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Cultural consumer and copyright:
A case study of anime fan subbing

Carlo Valencia BSED 1st year

Abstract

This paper intends to discuss copyright infringement from consumers’ perspective through looking into anime ‘fan subbing’. Anime fan subbing refers to the participatory consumption in which avid fans copy anime (Japanese animation), translate Japanese to another language, subtitle and release subtitled version on the Internet to share it with other fans, without asking for permission from the copyright holder. The case study of English fan subbing of anime shows that this activity was guided by fan subbers’ own ethics that intended to support the anime industry by self-controlling fan subbed anime. Under the advancement of digital technologies and the increased global connectivity among anime fans, however, the existing ethics have become outdated and thus global distribution of anime is further detached from the industry’s distribution businesses. This paper notes the importance of consumers’ own norms and rules in shaping behavior of copyright infringement. It raises further questions on the relationship between copyright law and consumer ethics.

Introduction

Amid the rise of creative economy discourse, the issue of copyright is drawing increasing attention from cultural industries, policy makers, civil societies and consumers. Simply put, ‘copyright’ can be defined as a series of exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute a work of artistic creation and the right to create derivative works based on the copyrighted work. It also includes rights to public performance and display and to communicating of copyright works to the public, for example via transmission. As the UK government’s official definition of creative industries indicates, it is frequently assumed that the economic life of making and disseminating cultural products primarily relies upon generating and exploiting copyrights (DCMS, 1998). However, it is in this area we are witnessing strikingly varying views and conflicting practices. Whilst policy makers and the industries firmly stand for the idea of copyrights as exclusive property rights belonging to cultural producers (and thus publishers), the everyday life of cultural consumers is likely to involve various forms of reproduction and sharing of copyrighted works without permission from the relevant copyright holder. Parallel with the advancement of digital technologies and the penetration of online communications, the tensions around copyright are becoming more severe. Cultural industries have made huge efforts to curb consumers’ copyright infringement, sometime making high profile lawsuits, but this does not seem to have produced recognizable impacts on consumer behavior. The circumstance raises fundamental questions of why copyright as a policy is not effective in shaping the practice of cultural consumers and if there exist any alternative ethics that shape consumer behavior. This paper finds that the official discourse of copyright, for example copyright law, has a narrow and static understanding of consumers. It views cultural consumers as passive individuals and does not properly recognize the cultural and social meanings of their practices. It is also noted that, while not strongly informed by copyright policy, cultural consumption activities are guided by consumers’ own norms and rules. This paper discusses the dynamics and tensions between copyright, consumption practice and consumer ethics through a case study of anime ‘fan subbing’. Anime fan subbing is the practice in which avid fans of anime (Japanese animation) copy anime, translate Japanese to another language, subtitle and release the subtitled version on the Internet to share it with other fans, without asking for permission from the copyright holder. From its early years, the English language fan subbing (amine fan subbing in English) community, which was based in the US, developed a distinct culture. Fansubbers saw their activity as a means of pursuing their hobby, manifesting their love of anime and support for the anime industry and increasing anime’s accessibility overseas. Such culture was aptly reflected in the community’s revered rule ‘stop when the anime is licensed’, which aimed to self-control the circulation of fan subbed anime. However, the introduction of digital fan subbing, the globalization of English fansubbing production and consumption and the rise of peer-to-peer distribution during recent years have resulted in an intensifying conflict between the existing ethics and newly evolving consumption practices. In order to study fan subbing practice and ethics, I examined website text by selected fan subbing groups active in release during two weeks in autumn 2009 and forum sections of a number of well known anime news and listing websites. In addition, in-depth email interviews were conducted with a total of nine English fansubbers, an editor of an anime news website, an anime historian and four industry commentators between October 2009 and April 2010 (all the names of interviewees and fan subbing groups used here are pseudonyms). Some of the findings will be published elsewhere (Lee, 2010).

Copyright and cultural consumers

At the heart of copyright disputes today exists cultural consumers’ unauthorized copying and distributing of mass produced cultural commodities. It is an obvious observation, but it is still important to notice given that conflicts in other areas of intellectual properties such as patent and trademark are generally confined to those among businesses. This might imply that the tensions around copyright have much to do with the inherent nature of cultural consumption. Nonetheless, copyright discourse in cultural policy is concerned more with cultural producers than with consumers: copyright is seen as a natural right belonging to the ‘creator’ of cultural contents and also treated as an incentive and reward for cultural producers’ creativity (e.g., the UK government’s Digital Britain report, 2009 and the subsequent law Digital Economy Act, 2010). As Liu (2003) argues from the US context, copyright law is a well-developed theory of author but does not hold its equivalent of the consumer.3 The UK copyright law4 shows the same traits. The consumer in these laws appears to be primarily either authors, who are using existing copyright works, or members of the general public. The laws’ clauses on limitations of copyright protection (fair uses in the US; or fair dealing in the UK) indicate some potential identities of users: student, researcher, critic, teacher, news reporter, educational establishment, and library, archive and so on. The clauses legitimize certain types of non-commercial, private, educational and public uses of copyright works. Meanwhile, the Japanese copyright law takes a more tolerant view of fair uses: ‘private use’ – personal use, family use or other similar uses within a limited circle – and ‘not for profit-making’ exceptions are acknowledged.5 However, the laws mostly see consumers as passive users of copyright works and their activities as economic ones that occur in the marketplace in an individual manner. They do not recognize varied cultural and social contexts of consumers’ use of copyright works and the changes digital technologies are bringing to the nature of cultural consumption.
Findings from consumer and media research provide rich accounts of cultural consumers and their practices but they seem not to be feeding into policy discourse of copyright. One of the findings is the active and creative aspect of cultural consumption, i.e., cultural text is unfixed and open, thus its final interpretation and understanding depend on meanings newly generated by the act of consumption (Firat and Dholakia, 2006; Kozinets, 1997). Cultural consumption practices are neither prescribed nor predicted by the producers (Gabriel and Lang, 2006). This is more visible in consumers’ own making of cultural text based on copyright works: e.g., fan fiction, fan art, parody, user generated contents and various types of forum and discussion online (Deuze, 2007: Jenkins 2009; Green and Jenkins, 2009; Penley, 1992). The concept of consumption as (re)creation fundamentally questions copyright laws’ static perception of creation (making and fixing original ideas in the form of text, recording or film). Another thing to note is that the consumption of culture is situated in social contexts where consumers create social relationships with others through consumption practice, and this closely relates with the forming and strengthening of their personal and community identities (Marshall, 2004). Collective consumption via sharing plays a crucial role in this process (Condry, 2004). Sharing takes place in many different forms, from offline lending and borrowing, online communications such as email and instant message, to peer-to-peer file sharing (The Leading Question and Music Ally, 2009).
The crucial point is that consumers’ unauthorized copying and circulating of digitized cultural contents is inseparable from the social production of collective knowledge (Benkler, 2006). The last decade has witnessed a wide range of knowledge – from software, technology, information, news, criticism to skill sets – voluntarily generated, accumulated and shared freely among consumers themselves. The rapid expansion of consumers’ free knowledge and its effortless accessibility make it increasingly difficult for copyrighted works to be distinguished as ‘separate’ knowledge that cannot be offered as free. Online connectivity allows cultural consumers today to easily access and share both free and copyrighted cultural contents across national borders. Utilizing their own skills, available digital technologies and free software, consumers are capable of carrying out even ‘mediated copying and sharing’ of foreign cultural products: consumers translate and edit foreign films, TV shows, animations, novels and comics and release the translated version on the Internet (Barra, 2009; Lee, 2009, 2010). Frequently this is almost synchronized – with a time difference of a few hours at its most speedy – with the release of the original. The costs involved are decentralized among and internalized by the consumers themselves in the form of the expenditure on PC and Internet connection and their voluntary labor (Ku, 2002). The existence of an escalating amount of free knowledge online poses a fundamental challenge to the idea of copyright. Copyright as a policy regulates an increasingly small section of production, distribution and consumption of cultural contents thus its legitimacy and efficacy is likely to be continuously weakened.

Consumer (alternative) ethics of copyright infringement

There is a noticeable divergence between the rules imposed on cultural consumers by the copyright law and the consumers’ own ethics. In this paper, consumer ethics are defined as a set of socially-situated moral principles that guide and influence consumers’ reasoning and behavior. Consumer ethics can be also seen as unspoken norms and rules of consumer communities. The ethics appear to be constantly informed by consumers’ intuition and their view of the product, the producer, the industry and the role of the consumer. In general, cultural consumers tend to hold a strong normative culture that copyright infringement for personal use fundamentally differs from the theft of physical goods. Industry reports easily discover that a majority of consumers regard unauthorized copying for personal uses as illegal but morally acceptable (Of com, 2009; The Leading Question and Music Ally, 2009). Such an attitude has also been observed by consumer ethics researchers and criminologists (Hinduja, 2003; Muncy and Vitell, 1992; Vitell, 2003). At the core of consumers’ alternative ethics, there seems to exist their intuitive uneasiness and confusion with the existence of intangible properties such as exclusive rights. The uneasiness and confusion seemingly intensify with their experience of digital copying as a new method of endless reproduction of the original with no harm to it and at almost zero cost.
Sharing of cultural contents is a way of consumption from which consumer finds pleasure. Access to a variety of contents via copying and downloading provides them with a sense of alternative consumption and liberation. In addition, the building of a virtual community and participating in it strongly drives consumers’ copyright infringement. For instance, Giesler (2006) and Giesler and Pohlmann (2003)’s analyses of Napster users reveal that their behavior is shaped by a complex web of social practice and norms that can be explained within the framework of ‘gift exchange’ between anonymous members of the music consumer community online. Consumers’ own perception of cultural producers/distributors works as another critical variable. The image of multi-media companies monopolizing and dominating the film and music industries and the current copyright regime protecting the industries’ interest are likely to provide consumers’ copyright infringement with a strong justification: the infringement is deemed as a challenge to corporate greed and commercialism (Condry, 2004; Garon, 2002-3; Giesler, 2006; Giesler and Pohlmann, 2003). The high prices of legitimate products such as CDs and digital albums are also criticized (The Leading Question and Music Ally, 2009): that is, consumers cannot benefit as much as the industries can from the lowered production and distribution costs caused by digitalization. Copyright infringement such as online file sharing is also frequently viewed as testing and accessing new contents that are not available elsewhere (Cenite, et al., 2009; Lee, 2009). Sharing via copyright infringement is also associated with higher humanitarian and cultural values such as freedom and democracy (Cohn and Vaccaro, 2006; Giesler, 2006; Giesler and Pohlmann, 2003; Harris and Dumas, 2009; Hinduja, 2003).
Nevertheless, the consumers’ relationship with the cultural industries looks ambiguous as the former still want to somehow support the latter but the support tends to be rather selective: e.g., going to gigs and buying albums of their favorite artists (Cenite, et al., 2009; The Leading Question and Music Ally, 2009). Again, the support seems dependent on consumers’ understanding of the industry and producers. For example, Lee (2009) discovers a distinct culture of manga (Japanese comics) fans’ unauthorized translation and circulation of manga on the Internet. While freely borrowing manga, the fans perceive their activity as a means to promoting and supporting the global manga industry that is still in an early stage. They partially embrace the idea of copyright protection by setting a rule of ‘stop when the manga is licensed’. In a nutshell, the existing research finds that copyright infringing consumers develop their own, alternative ethics whose proximity with those imposed by official copyright discourse differs depending on the factors discussed above.

A case study of anime fan subbing

Context of anime fan subbing
Anime fan subbing has constituted a pivotal part of the anime fandom in the US. Its primary objective was to introduce anime to US viewers who could not access otherwise them. Although the 1980s saw US anime fandom emerging and fans’ desire for anime surging, the official distribution of anime was highly limited. In the early 1990s, fans had already begun DIY translating and subtitling of anime that they could obtain in the form of TV recordings or original video tapes published in Japan (Leonard, 2005). The fan subbed version of anime on VHS tape was copied multiple times and circulated among anime clubs across the country. This was closely associated with other fan activities such as anime screenings and fora (my interview with JAMES and TONY). Around the beginning of the new millennium, analogue fan subbing was replaced by digital means. This meant a drastic transformation in terms of fan subbing production, distribution and consumption. Digital technologies allowed the production process to be made easier and its finished products copied and downloaded endlessly without quality loss. Digital fansubs began to be distributed via online file sharing and thus the speed and scope of their diffusion radically expanded. The rise of digital fans ubbing corresponded with the growth of the anime industry in the US. An increasing number of popular anime series were licensed and published but the industry’s offers are still far from satisfying fans’ demand for diverse titles.
The anime industry’s global distribution is highly fragmented as it based on licence deals between its production centre (Japan) and local publishers (JETRO, 2008). This model of multiple centre-local networks has a number of disadvantages: the time gap between publication of the original and local versions and also between local production in different language territories; limited visual quality (the quality of local version DVDs cannot compete with that of the original’s HD broadcasting or its Bluray DVD version); and the shortage of local catalogues and the consequent neglect of local fans’ niche demands. Fan subbing has dramatically transformed the process and structure of anime distribution outside Japan by mobilizing resources and organizing their labor on a global scale in order to make and disseminate their own version of translated anime. Easy access to related technologies, skills and software (e.g., free software for subtitling and encoding) and seamless online communications help them to produce fan subbed anime with high-quality visuals and circulate it widely. Popular shows are fan subbed into many languages within a few days of the original’s release in Japan and are almost simultaneously shared among a huge number of overseas viewers. In order to fill the gap between consumer demands and the industry’s offers (DVDs) and also to compete with fan subbing, anime publishers in the US have recently launched online streaming services. However, we need to wait and see how these services can monetize the current fan base nurtured through fan subbing.

Legitimacies for unauthorised use of anime
Fan subbing is an unauthorized use of copyrighted anime. Nevertheless, fansubbers are keen on discussing the ‘illegality’ of fansubs. For example, comments on the illegality of fan subbing and downloading fansubs are easily found on various fan fora and the Q&A section of fan subbing groups’ websites. It is also frequently recognized by anime news websites and websites devoted to distribute fansubs. For instance, AnimeSuki, the well-established anime fan subbing torrent site, states that ‘We have to admit it: the distribution of fansubs is technically a violation of copyright under the WTO TRIPS agreement’ (http://wiki.animesuki.com/wiki/Licensed_anime, accessed 5 August 2010). In spite of almost unanimous acknowledgement of the illegal status of their activity, fansubbers think that it does not necessarily conflict with the interests of the anime industry. They pinpoint the limited accessibility of anime in the US and other non- Japanese speaking countries and the consequent gaps between consumer demand and the supplies of anime via market mechanisms. According to them, fan subbing has been seen as a solution to correct the market through temporarily offering translated and subtitled anime and thus to fulfill consumer demands ideally until legitimate products are available
Similarly, fan subbing has been regarded as an equivalent for TV. In the anime industry context, the role of TV is crucial in nurturing consumer demands for DVDs. For example, the Japanese anime industry demonstrates that fans normally taste the anime via TV viewing and then decide on their purchase of DVDs and Bluray DVDs (my interview with two commentators from the Japanese anime industry). This is why Japanese anime producers traditionally have treated TV broadcasting as a form of advertising. While lamenting the lack of TV coverage of anime in the US, English fansubbers see their activity serving as free promotion. Interestingly, this nature of fan subbing was widely acknowledged by the US anime industry. The industry was generally nonchalant towards fan subbing but tended to agree on its viral marketing and market tester aspects. For example, Jason DeMarco, a then creative director for Cartoon Network, said,
If the fans are putting out a bunch of Naruto fansubs and talking about the show, even the casual fans are going to say, “What’s this Naruto that all these crazy guys are talking about?” Eventually it’s going to filter to us because they really are a quality indicator. (Jason DeMarco, a creative director for Cartoon Network, cited in Roth, 2005)8 Anecdotes also indicate that US anime publishers sometimes browse fansubs for market research purposes and have conversations with fansubbers. There are examples of fansubbers’ direct collaboration with the industry: e.g., a fan subbing group provided Tokyopop, one of the largest anime publishers in the US, with a translation of Initial D (2002) (Anime News Network, 17.4.2002; my interview with TONY). Moreover, fan subbing covers a broad range anime including unknown, obscure anime, which will never be introduced into the US. In this case, the net effect of fan subbing would be to promote anime culture and nurture consumer demand.

If the fans are putting out a bunch of Naruto fansubs and talking about the show, even the casual fans are going to say, “What’s this Naruto that all these crazy guys are talking about?” Eventually it’s going to filter to us because they really are a quality indicator. (Jason DeMarco, a creative director for Cartoon Network, cited in Roth, 2005)8 Anecdotes also indicate that US anime publishers sometimes browse fansubs for market research purposes and have conversations with fansubbers. There are examples of fansubbers’ direct collaboration with the industry: e.g., a fan subbing group provided Tokyopop, one of the largest anime publishers in the US, with a translation of Initial D (2002) (Anime News Network, 17.4.2002; my interview with TONY). Moreover, fan subbing covers a broad range anime including unknown, obscure anime, which will never be introduced into the US. In this case, the net effect of fan subbing would be to promote anime culture and nurture consumer demand.
Fan subbing ethics and copyright
Fan subbing is an active consumption of anime and a fun activity, in which anime fans find personal pleasure through their labor of love and participating in the community (my interviews with ADAM, DANIEL, GERRY, KAY and TONY). Evidently it is ‘a form of expression’ and a way to show off their skills (my interview with GERRY). What is interesting is that fansubbers have developed their own rules and norms, which surely manifest their love for anime, desire to share it with other fans and support for the anime industry. Premises of the rules and norms are noticeably different from the official discourse of copyright but they have effectively shaped fans’ behavior. Since the very beginning, anime fan subbing has been a strictly non-commercial activity. The only exception was charges for distribution. In the early days, distribution of fan subbed anime required VHS tapes and shipping, and fansubbers charged their viewers for related costs. Meanwhile, costs for setting up, obtaining anime videos and labor were normally borne by fansubbers themselves. As fan subbing is a voluntary activity, those involved are supposed to willingly invest their time, money and energy to produce fansubs and to maintain their operation. In a sense, fan subbing is an expensive and demanding hobby. Today some groups seek voluntary donations to keep the server operating but others try to be absolutely non-commercial by banning donations.
Fansubbers have a double-sided understanding of copyright where authorship and ownership exist separately. They affectionately acknowledge the moral rights of the creator, broadcaster and publisher of the original anime but freely borrow the anime without obtaining permission from the copyright holders. Meanwhile, they have inclined to respect US licensees’ ownership of exclusive rights to reproduce, translate and distribute English subtitled/dubbed anime in the US (or North America). It is thought that the US licensee’s rights should be protected for the US anime industry to grow and thus fans can be eventually offered an increased number of legitimate products. Fansubbers’ respect for US licensee’ exclusive rights and their desire to support the industry are succinctly reflected in the long-standing rule that fansubbing and its distribution should stop when the anime is licensed in the US (or North America). It was an indisputable norm in the VHS days and is still valued by many groups, particularly old and esteemed ones. Many fansubs distribution websites comply with the 9 rule. This rule has been used effectively for the fansubbing community to control the spread of fansubs and thus to prevent them from eroding future demand for the legitimate version. The community’s attempt to self-regulate its ethics was vividly demonstrated by A New Ethical Code for Digital Fansubbing proposed by the Anime News Network (2003):
…only the first 4 or 5 episodes should be fansubbed in order to give a taste of the anime…. Fansubs are not to be considered a substitute for owning a legal, English-language copy…. Distribution must stop the instant a license is announced…. Fansubs are not meant to compete with a professional product…. [thus] a audio/visual quality of a fansub should not attempt to match or better the quality of a professional DVD…. Fansubbers should operate in a manner which minimizes impact on the commercial interests of anime-producing companies as it is in the best interests of anime fandom that these companies be healthy and create more anime…. The fansubbers should promote fansub ethics by displaying the code of conduct expected of the viewers somewhere in the anime…
Anime publishers in the US are aware of the ‘stop when licensed’ rule. Thus, when they license a series, they normally contact the groups fansubbing it and ask them to stop, sometimes using a Cease and Desist letter. They also contact and ask fansubs distribution sites to take down the licensed items. When it comes to rights in their own creation, the fansubbers’ stance is ambiguous. They take their reputation seriously and are keen on being credited for their efforts. However, they are tolerant about their work’s re-uses by other fansubbers – e.g., retranslation to other languages or re-release of their subtitles with a better video: ‘It’s not like we can actually stop you’ (Group X); ‘…if you want your subs magically protected, you shouldn’t be releasing in the first place’ (my interview with KATE); and ‘Feel free to do a re-release with better video…[when it] becomes available’ (Group Y). Nonetheless, the tolerance is selective, as fansubbers do not allow their work to be commercially exploited. A few years ago, there was a moment when copyrights in fansubbed anime emerged as a hot topic. It started with Cruchyroll, a website that collected fansubbed anime and streamed them. The website imposed a ‘compulsory’ donation on viewers who wanted to access high quality versions of fansubbed anime. Fansubbers condemned this as a breach of the community’s fundamental principle (‘being non-commercial’) and some of them are known to have asked the website to take down their works. When Cruchyroll became legal and began offering popular anime series under deals with Japanese producers, it was still streaming fansubbed anime. This sparked heated debates about who ‘owns’ fansubbed anime and whether 10 fansubbers could take legal action against the website.6 The tension eventually resolved as Crunchyroll took down all fansubs. Later the website became a major streaming provider of Asian animation and TV drama in the US

Dynamics of fansubbing ethics
During the last few years, anime fansubbing in English has dramatically expanded. Its production, distribution and consumption have been globalised, and have attracted new generations of fansubbers and viewers. This makes it increasingly difficult to maintain the community’s existing ethics (my interviews with JAMES, GERRY and ANDY). Fierce debates around fansubbing ethics have been ongoing but there is no sign of the ideas converging. Older generation fans try to rigorously conform to the existing ethics – in particular, the rule of stopping when licensed – but they are seen as an ideal rather than a reality. There are many who do not stop working on licensed anime for various reasons. First, some see fansubbing as a form of protest against the poor value of the legitimate products (e.g., heavy localization, high price, poor translation and visual quality and lack of cultural references). They would keep fansubbing until they could find legitimate products good enough to satisfy their own criteria. Second, nowadays many groups are working on the latest series and/or latest episodes of licensed series. The demand for ‘speed subbing’ is escalating as facile access to the abundant information of new and on-going series strengthens viewers’ wish to watch them immediately. The older generation is prone to despise speed groups’ ambiguous ethics but these groups are dominating today’s fansubbing scene. Third, globalization trends in fansubbing have brought out other powerful alternative ethics: the production and consumption of English fansubbing today are international projects thus stopping fansubbing when the anime is licensed in the US is anachronistic and US-centric. In addition to those who are not satisfied with the current state of anime distribution outside Japan, there are groups who simply ignore the issue of licensing.
Facing the significant dilution of the ‘stop when licensed’ rule, many fansubbers agree on that there is no longer a coherent set of ethics shared by members of the fansubbing community. Each group’s ethics are a product of negotiation between various factors such as its mission, the chosen anime series, the geographical location of group members and viewers and its perception of licensed anime and the anime industry. This multiplicity in ethics can be aptly demonstrated by fansubbing groups’ diverse attitudes towards the licensed anime:

Drop the project when licensed and encourage other groups to “vulture sub” the remaining episodes
Drop the project when licensed and complete the series internally as staff-only fansubs
Drop the project when licensed and compete translation, leaving open scripts behind
Drop the project when licensed and complete the series with a different spinoff name.
Continue when it’s licensed and persist until a C&D letter is issued
Continue when it’s licensed but complete the series with no bittorrent release (IRC only) Continue when it’s licensed and complete the series outright, C&D or not
Continue when it’s licensed and complete the series, along with any related materials released thereafter. (My interview with ANDY)

Fansubbing and distribution of anime
In the days of VHS subbing, there was no serious difficulty for fansubbers in controlling the circulation of their work. The fandom was domestic, and the quality of fansubbed anime was not comparable with legitimate products. Fans were willing to switch to and also collect legitimate anime when it was available in the US market. In the early period of digital fansubbing, its circulation was still confined to US fans, as the main means for distribution was Internet Chat Relay Channels. However, recent years have witnessed a surge of peer-to-peer as a primary mechanism for online distribution. According to an anime fansubs listing site Baka-Updates’ poll of their users as early as 2005 on how they downloaded the majority of their anime, almost 80% said that they used BitTorrent file sharing.7 Peer-to-peer file sharing programs dramatically speeded up the distribution process and broadened fansubs’ reach. This means that it is becoming incredibly hard for fansubbing groups to regulate the distribution of their work:
In old days, it was easy to control but now we can find subs that are five years old even when the DVD is out. It is kind of sad. In theory, the project should stop if a license’s done but…. Once it is out there, it is out there. (My interview with JAMES) Witnessing the expansion of digital fansubbing and the ubiquity of fansubbed anime on the Internet, the industry has begun challenging fansubbing’s legitimacy. It now asks fans to stop making and using fansubs and respect copyrights in anime (Smith, 2007). The US publishers have recently experienced a decline of anime DVD sales – consequently a few publishers such as AVD have ceased to exist – and insist that fansubbing significantly shrinks the market for DVDs. However it is hard to find an exact correlation between fansubbing and the drop in DVD sales as there are many other factors: e.g., broad economic environment, annual yield of popular products, pricing, introduction of new technologies (e.g., format change from DVD to Bluray), consumer trends, etc. (also see Hesmondhalgh, 2007; Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf, 2007). Another issue is that fansubbers, as the most engaged and knowledgeable consumers make up the core of anime fandom in the US and are playing an essential role in nurturing demands for anime – either fansubbed or legitimate – by making buzz and diffusing relevant information. The way the industry can successfully stop fansubbing without alienating these loyal fans still looks uncertain. Facing the challenges from fansubbing, US anime publishers have begun launching online streaming services. In addition to Crunchyroll, many streaming sites are currently operating: e.g., YouTube, Hulu, Joost, NBC.com, Cartoon Network Video and Funimation Videos. Some sites are funded by advertising and thus can provide free streaming while others charge viewers a fee. This development is seen as a great leap forward for the industry but its impacts have been rather small. It is because fansubbed anime is more attractive than a legitimate streaming service in many senses: although the streaming is called ‘simulcasting’ there normally exists a time gap; some services are territorially bounded; and it is also noticeable that the visual quality of streaming services is far inferior to that of fansubbing, HD and Bluray fansubbing in particular. This perhaps implies that consumers’ labor can organize better quality distribution than that of the anime industry, making it even more difficult for the industry to control the distribution of its own products. As the existing fansubbing ethics are no longer providing the fansubbing community with a coherent rule to follow, many groups and viewers ignore the legitimacy of legal streaming.
Currently, the structure of fansubbing distribution is highly decentralized and difficult to coordinate. In peer-to-peer file sharing, there are no central organisations but multiple – very transiently existing – global networks among individual file sharers. With such a structure, it might be hard for the fansubbing community to reach a new consensus on their ethics: many fansubbers even feel that the field is too decentralized and globalised to be called a ‘community’ (GERRY, JAMES). With the absence of fansubbing centres and the lack of far-reaching ethics, the distribution of fansubs heavily relies on the popularity of individual titles. Fansubbed anime, as a semi-public good, is non-rivalrous and non-excludable but its diffusion depends on online traffic, i.e., the number of uploaders/downloaders. Popular shows are easier to find and download as there is more traffic while sharing of unknown ones takes time and effort. In order to overcome such limitations, some fansubs users have created closed torrent groups in which they can ‘control’ fansubbing distribution by minimizing free riding and securing a minimum level of uploading. To take an example, Group Z is a half- closed community for fansubbing file sharing. It not only imposes strict rules on its 13 members about upload/download ratio but also functions as a gatekeeper. It reviews the quality of fansubbed anime and decides on whether it will add the item to its catalogue. Available versions of fansubs are ranked according to the group’s criteria. At the same time, the group conforms to the old ethics: when copyright holders ask, it takes down fansubs. Interestingly, unlike most peer-to-peer communities, its website is open to non- members, thus they can have access to a wide range of fansubs – including non- mainstream ones – and speedy downloading with few restrictions. The emergence of such a group perhaps indicates a potential trend of the territorialisation of fansubbing ethics and its distribution. The recent dynamics in the anime fan community demonstrates that fans’ ethics and behavior are becoming more difficult for the anime industry to negotiate with. Consequently, anime distribution is being further detached from the hold of the industry’s distribution businesses.

Conclusion

The case study of anime fansubbing has unveiled the roles of consumers’ own ethics in shaping their practice of copyright infringement and in influencing the distribution of copied cultural products. At the core of fansubbing ethics, there has been fansubbers’ shared understanding of original producers’ copyrights as moral rights and US licensees’ as exclusive economic rights. In a sense, the fansubbing community’s perception of copyright looks contingent. It is discerned not as a definite right given to cultural producers but as ‘an arrangement’ made for consumers to support the producers and the industry. It is also seen drawing a line between what consumers and producers are entitled to with the cultural products. The line looks flexible and open to modification. Recently fansubbers’ respect for US licenses has increasingly weakened and consequently the fansubbing community is likely to show rather incoherent approaches to licensed anime. While members of the community are keen on discussing copyright and licence from the viewpoint of an arrangement to support the industry, no consensus seems to have been reached on what would be the best possible (new) arrangement
This paper argues that our discussion of copyright needs to pay more attention to consumer culture and behavior. Cultural consumers are active, social beings that constitute a dynamic part of the field of cultural production and distribution today. They make sense of their consumption practices in and out of the market mechanism in various ways and they are also capable of developing their own ethics and rules. This is particularly observable in participatory consumption grounded on unauthorized reproduction of copyright work, where consumers’ creative inputs are essential in the process. Copyright infringing consumers are not simply ignorant of copyright. While the consumers often question the moral legitimacy and practical efficacy of copyright, there also is a tendency that they – for example anime fans – partially embrace it as a mechanism for them to relate to cultural industries. Hence, this paper proposes that we 14 take a dynamic view of consumers’ copyright infringement: it is seen as a part of consumers’ navigation of the morally permissible behaviors of consuming culture and the potential social arrangements for them to support the cultural form they like and its producers. Cultural consumers hold their own opinion of copyright (infringement) and it is likely to be shaped by negotiations between their intuition, their consumption practice and its social and community context, and their relationship with the cultural industries. This makes it increasingly problematic for cultural policy makers and cultural industries to govern consumption practices simply through copyright protection.

References

Anime News Network (17.4.2002) ‘Tokyopop Uses Fansub Script for Initial D. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2002-04-17/tokyopop-uses-fansub- script-for-initial-d

Anime News Network (8.6. 2003) ‘New Ethical Code of Fansubbing’, http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2003-06-08/2 (accessed 5 August 2010).

Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/industry-comments/arthur-smith- open-letter-on-fansubbing

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...People who are addicted in watching and reading Japanese anime, not so far, it will affect their lifestyle and it may also improve their mental and emotional skills. I. Introduction A. History B. Terminology 1. Word Usage 2. Synonyms II. Causes of Watching Anime A. Symptoms of Watching Anime B. Anime Replaces your Responsibilities III. Effects of Watching Anime A. Increased Social Interaction B. Potential for Behavioral Problems C. An Interest in Art IV. Benefits of Watching Anime A. Learn Japanese Language and Culture B. Relieve Stress C. Learn something from the Character D. Learn How to Draw Better E. For Entertainment V. Conclusion VI. Reference Introduction Anime (Japanese: アニメ?, [a.ni.me] /ˈænɨmeɪ/ or /ˈɑːnɨmeɪ/) are Japanese animated productions featuring hand-drawn or computer animation. Anime includes animated television series, short films and full-length feature films. The word is the abbreviated pronunciation of "animation" in Japanese. In English, the term is defined as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastic themes. The intended meaning of the term sometimes varies depending on the context. While the earliest known Japanese animation dates to 1917, and many original Japanese animations were produced in the ensuing decades, the characteristic anime style developed in the 1960s—notably with......

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Anime

...recognition in America. Known increasingly by the Japanese term “anime”, Japanese animation is gaining recognition as a medium that appeals to children and young people. Anime has had an undeniable effect on American popular culture. For example, many children’s cartoons, such as The Powerpuff Girls and Kim Possible have begun to use an anime copycat style, “anime looks [were] leaping from the screen” at last fall’s 2 fashion runways , and Hollywood blockbusters either use animated scenes directly (Kill Bill Vol. 1) or borrow imagery from anime (The Matrix Trilogy). Though the effect anime is having on the visual style of American entertainment and fashion is easy to see, the implication of anime’s growing popularity for its country of origin, Japan, are much less clear. In the following discussion, I will report my findings on the basis of a poll, and take a closer look at the role anime plays in stimulating interest in Japan, and the ways in which interest in anime and Japanese popular culture are closely related to an interest in Japan. It is in fact difficult to tease the two apart from each other, since it is impossible to participate in anime fan culture, except at the very shallowest level, and not be exposed to other forms of Japanese popular culture and traditional Japanese culture, and thereby be encouraged to explore them further. Anime and its relationship to interest in Japan are useful to consider......

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Anime

...The Effects of Watching Anime to Its Viewers A Research Paper Presented to Mrs. Julie Ann A. Ilagan Sta. Teresa College In Partial Fulfilment Of the Requirement For Research By: Karla A. Lara Angelica Lhane P. Guia Ma. Jeanette Contreras Arleigh Trisha Daniel Macarandang IV – St. Matthew Chapter II This chapter includes reviewed literature and studies that would lead the researchers to better understand the proposition and gain knowledge and data needed in this study. A. Review of Related Literature This part states topics connected to the statements included in the previous chapter. Several sources and references are used by the researchers in gathering more information and for the further integration of the proposition of this study. According to "JAPANESE ANIMATION PAGE (THEATRICAL & TV)", Anime Fandom was originated in Los Angeles in 1997. There are five types of anime, the Shonen, Shoujo, Seinen, Josei and Kodomomuke. They are not genres; rather they are labels which focus on a specific target demographic/intended audience. The first type, Shonen typically aimed to young boys under the age of fifteen. A lot of these anime have a young male hero and are commonly focused on action, adventure and fighting. Second is Seinen which are intended to young men between the ages of 15-24. This type of anime tends to be of a more violent and/or psychological in nature, though there are Seinen comedies as well. The third is Shojou anime. It is the female counterpart to Shonen......

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...Anime: A little more than a childish indulgence When one thinks of the word “Animation”, the first word that arises within their minds is surely to be cartoons, in which they will conclude that all animation is for children. However if one pries in deeper and manages to see through the eyes of an experienced animator, they would understand that animation is more broad then they originally have believed. Furthermore, the focus of Japanese Animation “Anime”, can be explored in depth to show how its popularity managed to spread throughout the world beyond its origin. Anime in essence, is distinctly unique and easily distinguishable from “Western Cartoons” including the style of art, but most importantly the depth of plot due to the fact that much of Anime is influenced directly by Japanese culture. Death, angst, violence and the complexity of human emotions are frequent in Anime which helped its influences to stretch to adult audiences, broadening their market for all age groups. Some key models and figureheads of Anime include Osamu Tezuka, referred to as “the father of Anime” and Hayao Miyazaki, both of whom greatly helped achieve the success of Anime even outside of Japan. Conventions celebrating Japanese Animation is becoming more common, one of the biggest outside of Japan being Anime Expo in Los Angeles, the largest fan-base convention in North America with forty thousand attendees each year. Despite the variety of criticisms and hardships......

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Anime

...Introduction The word Anime was just an abbreviation of the word animation. Moreover, Animation refers to computerized simulation of processes using images to form synthetic motion picture, also known as Graphics. In Japan, the word is used to refer to all animation. Outside of Japan, it's become the catch-all term for animation from Japan. For decades, anime was produced by and for Japan a local product, with a distinct look-and-feel to not just the artwork but the storytelling, the themes, and the concepts. Over the last forty years, as people recognized the uniqueness of it specially its drawings, animation and graphics, it becomes an international phenomenon, attracting millions of fans and being translated into many languages. A whole generation of viewers in the West has grown up with it and is now passing it on to their own children. Objective The findings in this study that have been based on my researches can help and also benefit people especially students. This will help them in the sense that it will enhance their knowledge about this certain topic. It will let them know how Animes created and work, and also in this study, it will let them realize how this first started before. Statement of the Problem This study aims to make students gain knowledge and determine their perceptions towards animation (anime). Specifically, it seeks to answer the following questions: 1. What is the history behind Animes before? 2. How to create animations on an......

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...A Brief History of Anime Michael O'Connell Source: Otakon 1999 program book Early Days At the beginning of the 20th century, Japanese graphic artists began to feel the influence of two very powerful Western inventions: the newspaper comic strip and the motion picture. With its word balloons and linear story-line, the comic strip provided Japanese story-tellers with a structure that was readily accessible to the masses. Soon, popular cartoonists like Rakiten Kitazawa and Ippei Okamoto were producing their own serialized newspaper prints. These would eventually contribute to the development of the modern Japanese comic book or "manga" In 1914, cartoonists were among the first Japanese artists to experiment with animated motion pictures. Japan's first world-wide success was Kitayama Seitaro's short film Momotaro(1918). Although the Japanese animation industry continued to grow slowly, its one, last pre-war milestone was Chikara To Onna No Yononaka. Appearing in 1932, the short film was the first animated "talkie" in Japanese. Elswhere in the world, the animation industry was not only thriving but breaking new ground. The undisputed leaders in the field were Walt Disney and the Fleisher Brothers. People now forgot what a shock it was for Disney to even consider producing a full-length animated feature. But, when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs appeared in 1937 to overwhelming popular acclaim, Disney demonstrated that animation could be just as expressive and viable a medium...

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...American and Japanese anime or animation in general have consumed over two billion fans but that's not that start of our conversation. Our conversation today is centered around the main differences between American and Japanese anime. A lot of controversy today in the anime community is centered around the two powerhouse “brands” of animation and which country does it better. It's much more than who does it better it's more of who has the better fan base.That being said, then why do fans differentiate the two and why do the have such a harsh rivalry. Well the big fight is over the style of which how both countries make their anime. Fans are actually divide like Republicans and Democrats over how certain aspects of how the anime is supposed to look. Anime is very popular today because people attend anime conventions. In anime conventions many people of different ethnicities can enjoy the view of what's going on. They can buy a number of merchandise that usually appears to be manga, figurines, dvds, and etc. People can participate in various events such as panels, art shows and video screenings. There is more than a handful to choose from. Anime Expo known in America is the biggest convention to date and all sorts of ethnicities are always welcome to...

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Anime

...Anime is commonly defined as animation originating in Japan. (アニメ?, an abbreviated pronunciation in Japanese of "animation", pronounced [anime] ( listen) in Japanese, but typically /ˈænɨmeɪ/ ( listen) or /ˈɑnimeɪ/ in English.) The definition sometimes changes depending on the context.[1] In English-speaking countries, anime is also referred to as "Japanese animation".[2] While the earliest known Japanese animation dates to 1917,[3] and many original Japanese cartoons were produced in the ensuing decades, the characteristic anime style developed in the 1960s—notably with the work of Osamu Tezuka—and became known outside Japan in the 1980s. Anime, like manga, has a large audience in Japan and recognition throughout the world. Distributors can release anime via television broadcasts, directly to video, or theatrically, as well as online. Both hand-drawn and computer-animated anime exist. It is used in television series, films, video, video games, commercials, and internet-based releases, and represents most, if not all, genres of fiction. As the market for anime increased in Japan, it also gained popularity in East and Southeast Asia. Anime is currently popular in many different regions around the world.[citation needed] Contents [hide] 1 History 2 Terminology 2.1 Word usage 2.2 Synonyms 3 Visual characteristics 3.1 Character design 3.1.1 Proportions 3.1.2 Eye styles 3.1.3 Facial expressions 3.2 Animation technique 4 Distribution 4.1 Broadcasting 4.2 Influence......

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...Running head: ANIME Teenagers today are so obsessed to Anime because it does not only entertain and communicates with them; it also reflects their own problems and struggles in life. Jimenez, Mariannel C. School of Languages, Humanities and Social Studies Mapua Institute of Technology December 04, 2015 Anime Research Paper: Teenagers today are so obsessed to Anime because it does not only entertain and communicates with them; it also reflects their own problems and struggles in life. Anime is a big part of Japanese culture, with its popularity having also spread worldwide. It has been the most popular and victorious entertainment ever since, it is translated to different languages to be spread all over the world (Wikipedia, 2007). Teenagers today are so obsessed to anime because of the wide range of genres that enables them to choose which one they would like to watch. Teenagers enjoys’ watching anime because it gives them joy and it serves as an alternative to their problems and struggles in life. What Anime is “Japanese anime are animated productions featuring hand drawn or computer animation” (Wikipedia, 2015). The word anime can slightly vary depending on where you are. If you are in Japan, anime refers to the shortened form of romaji animashon but if you are outside Japan, anime refers to the kind of animation that is from Japan which is characterized by fantasy, vibrant characters, colorful grahics, and over acting scenes. In simpler words, anime is one of......

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...Running Head: JAPANESE ANIMATION 1 LIBERAL ARTS JAPANESE ANIMATION 2 Probably all have ever seen or just heard about the anime. Everyone remembers the characters that differ colored hair and big round eyes. Works such as Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, and of course Pokémon are a cult of its genre. I'm sure many have seen these cartoons, but never thought about what they are and who made them. I remember when I was a kid watching Pokémon after school and could not have imagined that the same Looney Tunes are completely different things. In my mind there was only one question: "Why their eyes so big?" Where did all these cartoons come from?  To find the answer one must look no further than in Japan, the birthplace of Japanese animation, and the main source for all of this madness. Japanese animation, also known as anime (pronounced "ani-may"), is a popular form of animation in Japan, which is quickly spreading in the world.  The major difference between anime and American cartoons is that unlike American cartoons, which are only watched by children, anime is popular among the Japanese adults and is watched by millions.  The audience is not merely directed to children but to teens and adults as well.  The same applies to Japanese comics known as manga. The origins of Japanese animation art are in the cultural traditions of this nation. Despite the nearly century-long period when the animation as an element of......

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...and the history that has been invested into "Hollywood" has definitely carved a permanent place in the books. So while having cartoons on that early Saturday morning that kids nowadays don't even get up to watch. It isn't necessarily a vital thing. Japan, a vastly smaller country with a different upbringing. They have never formed a movie industry that could compare anywhere near to American movies. Thailand, in recent years has become more prominent but otherwise, Eastern cultures just don't put out the volume nor quality that American films do. (I'm not saying Eastern movies aren't of good quality, I love tons of foreign films) However Japan did have something that was sparked by the creation of one of the most timeless characters in anime history. Astro Boy. In 1952, Osamu Tezuka created one of the most influential characters in animated history. As a young boy he was raised into a family that was rather well off. Luckily enough his family was well off enough that his mother would often bring him to the theater. (he watched Bambi, a lot) It was because of this, his interest and creativity grew and he would become known as "the God of Manga." Wars, they Affect Cartoons Too World War II was a difficult time for thousands, if not millions of lives. It was during this time that Tezuka-san took the opportunity to spread his manga. Selling them at bus...

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Anime Addiction

...Anime Addiction *   *   * Anime had widely spread in the whole world, its positive and negative effects are continuously being debated. 1.What is the history of Anime? 2.What are the reasons Anime Addiction? 3.What are the common positive effects of anime Addiction? 4.What are the common negative effects of anime Addiction? Intoduction A.Background information B.Importance of the paper C.Statement of the problem D.Definition of terms Anime addicton A.Reason of anime addiction 1.manga 2.video games 3.movies 4. anime series B. positive effect of anime addiction 1.culture 2.fashion 3.language 4.social interaction C.Negative effects of anime addiction 1.health 2.immoral activities 3.money disposal Conclusion. The rapid rise of anime has seen much controversy in this generation. We are bombarded with the popularity of anime where many people especially teenagers around the world were involved. anime Addiction is actually a very serious problem for it involves many people where only themselves can solve it. The history of anime began at the start of the 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques that were being explored in the West. The first generation of animators in the late 1910s included Ōten Shimokawa, Jun’ichi Kōuchi and Seitaro Kitayama, referred to as the “fathers” of anime.[1] During World War II, propaganda films such as Momotarō no Umiwashi (1943) and Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei (1945) were......

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Anime Addiction

...line from the wanting to watch anime to needing to watch it. Our personal take on anime is we watch what we enjoy. And we truly like anime. But we keep thinking we should stop watching because it is childish. We purchase anime on rare occasions, and watch anime maybe once a week. Recently we have been watched a lot more anime than we should often since we found online site for anime. We’ve guess what we am saying is most of my friends and family "don't get the anime thing". Therefore, we end up watching anime on my own feeling something like a social outcast. Socially we am busy being as we am out of college, in a very exhausting job, trying to find time to date, into sports, looking into grad school, etc. we know there are others out there thinking the same thing. So what is your takes on this. Does anime become a social dysfunction? Portraying anime as a cultural thing can only go so far...I guess what they saying are "doing get the anime influenced". Therefore, we should end up watching anime on our own feeling something like a social outcast. Socially we are busy being as we am out of college, in a very exhausting job, trying to find time to date, into sports, looking into grad school, etc. Seems to that you’re only a casual anime fan, so were good. As long as we have a life that extends beyond anime, don't worry. When you start using Japanese words in daily conversation, sit at a computer all night every night watching anime, and withdraw from other......

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...Introduction Anime refers to the animation style originated in Japan. It is characterized by distinctive characters and backgrounds, hand-drawn or computer-generated that visually and thematically set it apart from other forms of animation. Storylines may include a variety of fictional or historical characters, events, and settings. Anime is aimed at a broad range of audiences and consequently, a given series may have aspects of a range of genres. Anime is most frequently broadcasted on television or sold on DVDs either after their broadcast run or directly as original video animation. Console and computer games sometimes also feature segments or scenes that can be considered anime. Manga is Japanese for "comics" or "whimsical images". Manga developed from a mixture of Ukiyo-e and Western styles of drawing, and took its current form shortly after World War II. Manga, apart from covers, is usually published in black and white but it is common to find introductions to chapters to be in color, and is read from top to bottom and then right to left, similar to the layout of a Japanese plain text. Financially, manga represented in 2005 a market of ¥24 billion in Japan and one of $180 million in the United States. Manga was the fastest growing segment of books in the United States in 2005. Anime and manga share many characteristics, including: exaggerating of physical features, to which the reader presumably should pay most attention, "dramatically shaped speech bubbles, speed......

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Anime

...Watching Anime to the High School Students A Term Paper Presented To Ms. Inot Lourdes College In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements in English 2 By Justin L. Yu Bachelor of Science in business administration Feb. 25, 2014 Outline i. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………2 ii. Body…………………………………………………………………………………2 a. The effects of watching anime to the students b. The effects for the students who are watching anime iii. Significance of the study…………………………………………………………. iv. Objectives of the Study…………………………………………………………… c. Do Watching anime is important of not important to them d. The disadvantages of watching anime e. Finding a ways how the students prevent from getting addicted on watching anime v. Scope and limitations……………………………………………………………. vi. Discussion………………………………………………………………………… vii. Summary and conclusion………………………………………………..……… f. Summary g. Conclusion viii. Bibliography………………………………………………………………………. Introduction On our generation nowadays most of the students get addicted on watching anime or reading Mangas (a Japanese term of comic books). If a person likes anime too much, he or she will be called as an OTAKU(is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom.) Otakus follows their desire without thinking first. They also follows the anime series they wants. There are many factors that urge students to watch......

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