Call#: Annenberg Library Reserve P94.65.U6 J46 2006
Henry Jenkins has emerged as the leading scholar on fan communities and participatory cultures. In specifically addressing anime fansubbing communities, Jenkins presents a familiar argument of piracy actually serving as a promotional activity for anime properties. He notes that by the Japanese anime industry being tolerant of grassroots activities in the United States, “much of the risks of entering the Western markets and many of the costs of experimentation were borne by dedicated consumers.” This tolerance of fan activities represents part of a Japanese cultural tradition that permits expansion and engagement with media properties. For example, manga artists and studios have permitted the appropriation and infringement of their copyrights by amateur artists in the doujinshi market. Rather than viewing these activities as a threat to the value of their properties, Japanese companies have recognized that collaborative structures are important in “developing compelling new content or broadening markets.”
As other scholars such as Leonard and Kelts have noted, anime fandom helped build up a structure for an American market through experimentation with unfamiliar content and promotion of niche titles. Jenkins's analysis of how companies must balance fan engagement along with protection of their properties is particularly relevant to the ongoing controversy in anime fandom between fansubbing groups and licensing companies.
Joshua Daniels describes the negligence of licensing companies to account for fan sentiments towards preservation of original works as a market failure that can be remedied through an expanded Fair Use statute. He argues that society has an economic interest in maintaining the integrity of works, and therefore the harm caused by licensing companies that heavily edit or censor these properties can be understood as a negative market externality. In order to correct this market failure, Daniels proposes that the law must channel incentives such that licensing companies are forced to take into account fan interests in preserving these works. However, he also cautions that there is a substantial risk of destroying the market entirely if too broad of an approach is taken to remedy the failure. Therefore, he proposes legalizing fansubs to an extent under a right of public access to foreign works in their original form when there is no other practicable legal means of obtaining that access. In this way the competing interests of rights-holders and fans are balanced in favor of public access.
Daniels recognizes a demand for authenticity as a particular characteristic of anime fandom that promotes a cultural goal. Insofar as some fansubs promote this end, we may consider legalizing their practices in order to incentivize companies to distribute an original version of the works they license. Indeed, many fansubbing groups, such as Live-Evil, work specifically with older anime that were heavily modified when broadcast in the U.S. market. Daniels's proposed model, however, would likely create undue burdens for companies that are attempting to localize otherwise unintelligible cultural shows. While promoting public access to works is a valuable goal, Daniels seems to prioritize cultural over economic production when instead both concerns should be balanced.
Justin Sevakis presents an overview of the anime industry's current decline in sales, which he attributes both to digital fansubbing and corporate reluctance to adopt new technologies. Unlike many other authors who have written about fansubbing, Sevakis recognizes a qualitative break between the VHS distribution networks and current digital fansubs with decentralized distribution. The internet has dramatically lowered the barriers to obtaining fansubs, which are now easily available at the click of a button on a multitude of streaming sites. While fansubs might have previously been a non-rivalrous work that served a promotional function for the licensed products, digital fansubs have effectively usurped the licensed market by offering a product of the same quality for free and faster than legal avenues. The fansubbing groups, however, are simply responding to fan demands for timely releases, which the industry has failed to meet. In order to prevent further losses and rebuild the industry, companies must adopt a digital model that provides American audiences with “a legal, inexpensive way to watch new anime in English.”
Rather than idealizing the cultural benefits of fansubbing, Sevakis presents a practical understanding of how fans and the industry operate in the digital market. People watch fansubs because there is a market vacuum that the anime industry has ignored for several years. Rather than providing a legal avenue to meet this market demand, anime companies have responded like many other entertainment industries by believing they can guilt their fans into sticking with a failing business model. Furthermore, the industry has confounded the size of the fan community with the anime consumer market, which in fact represent audiences with varying levels of engagement and interest; not all fans share the same buying practices as collectors, and indeed many are simply interested in just viewing a series once and not owning it on DVD. These considerations complicate the perspective of fansubbing as an activity that promotes economic and cultural growth because they demonstrate the real harm to the anime industry being caused by illegal reproduction in fan communities.
13. Kirkpatrick, S. (2003). Like holding a bird: What the prevalence of fansubbing can teach us about the use of strategic selective copyright enforcement. Temple Environmental Law and Technology Journal, 21, 131-153.
Sean Kirkpatrick uses the examples of fansubs and AMVs to argue that “entertainment copyrights works best if grasped loosely.” In his article, he undertakes a fair use analysis of both these works: (1) fansubs are non-transformative and are created for the exact same entertainment value as the originals. Therefore, the first factor weighs against a finding of fair use. (2) anime is a creative work and therefore falls into the core of copyright’s protection. The second factor weighs against a finding of fair use. (3) fansubs copy the work entirely at a qualitatively-similar level. The third factor weighs against a finding of fair use. (4) the likelihood of harm for either direct or derivative markets is difficult to determine in this case. However, since fansubs share their purpose with the original work, the potential for harm would likely be viewed as greater and therefore the fourth factor would most likely way against a finding of fair use. Kirkpatrick does not entirely concede the fourth point, however, and argues that fansubs parallel the Betamax case of time-shifting. In this sense fansubs, like taped television shows, are not used to build collections or libraries, and therefore would not impact future sales. Instead, he argues, “the interests of fans and corporations need not be mutually exclusive” and “cooperation is a far better way to promote the profitability of one’s copyright than bullying.”
While Kirkpatrick’s fair use analysis is mostly correct, industry representatives would justifiably take exception to the parallel between fansubs and Betamax. Not only are the technologies significantly dissimilar, but fansubs are produced for an audience that would otherwise not have access to these shows and therefore does diminish the value of licensing the property to distribute in the U.S. market. While these objections are important, they do not undercut Kirkpatrick’s conclusion that cooperation between fans and industries will be necessary to achieve the end goal of promoting anime, which is in everyone’s interests.
Call#: Van Pelt Library KF2979 .L47 2004
Professor Lawrence Lessig has been the most eloquent proponents of the Free Culture movement since its inception. He argues that recent copyright laws abandon a tradition of free creative expression that has existed throughout American history and instead impose undue restrictions that have chilled the growth of culture, especially at this moment when digital technologies have enabled audiences to participate in making their culture unlike ever before. Lessig was particularly outspoken about the failure of copyright to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial lifetimes of works, the latter of which is important and valuable for the development of culture. In this context, copyright does not fulfill its goal of promoting progress, but rather burdens free expression and does harm; access to culture is a value which the current market system and copyright regime have inhibited.
Although Lessig does not address fansubbing directly, his arguments about the value of access to non-commercial works can logically be extended to this domain. Typically fansubbing groups only work on unlicensed series, which are only distributed in Japan and therefore unavailable to English audiences. By prohibiting altogether the translation and reproduction of these works, copyright law is not incentivizing their legal distribution, but rather restricting cultural growth by indiscriminately denying American audiences any access to an entire medium of expression on the basis of preserving the rights-holder’s complete control over distribution even if they are not commercially exploiting the work. In this case copyright has not balanced the interests between creators and the public, but rather established a view of creative works as absolute property rights that creators are entitled to perfectly control. Neither the Constitutional basis nor the long history of copyright law supports such an interpretation, which has been shown to be deleterious to the purpose of expanding culture and promoting creativity.
Jordan Hatcher describes the fansubbing community as sitting at an interesting boundary between creative production and file-trading. He notes that fansubbers are guided by a cultural goal and attitudes that exist within the community itself, comparable more to the FOSS movement rather than typical pirates. After recognizing these nuances between fansubbers and pirates, Hatcher asks, “Do our laws stifle creativity and sharing to the point where it harms society?” While there are certainly cultural benefits created by the fansubbing community, there also exists the potential to replace market need for official licensed translations, thus causing an economic harm to the artists and creators of these works. He argues that a fair use defense based on these benefits, such as market enhancement or interest-building, are undercut by the reality of fansubbers' actual practices of providing a substitute product. While Hatcher concludes that it is still too early to come to any conclusion about the benefits of fansubs, he believes that the relationship between fansubbing communities and the anime industry will “reveal a great deal about copyright in a connected digital world.”
Hatcher challenges the model of fansubbing as an activity that creates growth and benefits for the anime industry by undercutting the traditional market enhancement argument that fans usually propose. Copyright should not be frivolously violated because protection of creative products is a culturally beneficial instrument that provides creators with incentives to produce new works. Therefore, in order to produce a culturally beneficial arrangement that incorporates the benefits of fansubbing communities while minimizing the harms to creators, both groups must respect the value each respectively generates and come to an agreement that meets their common goal of promoting anime. Such an agreement is possible because, unlike typical pirates, fansubbing communities operate around a code of conduct and thus have demonstrated a level of compliance with industry requests not seen in other areas of the piracy debate.
Sean Leonard extensively documents the history of anime in the United States from 1976-1993 in order to demonstrate how fan communities acted as proselytziation commons that shaped the formation and initial operation of the anime market. Leonard defines a proselytization commons as a free exchange of media in order to advance a directed cause, namely the promotion of anime to a wider audience. While these fan activities infringed on the copyright of Japanese companies, the companies nevertheless responded with either strategic ignorance – that is, they sought benefits that result from unauthorized use – or plainly dismissive ignorance. Leonard’s legal analysis classifies the fansubbers’ activities as producing a desirable outcome, but not being sanctioned by law. Since current copyright law prohibits these culturally beneficial activities, Leonard proposes a revision that excuses unauthorized reproduction of foreign works until they are actually licensed and distributed in the domestic U.S. market. He grounds this revision on the early American tradition surrounding copyright law based on an originalist interpretation of “limited Times” and “promote progress” in the Constitution.
Leonard’s analysis of the history of fansubbing presents one of the strongest rebuttals to the argument made by many media industries that the progress of culture requires “perfect control over copyright from fixation to expiration.” Grass-roots distribution of anime through fan networks not only promoted cultural growth by acting as a proselytization commons, but also created a multi-million dollar market for these products as well. Therefore, the example of fansubs demonstrates how culturally beneficial activities that in fact meet the goal of “promot[ing] progress” are nevertheless unjustly restricted by rigid copyright laws. The fact that current copyright laws are in fact having the opposite of their intended effect should prompt citizens and lawmakers to consider exemptions, such as expanding Fair Use, that legalizes these activities.
At the Futures of Entertainment Conference, several panelists discussed potential models for understanding the motivations behind participatory culture in fan communities. As a result of increasing access to the internet and lowered barriers to participation, audiences have developed an expectation about the ability to autonomously engage with the materials that make up their cultural space. In order to succeed, media companies must be able to meet these consumer demands and also effectively incentivize and reward individuals for creating value. The interactions between these fan communities and the media companies that attempt to capitalize on their labor is therefore framed as a “social contract” that ought to produce benefits for both sides. Many of the mistakes that media companies have committed in their interactions with fan communities have been a result of misunderstanding the ethics and ecology of remix culture.
An understanding of community dynamics is essential for discussing anime fandom, which has been one of the most vibrant and engaged fan communities in the United States over the last 30 years. Indeed, the anime market in this country developed through the voluntary labor of fans that imported and translated works that would have otherwise been unavailable to the English audience. The anime industry therefore stands in the enviable position of already having a well-developed community that is engaged with and interested in their media properties. In order for the anime industry to continue its growth and expansion into the U.S. market, companies must develop business models that demonstrate an understanding of the motivations behind these fan communities and utilizes them as vehicles to monetize fan labor. Although the industry is still in the process of developing and deploying a digitally-grounded model, companies have demonstrated an awareness of the demands and expectations that fan communities hold and are attempting to incorporate them into their plans.
Call#: Van Pelt Library E169.12 .K46 2006
As remix culture begins to steadily supplant traditional consumer culture, media companies are recognizing the importance of cultivating participatory communities in order to generate interest and merchandising opportunities for their properties. Indeed, up until now the anime industry has recognized the value of these communities by tacitly approving of their activities despite being aware of their widespread copyright infringement – fansubs, fan fiction, cosplay, and various other forms of creative expression have been openly displayed for some time both on the internet and at fan conventions. In this way, we can recognize that the letter of the law is only one part of what must be a multi-faceted understanding of copyright; many illegal activities may in fact be culturally beneficial and even economically complementary. In many cases the anime industry has succeeded by leveraging the creative social structure of fan communities. For example, series such as Pokemon or Naruto have incorporated merchandising models that capture fans' passion for expression and connection with these fictional worlds.
This panel discussion at Otakon 2008 brought together members both from U.S. anime licensing companies and fansubbing groups in order to discuss some problems affecting the industry, which are supposedly attributable to the prominence of fansubs on the internet. The industry representatives argued that the wide availability of anime fansubs on streaming sites such as YouTube have significantly impacted DVD sales and thereby led to reductions in series production. Actual market figures presented include a drop in DVD sales from $550 million in 2003 to an estimated $300 million in 2007, while an estimated 6 million fansubs are downloaded every week. Fansub members respond to these claims by arguing that (1) they serve an important promotional role for unlicensed anime series, (2) they preserve the integrity of shows which have been heavily edited or censored, and (3) the industry has not presented any alternatives that meet fan demand for timeliness. The panelists then discuss some approaches that companies could take in order to address these issues, such as streaming simulcasts of shows and digital downloads.
Just like every other media industry that has experienced declining sales, the anime industry has also attributed these losses to digital piracy and filesharing. However, the practice of fansubbing cannot be reduced simply to that of digital piracy since it developed prior to the advent of the internet and in fact served an important and acknowledged positive role in promoting and developing the anime market in the United States. Furthermore, the transparency and codes of conduct within fansubbing communities are often proposed as a basis that justifies their practices and separates them from pirates. Although the anime industry has undeniably been faced with a contraction in sales due in part to digital piracy, any legal response from these companies must be targeted towards the correct group of perpetrators, namely the pirates and not fansubbers. Furthermore, companies must leverage the influence of fansubbing groups within anime fandom by working with them to provide legal alternatives, such as fansite-based internet distribution, that balance respect for creators’ rights with the demands of fan communities.
Vincent Canby’s review of Shogun Assassin (1980) is scathing, but warranted. He begins his diatribe with a critique of the film’s child narrator, Daigoro, the protagonist’s son. Canby finds Daigoro’s commentary on the film’s bloody action “pricelessly funny” because of his matter of fact tone and perpetual understatement. The columnist applies the brunt of criticism to the film’s script, “Shogun Assassin…is as furiously mixed up as What’s Up Tiger Lilly? the classic that Woody Allen made by attaching an English soundtrack to a grade-Z Japanese spy movie.” He sums up the film’s plot quite simply, as the story of a “tubby, outcast samurai wandering the length and breadth of Japan.” Though Canby appreciates some of the film’s photography, the movie’s intense violence and gore disturb him. Ultimately, Canby concludes, “the movie is an unimportant joke.”
The review illustrates Shogun Assassin’s reception in the United States as an exploitation film. The film’s director, Robert Houston, and writers, Houston and David Weisman, spliced together scenes from the first two installments of the Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub series, fabricated a script, and then dubbed the footage. The film enjoyed moderate success as its release coincided with television’s airing of the epic miniseries “Shogun” (based on James Clavell’s novel). But in marketing Shogun Assassin within the context of more traditional samurai films, Houston and Weisman did the movie a tremendous disservice. Viewers like Vincent Canby attended the film with expectations formed from such legendary Japanese directors as Akira Kurosawa, Masaki Kobayashi, and Hiroshi Inagaki. Shogun Assassin however, is an adaptation of the manga series Lone Wolf and Cub. Thus, the film requires a different set of criteria for judgment. The movie’s unrealistic fight sequences and unlikely heroes are firmly rooted in its manga predecessor. Yet Shogun Assassin’s distributors were not interested in its artistic or cultural heritage; they were interested in turning a profit.
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1995.9.S24 S5 2005
Section 6.3 of Alain Silver’s book, The Samurai Film, entitled “The Red Slayers,” suggests that the gory content and pitiless heroes of the 1970s’ chambara films (Japanese swordplay films) act as a historical corrective of the cynical samurai films of the 1960s. These films, critical of the Romantic conception of the samurai, featured self-sacrificing heroes who championed humanity and subverted violence to question popularized notions of “samurai honor.” While the protagonist of the 1970s chambara film also rejected “samurai honor,” he “manifests his or her rejection of those false standards not merely with words but with actions” (Silver, 221).
Silver also documents the increased self-interest of the 1970’s filmic samurai. His denunciation of the samurai code transcends the typically griped about tenants of fealty until death and honor at all costs. This “new hero” denies humanitarian values in favor of his own advancement or survival (Silver, 221). Samurai betray other samurai to further their careers (Furin kazan) and warriors rob from peasants with a disregard for civic duty. The section culminates with Silver’s ruminations on Itto Ogami, the central character of Shogun Assassin and the Lone Wolf and Cub series. For Silver, Ogami is the paradigm “new hero.” He is a ruthless killer driven by his instinct to survive. He cannot afford to lay down his weapon, “because he is locked into a time where to do so is to perish” (Silver, 223). Silver also provides some examples from the Lone Wolf and Cub saga to illustrate Ogami’s skepticism about the “way of the samurai.”
By including Lone Wolf and Cub (and transitively Shogun Assassin) in his evaluation of 1970s chambara films, Silver grants the film does provide historical insight. The section implies the film’s director, Kenji Misumi, attempted to define the true objectives of the samurai: money, social status, and survival. He accepts Lone Wolf and Cub as a new revision of a historical icon.
This is a somewhat informative essay, particularly if one is interested in the production and distribution of anime films, but the argument it makes is an exceptionally simple one (although it dons the clothes of profundity). Cubbison’s essay basically wants to say that form effects content, and that now consumers are allowed to dictate (to a certain, very limited extent) form. She also adds that the form consumers desire is based on an idea of authenticity, but this aspect of the essay is only explored through the relation of a few contrasting anecdotes and resulting in the conclusion: nobody is really certain what an authentic text is but there are lots of opinions about what it may be. To get back to form, content, and consumers, though, one must admit that her argument is not a very novel or complex one. Form and content have always been interrelated, and have always been seen to mutually affect one another. Cubbison’s argument that anime fans have some control over the form (or work) of the anime VHS or DVDs they buy is interesting, but as she herself admits, the debate over what form the work takes is moot at this point since DVDs are now able to provide dubbed and subtitled, original and edited versions of any given work (whereas before VHS had to make formal judgments that often upset fans). DVDs have rendered the debate amongst fans about the most authentic form an anime work can take irrelevant because they can now offer every potential “authentic text.” Anyway, this essay is an interesting look at the way that anime fans have been involved with the distribution of anime films historically, and how these debates have been waged over “authentic” anime texts, but as you will find if you read this essay the tensions and squabbles surrounding the distribution of anime films has been squelched by the capacity of DVDs to provide all possible “authentic texts.” So, for a historical glimpse of the debates about form amongst anime fans definitely read this article, but beyond this the essay is little more than a rehashing of a now dead debate.
In 2002, American website Anime Tourist conducted a convention interview with two of the founding members of the respected Japanese anime production company Gainax, Hiroyuki Yamaga and Takami Akai. The two discuss their current and upcoming projects at Gainax, provided some details on their past at the company, as well as explaining some of the themes and such of their more famous works. Finally they speak on American localization of their works and American fandom.
An audience member asks the creators for their opinion on the music videos made from their work by American fans. Akai seems not to have been aware of them (the translation perhaps makes it a bit confusing), but Yamaga appreciates the fan-made works. He discusses the often-pointed-to model of manga and anime creators getting their start in the industry by writing and drawing dojinshi, or unlicensed fan comics based on copyrighted properties: "as Gainax, they got their start doing similar stuff so it's very hard for them to say, ‘No, We won't allow that.'" As a company, they have to plead ignorance that such fan material exists or else even Japanese copyright law would dictate that they shut infringers down. He points to the line between fan/hobbyist and professional as the deciding factor in whether or not infringing work is worth going after legally; in the Japanese manga business, the line is extremely blurred as young artists very often earn their stripes and build their skill on dojinshi before tackling original projects of their own. Japanese creators such as these may not be aware of the American arm of fan's use of their characters and work, but they are used to letting such forms of use slide within their Japanese fan culture.
Lessig writes about the recent development of a record company, Wind-Up Records, requesting AnimeMusicVideos.org (perhaps the largest online collection of anime music videos and "AMV" artists) to remove all links to music videos containing music by their artists. These artists included Evanescence and Creed, bands popular among fans and with a large number of music videos on the site, roughly 3,000. He points to the AMV movement as a sign of the growing read-write culture allowed by the internet and computers that new generations are increasingly participating in. Where content owners try to enforce a "Read-Only" environment where viewers/users can look, but not touch, Lessig advocates the development of creativity and benefits thereof for those (often young) fans who take it upon themselves to add to the artistic tableau of a medium. He even relates a personal anecdote about his son, in which the only way he was accepted to a prominent university was by showing them the AMVs he had made as an example of his artistic talent. Lessig sees the struggle between copyright holders and young, artistically motivated fans as the new battle to be fought, and one in which it should be easy to see which side is in the right. Of course, according to current US copyright law (backed by copyright holding corporations) such employment of "Read-Write" culture is illegal. The internet, however, has afforded both an opportunity to put such artistic expression on easy display and an at least temporary hurdle for content owners to leap in order to stomp down on "unfair" uses due to its expanse and level of anonymity.
Hatcher examines the workings of the American anime industry, paying the most attention to the history and physical process of fansubbing. Fansubbing is the process by which fans take Japanese anime (taped from broadcast television or DVD/home video), translate it and edit the video to include their own subtitles. Fansubs used to be distributed on VHS either in stores or among fan clubs, but are now almost exclusively found online. Hatcher suggests that the anime industry, though it has unquestionably benefited from fansubbing and other forms of high-level fan involvement, is now "held hostage by the internet and their otaku-consumers." By now professional licensing and localization companies can do much of their own advertising and market research due to the growth and age of the domestic marketplace; yet such companies know that to crack down on the core loyal fans will almost certainly result in a huge backlash from those on whom they rely most. In contrast to common internet "pirates," fansubbing groups commit infringing acts in the open (as publicized on websites or individual named in credits attached to their work) and are confident in the moral high ground of their actions (if a work is not yet licensed in America, it is seen as "perfectly legal" to make it available in fansubbed form, for example-despite international copyright laws); the common conception of "anime fair use" makes many technically illegal uses practically immune to legal retaliation
The almost forced acceptance of the fan use of anime in America, in order to maintain loyalty and relevancy among fanbase, makes anime music videos relatively easy to allow for domestic copyright holders. A lawsuit that attacks a now established tradition within the community would alienate much of a company's fanbase, driving them to other sources-including illegal ones if nothing else is available. Given the companies' general tolerance of (or lack of legal action against) the availability of full episodes or movies online, music videos are a much easier sell as "advertisements" for their products as opposed to replacements or illegal derivative works. And given the industry's heavy stake in the convention scene, it is clear that the community aspect of anime fandom must be maintained and courted in order to stay viable.
Leonard's paper on American fans' use and distribution of anime goes into great depth on the legal issues raised, and often ignored, in regards to copyrighted works. The original Japanese copyright holders spurred on American fan-imports and fansubs by "abandoning" the market early on; in this way it was law-breaking American fans, clubs and conventions that created almost single-handedly what is now a visible and profitable market for the Japanese owners and the American licensors. Currently, though the Japanese owners do finally play in the American marketplace, they are nearly as willfully ignorant (in practice) of fan infringement than they were when America was still written off as an impossible market. But while first this ignorance was a result of their not thinking any American infringement could possibly hinder them financially, reasons for this now include the historical and continued support and "free publicity" for anime that American fans would not be so willing to embrace legitimately had it not gained buzz from prior illegal distribution among fan networks. Yet Leonard outlines all of the various ways that obtaining, translating, distributing and showing fansubs break any number of American and international copyright laws. Though fans often cite fair use as a defense for their actions (though a case has never been brought to court), Leonard dismisses all of the potential factors that would constitute fair use save for the "purpose and character" in the commerciality of fansubbing; in this case, fans often do their work for no profit and as a courtesy to fellow fans. In every other sense, their use is wholly unfair.
Here we see the rough legal guidelines that both Japanese and American anime copyright holders tend to adhere to when dealing with fans. In general, fan's use of anime is forgiven and often ignored, unless it exists in direct competition with legitimate localized releases. Anime Music Videos (not mentioned by Leonard) are another, altogether less potentially dangerous (than importing and fansubbing) form of "free advertising" for anime and of strengthening the fan networks that built and maintain the American anime audience. Again, Japanese copyright holders are shown to display a willful ignorance of American fans use for the most part.
Mehra explores the disconnect between Japanese (and American) written law and the tolerated success of dojinshi, a growing industry that could even be seen as direct competition for its copyright-holding cousin manga. Part of this issue is explained by the differences in which America and Japanese copyright law (especially that concerning character copyrights), though very similar on paper, are interpreted by courts and the common man. The few key differences include affording authors moral rights (Mehra points to the Konami case mentioned above as an example, given their ability to control how their characters are portrayed) and lacking a "generalized fair use provision." Mehra discusses the various reasons manga artists and copyright holders generally do not prosecute dojinshi artists; such reasons could include the social norms among artists where the good of the industry (in recruiting new talent, filling a niche unfillable by traditional manga, or catering to all its audience's favor) as a whole is placed before individual needs and the lower profitability of Japanese litigation (not to mention the average dojinshi author's common lack of real funds). Taking the dojinshi model, Mehra claims that "in some contexts, a certain level of fair use may help generate an economically efficient level of collective action;" in other words, allowing some level of infringement can foster a stronger and more creative artistic industry.
The reaction of the Japanese manga artist is examined here in relation to artifacts of fan culture. As manga and anime have penetrated foreign markets, it has brought some of that mindset with it, particularly to America. To begin with it sprang from fans' proactivity creating the American market itself, but the Japanese fan mindset has only been strengthened by the original authors' willful ignorance, and in some cases support, of classically infringing fan works. Despite the differences in American and Japanese case law concerning character copyrights, Japanese characters remain for the most part fair game for dojinshi, music videos, and the like on either side of the Pacific.