging for a long time between anime fans, and this debate will continue on and on for a long, long time.

Is it ethical for us anime fans to download anime free, such as fansubs, on the internet?

Obviously, it is deemed as non-ethical because what the “free downloaders” are doing is basically using the pirated products of the author’s and workers’ work. They are denying the authors and the people who made the royalties that they deserve.

I mean, what’s $20 compared to the hard work done by the people behind the animes, which could have taken months, even years, to produce the lovely animes that we all enjoy?

But, the free downloaders have a different view.

1. Most Popular: Well, it’s FREE. Why shouldn’t I? Saves myself lots of money too.

-Well, these are the freebies hunters. Couldn't say much about them.

2. Even if I buy, the authors only get a minuscule amount of money. I’d buy IF ALL of the money goes to the author which is, of course, usually not the case.

-Well, there are production costs too, which is unfortunately is NOT cheap. The companies that distribute and dubs the anime deserves their money too.

3. The products are too pricey! $30 for 3 to 4 episodes? Come on!

- Yes, high quality products come with a high price. Sorry about that.

- But.. I would like to state that companies should NOT take advantage of anime fans by pricing the DVDs at a very high price. This is absolutely NOT fair and VERY unjustified. Maybe we should have some kind of “anime consumer body" to control the pricing?

But, in a sense, fansubs are also a very good thing. Fansubs provided HUGE amount of advertising for the animes. Animes wouldn’t have been THIS popular without the existence fansubs. Kudos to all fansubbers. You all are greatly appreciated.

There’s no sure number, but a certain percentage of the people who watch fansubs will end-up buying anime merchandises, including DVDs themselves (I fall into this category).

Losses because of the people whom did not buy? Probably just a minuscule compared to the HUGE advertisement that the anime got. The people who would not buy after watching the anime wouldn’t have bought the DVD/manga in the first place anyway (I think).

I’ve got my own views too.

Personally, I prefer watching the fansubs than the DVD versions. Monetary factor? Maybe yes, maybe not. But the main factor is because of the QUALITY of the fansubs. Actually, I prefer reading the “subbed” version than watching the “dubbed” version because, for me, the Japanese voices sounds more suited to the animation than English voices. Well, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Some fansubbers definitely made a better job than those made by the companies. This is also true for the manga versions too. Some companies just go for the quick buck. Put up some cr*ppy translations and that’s it! SOME of them also doesn’t have any respect for the originality of the anime/manga. This p*sses many anime/manga fans off. Darn.

When that’s the case, I’d rather give my money to those fansubbers rather than paying to that sort of company.

Probably, some of the MORE justified cases to download anime free are when the anime haven’t been licensed by a distribution company in your country yet. That is when the only way to get those anime is through downloading from the internet. (Disclaimer: Just a thought. I don't condone it)

So, what should you do then?

Watch the fansubbed animes/mangas on the net as if it was a test run. And if you like it then show support for the people behind it by buying the DVDs or the manga. That’s good enough. =)

Actually, I found that buying stuffs online is sometimes much more cheaper than buying at your usual offline store and I’ve been doing it for sometime too.

One of the place will be Amazon and eBay and buy the used books and DVDs if you need it darn cheap. Anime specialized online stores are good too. You can find some cool deals with them.