PewDiePie Dives Into The Mark Fitzpatrick, Toei Animation Saga

from the pew-pew-pew! dept

We had just been talking about how Mark Fitzpatrick, a YouTube personality who focuses on doing reviews and let’s draws for anime properties, had been targeted by Toei Animation for the takedown of over a 150 of his videos over copyright claims. Toei is the animation house for several popular animes, including the Dragon Ball series. While Fitzpatrick’s videos fall squarely in the category of fair use, as they are chiefly commentary and reviews that use snippets of the animes in question in order to illustrate points, because of the onerous way YouTube enforces such claims, his videos were taken down first and remain down at the time of this writing.

Well, if Toei was hoping this would all fly under the radar, it most certainly is not. Fitzpatrick’s own video complaining about how Toei is behaving itself has over 700k views. And now streaming icon Pewdiepie is inserting himself into all of this, squarely on on Fitzpatrick’s side.

On December 9, PewDiePie uploaded a video reacting to Toei’s apparent mass copyright strike against Fitzpatrick, calling the studio a “big-shot company that couldn’t care less about some random anime YouTuber.”

“Japan is so notoriously dumb when it comes to copyright,” he said. “Backwards thinking or just overall lacking in what most people agree is Fair Use and not. They just don’t care. They’re a big company. That’s it.”

Now, I’m not in love with Pewdiepie’s phrasing in all of this, but he certainly is correct that the manner in which Japan has constructed its copyright laws is highly problematic. There is a reason that plenty of nations have built in fair use provisions into their copyright laws and they are for situations just like this. Nothing about the use in Fitzpatrick’s videos in any way threatens the business of Toei Animation. There may certainly be some commentary in his videos that Toei doesn’t like, but that’s a different thing. Copyright laws in general weren’t created in order to give content creators the ability to suppress commentary; they were supposed to be a method for protecting the business interests of creators. Instead, there are several carveouts in Japanese copyright law that were added specifically to grant more control over how content is used for the anime and manga industries.

Pewdiepie is also no dummy on this stuff. It’s his business, after all, and he knows enough about it to point to past examples of how badly this all works when it comes to properties coming out of Japan.

Kjellberg went on to compare Toei’s copyright claims to Nintendo’s failed creator program, which allowed creators to use game footage and music — provided they split their revenue.

“I think it’s important that we call these things out, so that hopefully they can listen,” PewDiePie continued. “This, what happened to Mark, just really highlights a huge issue with YouTube.”

And he then turned his sights on YouTube in full, arguing that the manner in which the platform enforces copyright claims is extremely tilted against YouTube creators.

“Any day, your livelihood on YouTube could get removed, because some big company decided, out of the blue: ‘That, no. Stop that,’” he added.

To be fair to YouTube, as I stated in the previous post on Fitzpatrick’s tribulations, this is not an easy problem to solve. But it is a problem and YouTube honestly doesn’t seem to be doing much about it. If that continues, there’s no reason why the struggles Twitch has had retaining its creative community couldn’t happen to YouTube as well.

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Comments on “PewDiePie Dives Into The Mark Fitzpatrick, Toei Animation Saga”

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Gom Jabbar sez Hey, howya dune? says:

Not a direct quote from out of the blue: 'That, no. Stop that.'

But correct opinion: see the prior piece.

Nothing about the use in Fitzpatrick’s videos in any way threatens the business of Toei Animation.

SO? Nothing in law or morality supports using someone else’s work for grifting. I learned from Techdirt that "fair use" is a defense, not a right!

If that continues, there’s no reason why the struggles Twitch has had retaining its creative community couldn’t happen to YouTube as well.

PFFFT! First, the "creative" part is Toei which will still have an audience even if this mick pirate dies. 2nd, Youtube could lose several segments the size of Twitch before even noticed.

Intended to mention last night, Timmy, that you’re unusually speedy re-writing this from TorrentFreak — because it’s not sheer bad news like the pirate agreeing to pay TEN million for infringing, and STILL facing CRIMINAL charges.

Also, I remind of what’s wrong in general with teh internets: too many feebs like you using for free what others make original. If the audience of couch potatoes "lose" you and fellow mick Fitzpatrick, that’s progress.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not a direct quote from out of the blue: 'That, no. Stop tha

Nothing in law or morality supports using someone else’s work for grifting.

Like you harassing Masnick by commenting on this article, for example.

Youtube could lose several segments the size of Twitch before even noticed.

Youtube has been losing far, far more money than Twitch even BEFORE Twitch, dipshit.

Also, I remind of what’s wrong in general with teh internets: too many feebs like you using for free what others make original. If the audience of couch potatoes "lose" you and fellow mick Fitzpatrick, that’s progress.

And what’s wrong with society in general is people like you who support copyright maximalists as if they do honest work.

The reality is, these copyright maximalists do the same fucking thing too. Assuming the music industry "sampling" older music and the movie industry "making" movies off "real stories" and other non-movie works is of any indication. Inclusive of public domain work. (Yeah, I know they paid for the rights SOMETIMES. Hollywood is super shady and there’s at least TWO writers’ union strikes in recent history over UNDERPAYING of scriptwriters, you harassing fuck.)

I suppose the alternative, in ypur opinion, is to take Russian or Chinese money to harass people who don’t share your views. Because Hollywood et al aren’t gonna pay you for being a good little boot; they don’t even WANT to pay everyone involved in ACTUALLY making the creative projects a reality a "fair" wage.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Not a direct quote from out of the blue: 'That, no. Stop tha

"grifting"

Do you have a link to the dictionary you’re using? Because that doesn’t seem to be the correct definition of the word in the normal ones.

"even if this mick pirate dies"

Well, "pirate" also needs a definition that has any degree of accuracy, but since you decided to introduce slurs into the mix I guess we can just ignore you.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not a direct quote from out of the blue: 'That, no. Stop tha

Also, I remind of what’s wrong in general with teh internets: too many feebs like you using for free what others make original.

Then I guess those feebs at Disney need to close up shop as well. Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Snow White, Peter Pan, and so many more… none of those are original. Why does Disney and similar corporate interests get to "grift" off of other people’s works and nobody else can?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not a direct quote from out of the blue: 'That, no. Stop

"Why does Disney and similar corporate interests get to "grift" off of other people’s works and nobody else can?"

One of two options;

1) Old Blue/Baghdad Bob/Bobmail is an ignorant moron who hasn’t realized yet that almost every "creative" work in modern times is largely based on older stories. That every piece of music is a derivative because there really are just that many note sequences we can accept. And that describing reality isn’t original.

2) It’s irrelevant whether he knows or not because shilling for the most deplorable of people – like copyright conmen, Trump and the Proud Boys – gives him a boner.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Not a direct quote from out of the blue: 'That, no. Stop tha

So to summarize, Baghdad Bob, all you’ve got is another bunch of false premises, strongly asserted in bad faith along with some ad hom?

"Also, I remind of what’s wrong in general with teh internets"

Oh, we know what’s wrong with them. Useless sacks of rancid shit like you keep trolling on them.

Andrew F (profile) says:

Economic interests

they were supposed to be a method for protecting the business interests of creators

And, in American copyright law at least, it protects a very specific interest — protection from economic substitutes for the copyrighted work. If your business interests are harmed because of, for example, quoted content inside a negative review, that’s outside the scope of copyright. The review or quote isn’t a substitute, even if it makes people less willing to purchase the original.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

First off, way to miss the point.

Secondly, it’s largely a matter of access, even in a non-viable market like Singapore, where the average weeb has to wait for one single company to talk to the actual distributors in, oh, INDONESIA AND THE PHILLIPINES.

I’m still waiting to have access to Violet Evergarden and the original SDF Macross on Singapore’s Amazon Prime so I DON’T have to waste time checking probably dead sites just to watch anime. Then again, conservative trolls like you probanly will tell me to suck corporate dick than waste time on children’s cartoons.

Lastly, I expect Toei to go after Kamen Rider fansubbers now, as well as tokusatsu subbers. After all, they’re just fucking thieves who don’t grovel and praise their Japanese corporate overlords, right?

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LittleCupcakes says:

Dammit, I keep forgetting the rules.

I thought the currently in-authoritarian-vogue rule for posts (even when it’s just words rather than incorporating copyrighted material) on the various social media platforms was something like:

“There are consequences to legal speech on a social media platform and if it results in loss of job or income or worse, them’s the breaks.”

(Rulings under such are usually succeeded by posts like “Haw-haw! Take that, you evil bastard. Totally deserved it for disagreeing with [opinion.]”)

Today it looks like the rule (the better one) is:

“This guy has faced monetary consequences for his legal speech on a social media platform, and that’s bad and wrong.”

I hope to see that better rule more consistently applied, and I’m glad it’s being applied here.

I hope Toei faces the wrath of Streisand, too. With big nasty teeth.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Dammit, I keep forgetting the rules.

“There are consequences to legal speech"

Last I checked, this is legal speech in the country it was being made, in fact being explicitly allowed by the copyright law it’s supposedly violating.

"This guy has faced monetary consequences for his legal speech on a social media platform, and that’s bad and wrong."

Yes, because the issue is not that the platform itself has decided to make a decision based on acceptable speech on its own platform, but has been ordered by a 3rd party to do something. I’m sorry if this is all too nuanced for you to understand the difference between this and Twitter telling Nazis to go elsewhere.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bloof (profile) says:

Toei are infamous for being horrible so PewDiePie (Also horrible for entirely different reasons) weighing in means nothing. They aren’t going to change no matter how many videos he makes.

Toei have a long history of being absolute dbags to western fans, of being a headache to deal with for their western partners. Companies paying them money and working within Japanese laws can’t get them to co-operate to the point some even gave up on getting what they paid them for and used fansubs in their official releases.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

A series of companies went to Toei for masters of the Japan only Transformers series and OVAs and Toei were Toei, Metrodome and Madman got sick of dealing with them so just put out a low quality fansub of one OVA, Scramble City, that’d been kicking around in fandom circles for years as a DVD extra just to get it out there. They may also have just circumvented Toei for their release of Zone as they refused to license it to others.

https://tfwiki.net/wiki/Toei_Animation#The_trouble_with_Toei

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

On the one hand I’d love to point out that this is another example of why it would be in everyones benefit to get a unified global copyright policy for creators off the ground.
On the other hand we all know it would end up being ridden hard & put away wet by the cartels and we’d end up with laws that make Japan’s crazy look really balanced.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"On the other hand we all know it would end up being ridden hard & put away wet by the cartels and we’d end up with laws that make Japan’s crazy look really balanced."

Well, yeah. I usually like to advocate copyright being excised from law completely and an author’s work being shoved under trademark instead. That would solve so many problems.

But I’m pretty sure the only thing we can realistically hope for is to swing the axe and tell authors writing is a hobby, not a job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

But I’m pretty sure the only thing we can realistically hope for is to swing the axe and tell authors writing is a hobby, not a job.

For most authors, it is that way already. Authors that can give up the day job are few and far between. The real problem in abolishing copyright is that the traditional publishers think that they need it to keep their business going, and they are the ones actually making a living from copyright.

And interesting development is that Time Team is making a comeback using Patreon and YouTube, rather than T.V. studio funding. where their branding, and previous programs has driven an interest and support for creating more programs.

Unless employed by a studio, all creation is carried out, initially at least, as a hobby. Those who can build a large enough fan base can get the support to go full time creating new content.

Anonymous Coward says:

Japanese anime company’s need More reviews on YouTube to get more viewers and more buyers of their product taking down reviews is stupid and pointless if young people don’t know your product exists they won’t buy or stream it, as 99 per cent of game devs know YouTube reviews and play throughs are free advertising they literally give games away to youtubers twitch problems is cos they are being leaned on by music company’s they want to force Twitch to pay to licence all thier music cos some users have music playingbon the background twitch is mainly a gaming streaming platform

Any company in 2021 taking down YouTube reviews is stupid and living in the past
But basing a channel on anime reviews is risky since Japanese copyright law ignores fair use and that’s not YouTubes fault
Even Nintendo stopped using the YouTube revenue sharing deal as few people wanted to use it
Even Nintendo probably knows reviews are free advertising
for the games you make if there’s no game reviews on YouTube how do young people find out about your game?
YouTube does not seem to want to defend fair use if it receives dmca takedowns on review videos

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

YouTube does not seem to want to defend fair use if it receives dmca takedowns on review videos

YouTube does not want the legal bills of fighting contributory infringement because they did not do as the law says, and take the work down. Note, the law does not allow YouTube to make decisions about fair use, only the claiming copyright holder or a court can make the that decision.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"YouTube does not seem to want to defend fair use"

Fair use is ultimately a defence in court, and YouTube are in their rights to say they don’t want to spend endless days in court because two 3rd parties are arguing over something, in a political climate where they’re being targeted for many things they had no control of.

It’s not a good situation, but it’s also understandable that the company that keeps getting sued over content that its owners uploaded themselves to the platform don’t want to fight an endless battle over something that might ultimately be subjective.

Ay200 says:

Japan IS dumb about copyright

Japan is dumb about copyright. The anime industry appears to have a specific construction of Fair Use, which is tolerant of fanart and gives Japanese artists a comiket “cheat day”. Like most fan engagement frameworks, this is designed to cause other creators to voluntarily limit their output to a subset of what Fair Use probably is, extending the IP holder’s effective ‘rights’ past what the law provides for. Fuck Games Workshop (community engagement grift as described) and TOEI.

Japan is getting dumb about foreign markets. I mean, it was already pretty dumb, but there’s this queer insistence about the Japanese viewpoint being enforced to the exclusion of any other interpretation of the work. It comes across as an up-your-own-asshole artist insisting on some particular interpretation. I wouldn’t be surprised if this action by TOEI was taken because this guy is (or at least looks) “Gaijin”. Because…

Japan is racist. It’s a monoethnic block that voluntarily meets most of its own social needs. They’ve done some pretty bad things to immigrant populations recently, particularly the Brazilians that are apparently connected to parts of the shipping industry. I got a college buddy (white, tall, no tattoos, full fluency, has lived in Japan for at least a decade) that routinely complains about discrimination in housing and service providers. You don’t know him, but he used to have a very mild personality, and is becoming downright venomous toward the country in which he lives.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Ben (profile) says:

Re: Re: Japan IS dumb about copyright

Whilst using queer as a pejorative is a problem, it is not being used in that sense by Ay200: "but there’s this queer insistence about the Japanese viewpoint"
This is "queer" in the "peculiar, odd, or unexpected" sense.
No need to find offence where there is nothing more than your own ignorance of the English language.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Japan IS dumb about copyright

"I got a college buddy"

So do most people who went to one, but anecdotes aren’t data and even if you’re correct then what’s the solution in your mind? Stop a country from applying its own cultural norms because a foreigner got offended by them?

This story is problematic because they’re trying to apply that stuff internationally, there wouldn’t be so much of an outcry if the response had been merely to block the videos in Japan.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Japan IS dumb about copyright

"Stop a country from applying its own cultural norms because a foreigner got offended by them?"

I’d like to hold that if a country chokes it’s own #MeToo movement over the fact that women making a ruckus about being abused is considered far more outrageous than women quietly being exploited and raped…then there is definitely a cause for strong words, at least.

Japans xenophobia is more ubiquitous and rooted far more systematically than the racism a black man might live through in the US…but it’s more subtle. Rarely a risk for violence, just a great number of politely yet firmly closed doors. A muted yet persistent fear of the other, applied broadly to anyone not born japanese.

That makes it a topic worth debating.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Japan IS dumb about copyright

"…the prevalence of "kid who does not have black hair gets bullied for it" in manga and anime is indicative of something going on."

Japan is basically governed by the desire to conform. Everything has to be harmonious. Conflicts must not exist. The philosophy where the boy crying that the emperor is naked is quickly and quietly locked away for disturbing the peace.

On the positive that makes the society a very polite and soft-spoken one. On the negative it means bullying and exploitation is quietly overlooked, because the waves revelation would make is considered worse.

Suicide in Japan, in all age groups, is disproportionately high as a result.

Ay200 says:

Re: Re: Re:

I was thinking mainly about them washing out Kaworu’s ‘affections’ in the recent do-over of the Evangelion dubs. And how we didn’t get Q for fucking years because (apparently, anecdotally) some Studio khara reps didn’t like how people were laughing at Kaworu’s dialog in the theatrical dub cut. So yeah, I guess it’s a bit about BL, albeit a form that had been canonical to the English-speaking viewers since ADV Films had issued Genesis 0:12 in 1997 or therabouts.

I don’t really care what Kaworu said in Japanese, I know what he said in English (and what the subtitles reported). Going back and “correcting” that to make sure English speakers enjoyed it the right way is pretty stupid. Unstitching gay text in 2015 was pretty fucking dumb. Studio khara doesn’t know anything about marketing it’s products outside Japan and seems unlikely to learn. And with the Amazon Prime release of 4.0, we see how creative control of international releases caused Studio khara to disappear entirely up its own asshole, with a first draft dub script (literal translation with no apparent adaptation, grammatical errors gamely performed by competent VA), and obvious subtitle errors (grammar and misattribution of off-screen speakers, like confusing male characters for female characters).

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Japan IS dumb about copyright

"Japan is racist. It’s a monoethnic block that voluntarily meets most of its own social needs."

It’s more like xenophobic. Japanese culture has a real problem with everything which doesn’t fit the accepted template. That they are still on the level where the #MeToo movement was sunk in that nation because the public was outraged over the unrepentant gall of women rocking the boat really says it all.

Yeah, the gaijin is suspect. You can’t trust him to conform to societal rules, so be wary of him.
He might decide to eat your children, or worse, talk to you in a loud voice in a public place. Worse still, being seen talking to him might make others assume that you are going to start drawing attention to yourself. Better shut up and inconspicuously keep your distance.

The teen dying their hair/wearing their school uniform the wrong way? Obviously a delinquent who sleeps with anything that moves, does drugs, and steals everything not nailed down. Talking to him/her will smear you the same way.

Japan as a culture resembles nothing so much as that isolated clannish small town we read about in Stephen King novels. The one where everyone spends incredible effort to remain civil in any circumstance and no one says anything which might be grounds for conflict – until one spark too many flies and two stalwart pillars of the community, quiet for decades, decide to knife each other behind city hall.

It is changing, however. The younger generation, as always, is chafing at the societal leash. It’s just slow and usually met with heavy enough public censure the pressure to conform breaks most young rebels into staid defenders of the status quo soon enough.

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missingxtension says:

Youtube and Anime

Youtube is littered with the remains of the stupidity of japanese copyright. When you look for a review of black lotus or platinum end, the results are stupid. Fans make reviews where it’s just them talking, they can’t even show a snippet of the promo trailer, intro music, or even footage of the website. No amount is tolerable, if you use the name of the anime and any art, you are going to get a copyright strike, I tell you that from experience. At that point, I have refused to buy any merchandise or support any legal streaming. Even if it’s on Amazon and Netflix, streaming I already have. I just go to my nearest pirate anime site, I don’t want to contribute anything, not even views. Fans are stupid for accepting this treatment. I have tshirts from the original Cowboy bebop (faye and spike), boku no hero( All might, Asui), Naruto (Kakashi), Tokyo ghoul and Hatsune miku to name a few. Not anymore, I’ve even looked at buying used on marketplace

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Anonymous Coward says:

Are Fitzpatrick's video's actually under Fair Use?

When this came up previously I hadn’t seen any of Fitzpatrick’s videos so I kind of jumped on the "big corp bad" train based on past history. But since then I did watch one of his video, specifcally the Attack On Titan Analysis.

Yeah it was a critique but so much of anime is filler materal and by the time I got the end of that Attack On Titan I kind of felt there was nothing to be gained by actually watching Attack On Titan now. He used so much material from the show, went over so much of the plot while showing it, that I honestly feel I’ve got a good handle on everything of value you could get out of the seasons he covered.

Sure there is a lot of video left out but the fact of that matter is most of anime is filler. It’s empty action and stuff to progress moment to moment with character and story development happening in small chunks in between, and if what you want is story and character work, Fitzpactrick’s video (at least this one) is effectively all of those potions in the form of doing a critique/review. Does it really qualify as fair use if you’ve effectively ripped half of the experience straight out of the source material and reproduced it with your own commentary over it? I have no doubt that wasn’t his intent or purpose, but that is part of the end result.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Are Fitzpatrick's video's actually under Fair Use?

If your story is so weak that an analysis of stuff like characters, plot and/or setting is enough to replace it then that’s on your story, not the analysis. Likewise if someone watches a breakdown of an anime and that’s good enough for them then they probably weren’t going to care enough to watch the show on it’s own either.

Neither of those would negate fair use.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Are Fitzpatrick's video's actually under Fair Use?

Yeah it was a critique but so much of anime is filler materal and by the time I got the end of that Attack On Titan I kind of felt there was nothing to be gained by actually watching Attack On Titan now.

If someone tells me how a movie ends and what happens inside and causes me not to watch it because of spoilers, copyright infringement still hasn’t happened.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Are Fitzpatrick's video's actually under Fair Use?

There’s also the fact that trailers can convince someone that a movie isn’t their cup of tea. But you don’t see trailer editors owning up to contributing to poor movie attendance, or studios nailing broadcasters to the wall for unfavorable ad placements or some bullshit. Instead it’s nothing but blame the young people for being too "millennial" to recognize cinematic genius.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Are Fitzpatrick's video's actually under Fair Us

Indeed, as annoyed as I am when someone spoils a movie, there’s nothing worse than the trailer doing it to put me off bothering with a new release. At least with a YouTube recap I’m entering with the knowledge that there will be spoilers for a particular title rather than being randomly spoiled as part of me going to see a different movie.

"Instead it’s nothing but blame the young people for being too "millennial" to recognize cinematic genius."

Well, as stupid as Ridley Scott’s recent comment are, that’s not really relevant to an article about an anime that never played in any Western cinema AFAIK. that’s a different conversation, and largely about the fact that Hollywood have focussed so much on cinema as a theme park ride that they’ve edged out most of the other movies that provided variety to cinema goers. The people still tied to those major studios aren’t going to attack the people funding their next project, so they do the old man yells at cloud act instead. Sad, but I can appreciate it’s frustrating to go from a wide vibrant market with a mix of products, to something where you can only make a decent project if you’re a tiny budgeted horror movie or a billion dollar superhero franchise.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Are Fitzpatrick's video's actually under Fair Use?

"Sure there is a lot of video left out but the fact of that matter is most of anime is filler. It’s empty action and stuff to progress moment to moment with character and story development happening in small chunks in between"

So, your defence here is that the original product is so poorly paced with so little of value for most of its running time, that a decent editor can get everything in the story across in a fraction of the time required of the viewer? If so, the problem there might not be the editor.

Of course, given that you claim this sort of thing is fundamental to anime, there’s probably 2 different types of viewer expectation here, which raises the further question as to why you think people would watch the whole original series if the critical videos weren’t available, rather than people just skipping after the first episode and never seeing the part that might get them to stay for further seasons.

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