Japanese Game Maker Engages In Wiki Edit War With Fansubbers, Then Opts For The DMCA Option

from the making-new-enemies dept

In the past, we've seen the movie industry attack "fansub" efforts for trying to translate movies into other languages. But, in the video game industry, we did see glimmers of hope when a publisher allowed fansubbers to complete their version of the translation and compete side-by-side with the commercial translated version in the marketplace. So, it's sad to see Japanese game maker Minori slap TLWiki, a translation site, with a DMCA takedown for their work on a one of their games. Apparently, this was after an edit war on the wiki itself, where the game maker supposedly deleted the entire contents of a page, replacing it with:
minori holds copyright over all the files made available on this webpage. We, minori, have removed the contents of this page because the owner of this page has not received our permission for distribution of these materials. Please understand [the above statements]. Still, if there are objections, etc., please contact Minori, Inc. in Japanese at info@minori.ph.
Of course, since wikis have an easy rollback feature to prevent errant deletions like this, this change was easily reverted, and after a few more rounds of edits & reverts, the site was slapped with an official DMCA takedown notice. Once again, quashing fansub efforts is a fantastic way to annoy and disenfranchise your most loyal fans, who donate hours of their free labor as a hobby. We've seen ways to engage these communities advantageously (like hiring them to do the official translation), so surely Minori should take note.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2010 @ 11:37pm

    Well, perhaps the Copy privilege owners want to ensure that it wasn't translated incorrectly, perhaps that it wasn't translated in a way that might give someone the wrong impression about the company or that offends someone in the companies name. To some extent this might be understandable and this could be why a certified translator might be in order as well, someone who can also be held accountable to some extent if something turns out to be mistranslated (ie: someone who has presented identification information and perhaps met company officials in person even)? These situations could be tricky I suppose.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 12:07am

      Re:

      Fansubs of Japanese stuff are usually better than the official translations.

       

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        vyvyan, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 12:15am

        Re: Re:

        Were they engaged in edit war to buy them some time to find someone bi-lingual lawyer to draft DCMA take down notice (in english ofc)? If yes, at translation efficiency, they suck. :P

         

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      Blatant Coward (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 12:43am

      Re:

      "To some extent this might be understandable and this could be why a certified translator might be in order as well, someone who can also be held accountable to some extent if something turns out to be mistranslated"

      Translation:

      "Some one set us up the bomb!"

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 4:29am

        Re: Re:

        From what other legitimate translations where I've seen some of the originals they change entire story-lines and even the plot of the story. Anyone who saw what ran for Starblazers in the US and the original Japanese version. This is old news though.

        The fansubbers should just go the Rifftrax route and make their translations podcasts that they can play along with the video.

         

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          Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 5:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          fansubs = fan made subtitles. That's no audio.

          But I agree, they shouldn't embed it in the video, but offer the subtitle as a textfile (like most subs should IMHO, I'm looking at you, foreign persons who make fansubs for NCIS, and then offer it embedded in the video file)

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 2:57am

    They're scared, it seems.

    Sankaku Complex ( http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2010/04/27/minori-come-to-japan-to-play-our-games-foreigners/ - warning, often has rather not safe for work content and ads) has a vague translation of their statement on this subject.

    "It then goes on to give its supposed rationale for stopping any international release – it is worried about its legal obligations to ensure its software is properly rated overseas, and that it is fully legal (it appears they are concerned about loli content, although they say nothing specific); they also claim to be worried about their “many, many” overseas fans falling foul of censorship laws in their own wretched nations – a familiar claim.

    ...

    They part with a jolly suggestion to fans:
    “Inhabitants of foreign lands! Why not come to Japan? As long as you play our games in Japan, and are over 18, there’s no risk at all! There are lots of shops in Akihabara. It’s a bit hot in summer, but it’s a nice place all the same – we’ll be waiting for you!”"


    It seems likely the company might be just a little terrified of the recent furors over the "RapeLay" game which got withdrawn by its publisher and then caused another media circus with CNN months later /anyway/. Free speech and so-on rights over drawn child pornography ("loli") are a huge debate in an of themselves; I'd suggest commenters here don't even go there.

    There's been a few recent incidents relating to piracy of visual novels and erotic games in Japan, not the least the recent case of a worm embedded into a number of downloads which posted personal information (including PC screenshots) of the offender onto a public website and demanded a ransom.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 4:25pm

      Re: They're scared, it seems.

      >They part with a jolly suggestion to fans:
      “Inhabitants of foreign lands! Why not come to Japan? As long as you play our games in Japan, and are over 18, there’s no risk at all! There are lots of shops in Akihabara. It’s a bit hot in summer, but it’s a nice place all the same – we’ll be waiting for you!”"

      Funny how they say this when their immigration policies -- and attitudes to immigrants for that matter -- aren't particularly pleasant.

      "We're a nice place to visit, but we wouldn't want you to live here!"

       

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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 3:20am

    TLWiki owns it ! !

    "publisher allowed fansubbers to complete their version of the translation and compete side-by-side with the commercial translated version in the marketplace"

    It is their choice to allow or not. It is their property and there is NO reason they should compete with some parasite.

    Even if that was not the case, they have legitimate business reasons to not allow this.

    What Mike Masnick needs is a bunch of homeless people camped out on his lawn and he should be competing with them for his food, bathroom usage, and all of his other belongings. Maybe then he would understand what property rights are.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 - (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

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      identicon
      John Duncan Yoyo, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 4:44am

      Re: TLWiki owns it ! !

      Just goes to show that the reps for the pro-patent/IP side really just don't get it. YOUR fans are the ones giving you money for your product. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

      This is the sort of thing that would be valueless without committed fans. Fans paid through the nose to bring these things over from Japan back in the eighties.

      I remember watching Laser Disks of Anime with my college buddies in the eighties. Some had bad english subtitles but most of them were in Japanese which only one of us spoke-- a little.

       

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        abc gum, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 5:03am

        Re: Re: TLWiki owns it ! !

        "really just don't get it."

        And they never will, probably due to cranial posterior inversion.

         

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 5:16am

      Re: TLWiki owns it ! !

      Indeed TLWiki owned the copyright of the Fansub that got removed and got DMCA'ed by the Japanese game maker. And you are absolutely right in that the Japanese Game Maker should not have sent that DMCA request...

      What's that? You didn't mean that? You meant the opposite? Oh but your subject line disagrees with you.

      Next time, improve your reading skills, layperson.

       

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      Any Mouse, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 5:55am

      Re: TLWiki owns it ! !

      Wow. Just wow. You get more and more insane by the day. Sort of like that Florida lawyer trying to ban video games who got disbarred. You really should lay off the hooch before any more brain cells abdicate.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:26am

      Re: TLWiki owns it ! !

      My god, what an ignorant comment coming from someone who needs to justify his own worth with his signature. Keep on trucking parasite; copyright needs to be changed back to the original wording.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 7:26am

      Re: TLWiki owns it ! !

      "It is their property and there is NO reason they should compete with some parasite."

      Well, there's the problem. The "parasites" in this case are people who have *bought the damn game*. The people who you would wish to disenfranchise are the very people that the publisher are making their money from.

      Maybe your law degree is affecting your judgement, but when you recommend attacking a company's own customers because they want to improve the written translation of a product, I think you're the one with your priorities wrong.

      I would understand if this was a competing product being sold illegally, or a for-profit translation service. But, when we're looking at fans who buy a game and then try to improve it in ways that the company refuse to do, I don't see where the issue is.

      "What Mike Masnick needs is a bunch of homeless people camped out on his lawn and he should be competing with them for his food, bathroom usage, and all of his other belongings. Maybe then he would understand what property rights are."

      That is one of the dumbest things I've ever read on the comments here, and that includes the anonymous trolls.

      Please, explain how competing for vital physical goods such as food is anything like customers of a company trying to make a game more valuable by providing a better translation?

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 10:05am

      Re: TLWiki owns it ! !

      Your ignorance is rather astounding.

      The market for a huge amount of Japanese products (anime, manga, visual novels, etc) only exists because of the efforts of fansubbers.

      Several decades ago the "legitimate businesses" effectively killed their own chances of success when Disney butchered the work of an award winning Japanese director, which led to a ripple effect where Japanese companies refused to allow their products to be sent overseas.

      So who was it that built up the demand in the now-multi-million dollar foreign markets? Those "parasites" who did the unmentionable act of translating and distributing the content for free. They created the fanbase, the market, the interest, and most importantly, showed all the idiot corporations that people wouldn't actually have panic attacks when they viewed non-westernized material.

      I know how hard it is for you to comprehend, but all those "homeless" people you speak of only have jobs BECAUSE of those "parasites.

       

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    Niall (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 4:46am

    Maybe if the un-estimable RJR actually knew the difference between actual, scarce, physical property (lawn, bathroom and food) and artificially invented and controlled intellectual ideas (so-called 'property') which can be readily duplicated ad infinitum we wouldn't be hearing daft arguments like this ad nauseam...

    Just because 'property' and 'intellectual property' share the word 'property' doesn't make the 'property' the same. otherwise a 'house boat' and a 'boat house' would be the same...

    RJR misses the point 9as usual) that what the publisher is doing is annoying its core fans, which is never a good plan. There are so many legal, workable solutions (like competitons, licensing, etc) that could engage with them rather than alienate them. It's NOT about Mike (the AntiCopyrightChrist apparently!) saying "Oh, it's ok for people to totally ignore copyright, please copy it infinitely". It's about FAIR USE of an owned product!

    Besides, isn't a translation transformative? If you own the product, but want access to that product in your own language, how is that 'breaking' copyright? The fansubs are fairly useless on their own. So if I buy a copy of Three Colours: White in France, and decide to download a subtitled translation, I am 'breaking' the movie-maker's copyright (and ending the world!)?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      your lawn, your bathroom, and all that other stuff is artificially property as well. you can own it only because the law allows. when you learn that simple concept, then other types of property make much more sense.

       

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    william (profile), Apr 27th, 2010 @ 8:59am

    >Once again, quashing fansub efforts is a fantastic way to annoy and disenfranchise your most loyal fans

    The problem is, from every indications they've shown so far, they DON'T want oversea fans.

    Thus, really, this is a case of a company who does not want to sell their product to you at all and is happy just the way it is with their Japanese fans.

     

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    identicon
    Joe, Apr 27th, 2010 @ 11:34pm

    Minori's website

    it struck me as a little strange that a japanese game company would have a Philippines country code for their website. Check it out at www.minori.ph. I have literally never seen anything like this.

    ---
    minori official website.
    This website cannot be browsed excluding Japan.

    Some foreigners seem to be having an antipathy against EROGE.
    Therefore, We prohibited the access from overseas to defend our culture.
    Sorry for you of the fan that lives in a overseas.

    minori Inc.
    ---

    Eroge seems to be a type of erotic japanese game. I'm guessing it differentiates itself from manga as that is story based and this is game based, such as strip mahjong.

    This seems to be more rooted in good old fashioned Japanese xenophobia then IP rights.

    A side note to Ronald Riley. Props to you for fully disclosing your name and affiliations. However your metaphors are on the wild side and I think readers of this blog are more used to well thought out reasoning. You don't have to agree with Mike, but you do your viewpoint no service by making outlandish comparisons. That simply invites derision.

    That being said, your metaphor is flawed. While there may very well be valid business reasons why don't don't want to surrender control over this aspect of their games, you really don't shed any light on what those concerns may be.

    I think a closer analogy would be unpaid interns that show up in your office and write up the reports that you were meaning to do, or in this case, avoiding doing.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 7:19pm

      Re: Minori's website

      Eroge is literally "erotic game". Typically these are "visual novels" -- basically a choose your own adventure book with illustrations, voice acting and questions on what to do every now and then. There are typically multiple endings, and secret scenes from particular combinations of answers.

      Not all eroge are of this nature; the eroge RapeLay was a 3D interactive game where you basically chose a path to assault your victim. Minori, I believe, is primarily a VN company making both clean and erotic games.

      They have a rather legitimate fear that increased exposure of their art will get the overreacting anti-child-porn lobbyists to cause laws to be passed in Japan banning their trade (many eroge involve high school students, and sometimes even younger children).

      Moral aside: To be clear, there is no documented link I'm aware of between possession of drawn child pornography and assault on children (some people may have been arrested for the latter and found to possess the former, but in Japan at least, practically everyone fuelling the anime industry will have /some/ content of this nature which rather negates the statistic. It's like saying people who breathe are sometimes murderers) -- and some (weak) measures even suggest that bans on the stuff increase the rate of assault. There is something of a culture of anime fans in Japan refusing real relationships because "2D" is good enough (or even better).

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Free Publicity for Games, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 1:05am

    Free Publicity for Games

    Free Publicity for Games. By compaining look at all the Free Publicity for Games they have recieved.

    Games Free to download

    Games Programming, coding games

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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