Nearly two years ago, we wrote about a piece by Larry Lessig looking at how the comic industry in Japan was thriving based on copycat comics that would normally be seen as infringing works in the US, forcing entertainment industry lawyers to shut down these fan-created efforts. In something of a followup to that piece, Henry Jenkins has written about how so-called "piracy" has been a huge help in making Japanese anime popular and commercially viable in the US. Clearly, the easy distribution of digital content has different effects -- some of which are beneficial and some of which are harmful -- for the creators of that content. By assuming that only one of these effects exist, companies that are cracking down on "piracy" without realizing they may be hurting free promotional activity are doing damage to their own business.
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