Crunchy Roll Vs. The World

Crunchy Roll has grown into a popular site over the past few years as a great youtube styled site offering streaming anime, asian tv shows, and movies for viewing. This of course has included licensed North American properties that has gotten them a few angry letters leading to taking down of content. This however was occassional, and due to the amount of shows they offered for viewing, it was hardly a case of a lack of content, which of course lead to an inevitable swell of users. With the growing of the site however, Crunchy Roll has begun charging for the right to see higher picture quality as well as accepting a $4.05 Million capital investment into their service. This of course again breaks the time honoured tradition of fansubbing and its distribution being done for free and distributed for free without any attempt to gain or achieve profit directly or indirectly off of the subbing work that fansubbing groups create and distribute. For example, fansubbers still frequently include messages in the eye catch scenes in the middle of episodes that usually state “if you paid for this, you’ve been ripped off” in bold large font. This ideal of “free” distribution and production dates back to the tape subbing days and has continued through the digital subbing revolution that has greatly aided in the promoting an unearthing of new and old series and genres for the viewing public. They have also fullfilled the slow move companies have made at moving into the digital distribution of anime, and media in general. Crunchy Roll of course was part of this in that it provided streaming content that North American companies could not do, whether it was out of online naivete or licensing restrictions from Japanese creators and their studios. By not charging anything however, this allowed for corporate tolerance and the adherence to the vagueries of digital copyright laws, as well as the code of online ethics. Now however, all that is changed with this unilateral move by Crunchy Roll that has left users and companies fuming. Not only does this stink of copyright abuse, but it also stinks of a blatant attempt to exploit the content that has been freely compiled by Crunchy Roll and remains free for anyone who knows where to download fansubs and dvd rips. Do you really want to pay for laziness? Do you really want to pay someone who is exploiting hours of work that is done for free? I think the choice is obvious, and course it really is inevitably going to kill crunchy roll in the long run, which is unfortunate because as a free service it really helps in terms of distribution as well as a community builder that mirc once was for fansub enthusiasts, that somewhat still is. What ultimately is going to be the undoing though is the investment money and the subscription service that Crunchy Roll is accepting. Just as fansubs have continually survived due to the strength of the anime audience that does indeed support the industry financially with purchases, that same audience is most likely going to turn on crunchy roll and allow the industry attack dogs to run amock. Anyways, for more info and some actual industry statements on the matter, head over to Japanator’s Article on the matter and check it out.