As YouTube continues its march to legitimacy and perhaps profitability, it seems that my own little hobby of editing anime music videos (AMVs) is getting caught in the crossfire. Sadly Bandai has decided that it would rather attack the fans of its series rather than embrace them so one of my AMVs featuring clips from Gundam Seed was taken down. I argued that the video portion is clearly fair use, but to no avail. Someday, I’m going to put up a real fight, but now is not the time. Besides, all of my videos are still available at AnimeMusicVideos.org where I’ll continue to add new ones.
As a fan, my hope is that anime and manga will continue to exist and thrive, all of the banning and blocking of derivative, fan created, works smacks of desperation. It’s no secret that the Japanese anime model is a difficult one for content producers to profit in. The internet and advances in digital technology have only made it more difficult. I buy all of the DVDs I use for my videos from reputable sources, but I know that for most fans these discs are just too expensive. This is especially the case in Japan itself. Piracy is like a release valve on the market. If prices are too high, the valve is going to open up.
I think in the end, the market will sort itself out. A lot of companies are going to close, but will this mean the end of anime? Of course not! As long as someone wants to create it, someone will figure out a way to make a profit. A new model will rise from the ashes of the old and before you know it, we’ll have more magical girls than we know what to do with!