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.