A short statement on the straw-man argument of piracy and the poor MPAA and RIAA who are soooo pooor and have to fight eeeeevil pirates. ARRRRRRR!

Let’s take an example of unparalleled success and popularity. Xpat and I have mentioned them a few times.


When I go on Share or Perfect Dark (sorry kids, not under US jurisdiction), I find a ton of AKB48 related stuff. Literally a ton. CD-rips, DVD-rips, recordings of the tv shows they’re in, radio recordings, etc. Note, not all of that is illegal. The rips certainly are, the rest is a grey zone.

Now, looking at the current status of AKB48…

They have broken one record after the other. Right now their singles sell at about 1 million pieces upon release (they also lead download charts, not just hard-copy sales.)

Piracy is hitting them, yep, but is Akimoto, the brain behind the “AKB48 Operation”, going totally batsh** like the MPAA or RIAA? Are they landing in the poorhouse because of this?


What is AKB48 doing instead?

Well, they have their official youtube channel. They are, right now, effectively everywhere. Japan has this thing called “cell phone drama”, they pop up there. They’re on TV. They’re online (most of the girls run their own blogs, twitter also plays a role.) They were set up with the idea of “idols you can meet”. They will be live streaming one of their shows on youtube. They are everywhere. I’m not kidding. You can’t throw a fat guy in Tokyo and many other cities without hitting a poster or anything other related to them.

The management of AKB48 is using modern technology, modern business models, making use of the well-developed technology in Japan. MPAA and RIAA aren’t doing any of that. They are very far behind, basically riding a Ford T with four flat tires sucking down 10 gallons per mile, while groups like AKB48 are riding the Ferrari-Prius-SUV with excellent mileage and range. Their artistic value is, well, let’s not go there and it’s not the point of this post. Their management is playing this right, using all tools they have, adapting to modern, evolving business models. And it’s not the only management.

Another magnificent example is “Maru Maru Mori Mori!”, which was the theme song for “Marumo no Okite”, a Japanese tv series, which was sung by the two child stars of the series, Ashida Mana (despite her age of only 7 years an incredible actress, every director and older actor she has worked with so far has praised her to high heaven) and  Suzuki Fuku. The song went viral, sold in unexpected dimensions, still sells. It actually beat AKB48 as #1 at one point. WARNING! This song is beyond cute and can seriously endanger your health with an overload of cuteness.

Can the MPAA or the RIAA even remotely compare or compete with that? No, of course not. They are stuck in backwards technology. So now I’m supposed to feel sorry for the MPAA and RIAA losing money? Oh noes, it’s piracy! Oh give me a break. Adapt to modern technology or die. Survival of the fittest. That is how a free market works. Oh, piracy is hurting the industry in the US? Well, maybe stop making multi-billion dollar movies and adapt to the technology that is there? Oh wait, that would make sense and we can’t have that!

I’m no longer paying any money to MPAA or RIAA. Then again, I haven’t for a long time. I simply refuse to watch or listen to the crap Hollywood is pumping out these days, so my boycott won’t really change anything, because it’s been running for a while anyway.

As for SOPA and PIPA being dead… Yeah, right. They will come back, just under a different name. Similar motions are floating around in the EU. SOPA and PIPA might come back with the old “protect the children” straw-man argument. Some politicians in Germany (and the media) are already using that to sell their idea of outright banning certain games (usually first person shooters which are called “killer games” in Germany and where some politicians claim that games like Counter Strike teaches you to shoot a gun *facepalm*), long term storage of user data, police trojans and outright restricting access to the internet. All in the name to “fight crime” (which they refuse to do in the streets of German cities, i.e. Berlin has the murder rate of NYC these days) and to “protect the children” (which is the job of the parents, a concept that doesn’t fit into the wish of our so called leaders of turning our countries into nanny states.)

SOPA and PIPA will be back because the Beltway Mafia walks hand in hand with the Hollywood Mafia. Neither understands modern technology and neither is willing to adapt. They are dinosaurs and I think it’s time they become extinct.

Disclaimer: I used to be a fan of AKB48, well, a sort of fan. I enjoyed their nerd/geek approach back when they started out. They had some cute, catchy songs, like “Aitakatta!”. They have now, sadly, gone total mainstream and have lost the nerd/geek appeal, so I’m no longer following them.

Also, this is my personal opinion, which is based on having personal insight into the Japanese show business and the management agencies of the same. I know several actors and singers (and I mean knowing them outside of their job, not just running into them in the streets and bugging them for an autograph) and have contacts to several agencies and broadcasters, including the NHK.

This is Edohiguma, signing off with Maru Maru Mori Mori.

About Edohiguma

A friend of death, a brother of luck & a son of a b*tch. A bear with guns (based on the right to arm bears), enforcer of the law and a riot cop of history. Studying that Japanese stuff. Shanghaiing your books since 1543.... AND NEVER GIVING THEM BACK!
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11 Responses to ARRRRRRR!

  1. MG says:

    An observation:
    That guy thinks he’s talking about Anonymous. (And his allegation of your support of Anonymous.)
    You seem to be talking about SOPA/PIPA, copyrights, usage, ETC. (And you never mention Anonymous.)

    Am I somehow missing you saying something about Anonymous in all this? I’m searching the text, so I assume we have an issue of interpretive assumptions overriding reality.

    • Edohiguma says:

      I don’t care too much about Anon. What they primarily do is DDOS attack servers, which is not impressive, yet the media calls them “hackers”.

      The thing with copyright “laws” is the same thing as with gun laws. One guy does something bad, all owners are held liable and the laws get stricter, which solves absolutely nothing. Instead of enforcing existing laws they throw more laws at us. The problem remains, and the vast majority of law abiding owners gets shafter over and over again.

      Here’s another way of looking at the gun control issue.

      Imagine, if you will, a grade school classroom with 30 kids and one teacher.

      Now, let’s say the teacher creates three rules for the classroom, rules the kids must follow, rules that keep the classroom orderly and conducive to learning.

      The three rules are

      1. No talking during lessons
      2. Stay in your seats during lessons.
      3. Respect your fellow classmates.

      Now, suppose that despite those rules, ten out of the thirty kids repeatedly do not follow them and continually disrupt class. In addition, they push the other kids around.

      Okay–now suppose that in order to punish the ten kids for not following the rules, the teacher decides to create more rules of conduct.

      The ten kids still don’t follow.

      So the teacher creates even more rules.

      In every instance, the twenty kids who actually follow the rules are finding themselves saddled with more and sometimes stricter rules.

      They’ll follow them, of course. They’re good students.

      But those ten kids repeatedly do not.

      And the teacher creates even more rules.

      Think about this for a moment.

      As a solution, does it make sense?

      Go ahead. Think about it.

      No. It doesn’t make sense.

      Here’s the thing: this is exactly what gun control is doing.

      The ten kids (criminals) are breaking the three rules (established gun laws) so in response, the teacher (gun control advocates) create more rules to make sure the three rules are being followed.

      Now let me ask you: if you thought the classroom example didn’t work, what makes you think gun control efforts will?

      Now imagine a 100-flat apartment building. One guy in there is a drug dealer. The other 99 apartments are filled with good people. The police finds out there’s crime going on. They storm the building. The landlord is arrested, the people all evicted. The drug dealer walks away. Does this solution make sense? Of course not. But that’s essentially the megaupload shutdown. Is it going to solve anything? No. Nothing at all.

      Of course we could now say that sites like megaupload must check all the files uploaded to them for copyright infringement. Yeah, have fun doing that, it’s not going to work. Cause that would mean they’d have to check all files, that would be a breach of trust with the customers and with that they’d knock themselves out of business. Not to mention the logistical nightmare something like that would lead to. How many terabytes of data were going up megaupload every day? I have no idea, but it must have been a lot. That’s impossible to check 100%.

      Also this:

      • MG says:

        I’m not arguing with you.

        I was pointing out that the other guy thinks he’s arguing with you about Anonymous. All of his points really revolve around that one item, which you never mentioned.

        I would think my view on bad/failing business models would be clear enough!

  2. Xpat says:

    KawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! [CuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuute]

    Those kids are amazing. The boy was also quite good in Bemu [series based on an old anime series, about a family of superhuman humanoids created in a laboratory accident who help people in dire need, seek acceptance in human society, and search for their lost identity].

    This Ramen commercial is super cute. The kid idolizes the Ramen stall operator (who is the product mascot):

    The missus adores Miyu Honda, the little girl who was in Kaseifu no Mita [Mita the Maid].

    • Edohiguma says:

      I saw Mana the first time in MOTHER (recommended drama), and I was very impressed. Saw her again in Gou (as the only highlight). Her performance as Chacha was amazing. And she returned to Gou later as a different character. Everybody wanted her back.

      She’s going to be big. I really hope she won’t pull a Kurosawa Yuu (that’s the grand-daughter of the great Akira), who was incredibly skilled, and then just retired from the business, got married with children.

      • Xpat says:

        Those were amazing performances indeed.

        There’s something to be said for retiring from the business and making your own life. Look at Momoe Yamaguchi. She got out at just about the right time, made her own life, and now she’s a legend–still puts all the other idols to shame.

        • Edohiguma says:

          Oh absolutely correct. It’s more of a… “Damn, why did Yuu retire and Sawajiri is still around”. Yeah, I don’t like “Erika-sama”.

          Luckily some stay. Take Suzuki Anne for example. She was always good, even as little girl (her performance in Aoi Tori back in the days was great), but she has turned to be absolutely stellar on stage. Her other performances are pretty good too (except tv, where she’s lagging a bit.) Keibetsu, for example, amazing movie, great performances. Together with the Yamamoto movie (which is absolutely fantastic) my Movie(s) of 2011.

  3. Edohiguma says:

    I want to quickly address another straw-man argument: download numbers.

    There are some numbers floating around about how often recent games were downloaded illegally. What these numbers don’t tell us is how many of those were American and how many weren’t. It’s like with guns. We’re always told that so and so many crimes are gun-related or include guns. But what they never tell us is how many of those are legal and how many are illegal.

    No, we are only told so and so many guns are used.

    Same with the downloads. Yet I’m 100% sure that the majority of these downloads are not from the US. Just like the vast majority of guns used in crimes is not legal.

    But those facts are withheld on purpose all the time because of lobbyist groups who hate facts, because they know, the very moment the facts come into play, they will lose.

  4. Xpat says:

    That first day of school is always so tough.

    • Edohiguma says:

      I missed the first day of elementary school of my “niece” back in the days. But I will be there for her first day at junior high this year. Random? Na, the “first day” reminded me of that.

      Suzuki Kyoka is still quite hot. She’s not TWIL, but you get my drift.

      And I find the “tough” guys in such school (and related) dramas always amusing. I’d eat them for breakfast. And demand seconds.

      Renai Neet finally started. Or better said, I finally found it. Been looking forward to it, am somewhat of a sucker for Nakama Yukie.

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