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Gonzo Exec Rips Fan Subs

Anime's 'Biggest Threat'

Published: 11/26/2007 12:00am

In an interview posted on the ActiveAnime Website Arthur Smith, President of GDH International, the parent company of Gonzo (Samurai Seven, Red Garden, Witchblade), fingered Internet piracy as 'the single biggest global threat to the anime industry,' noting that 'fansubbing is at the heart of the problem.'  Smith compared watching a fan sub to 'smashing the window of a Mac Store and taking an iPhone the day before it is released.'

 

Smith indicated that sales of anime DVDs in the U.S. were down 30% and that fansubbing was largely to blame.  He also told Active Anime that piracy was having an effect on Gonzo: 'We are already having to cut production budgets and asking all our staff and creators to accept little or no pay increases to help us survive.  We are lucky that we have some other businesses such as on-line games to help us support the anime production business; otherwise we'd be in real trouble.  I am sure there will be some production companies who go bankrupt.'

 

Smith, who told Active Anime that he was the instigator of such Gonzo projects as Afro Samurai and Witchblade, noted ironically that fans who illegally download fansubbed anime whether via BitTorrent sites or as fee-paying members of Usenet newsgroups, are hurting the very creators they admire.  Writers, directors, animators and voice actors working in the anime industry are 'not paid like Hollywood superstars,' and they are being personally affected by the decrease in revenues caused by piracy of anime titles.  

 

GDH is preparing to take legal action against newsgroup sites that are selling its content without permission and without paying royalties.  Smith, who indicated that Gonzo was working on ways to shorten the window between when anime series are broadcast in Japan and released in the U.S., hopes that mounting a vigorous, well-publicized campaign against Internet anime piracy will dissuade casual anime downloaders and reduce the need to target individuals with legal action.

 
 
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