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Daizenshuu EX Removed From YouTube

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date May 13th, 2010 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

I was both anticipating (expecting, really) and dreading this day — today was the day that the “daizex” YouTube account was removed due to “copyright infringement”. What makes it so delicious is the “third strike” which resulted in the take-down:

One of our “Inconsistencies” videos.

For those who are unfamiliar with them, over at Daizenshuu EX we created a series of (so far) three videos in our “Inconsistencies” line (itself a multimedia extension of our “Filler Guide“). In conjunction with a podcast episode (where we discussed the same topic matter among several hosts), we would create a short, narrated video that showcased the differences between the original manga (comic) version of a scene from DragonBall and its later TV adaptation. In our first video, we presented a scene where one character (Vegeta) sees another character’s transformed state (SSJ Goku) in the TV version, which never actually happened that way in the manga, and what the ramifications would be from this. In our second video, we presented a scene where the villain (Freeza and Dodoria) who murders a character (Cargo) is changed when adapted to the TV version. In our third video, we presented a scene in which there is a slight change in the order of events in a scene (Piccolo pushing Goku out of the way of a blast from Freeza).

In all three videos, panning and zooming shots from the original manga version are presented with original narration. A short clip from the corresponding TV episode (with subtitles of our own creation, since we are using the original Japanese version of the show) is played. To conclude, we recap with a couple more panning and zooming screen shots from both the manga and TV versions.

They are basically nerd-erific showcases of dedicated love for the franchise. While we have not quite seen anything exactly along the lines of what we created, other examples do exist out there — our buddy MistareFusion created a great video that has fun analyzing what appears to be a very intentional nod to Star Trek in one scene from the DragonBall Z TV series:

Are we using copyrighted works “without permission”…? Sure. Does that extend to even things like using music from the TV series, in addition to showcasing an actual scene from it? Absolutely. There is no delusion here.

Is it “fair use”…? Let’s hold off for a minute on that.

The way that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) works is that if any kind of provider or host (let’s say YouTube) is notified by a rights holder (let’s say Toei Animation) that one of their works is being improperly used, stored, transmitted, etc., that provider or host must immediately remove or otherwise take down the infringing material. There is no review process until after the material is removed — if and only if the creator of said infringing material (let’s say me) chooses to file a counter-claim (in which they are saying that the material is not infringing, may actually be fair use, etc.). Basically, if you are notified to take something down… you take it down without question, or face further action. The rights holder faces no immediate repercussions for issuing take-down notices to content providers — this means they can issue take-down notices willy-nilly in blanket rollouts and hope for the best under the (safe) assumption that everything will be taken down with no argument. There is the potential for a horribly chilling effect on free speech when organizations hide behind the DMCA to remove legal commentary (for example, issuing a DMCA take-down notice on something they simply don’t like, rather than something genuinely infringing), but that is not the subject of this post, and not something I have enough familiarity with to authoritatively rant about.

YouTube works on their own personal “three strike” rule, whereby an account that receives three take-down notices from rights holders will be immediately deactivated. My main “daizex” account had received two notices of take-downs from YouTube regarding two prior videos:

  • While working on my review of Ayumi Hamasaki’s “Rule” CD single and DVD, I edited a short video clip from the music video to include on the page. Within minutes the video was removed from my account with a take-down notice from the music rights holder in Japan.
  • On April 1st of this year, we received a take-down notice on the opening theme to the video game DragonBall Z 3 (“Budokai 3″) for the PlayStation 2 (which can still be viewed here and here and here on YouTube via other users’ accounts). We subsequently removed other game-related videos from our account. This was legitimately just a case of, “We think this is cool and will post it up for folks.” There were no “education” or “review” pages associated with it.
  • This morning, we received the following e-mail:

We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from TOEI ANIMATION CO.,LTD. claiming that this material is infringing:

DBZ Filler Inconsistencies: Video #3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_Y3KQRusWY

This is the third notification we have received alleging copyright infringement in one of your postings. Consequently, your account has been terminated.

If one of your postings has been misidentified as infringing, you may submit a counter-notification. Information about this process is in our Help Center.

Please note that there may be severe legal consequences for filing a false or bad-faith notice.

Sincerely,

— The YouTube Team

Were the first two claims pretty accurate? Sure. Does that diminish the accuracy or weight of the third claim? That’s up to you to decide. Personally, I think if anything is going to be called “fair use”, it is a video like one in our “Inconsistencies” series.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) breaks down the area of fair use as such:

There are no clear-cut rules for deciding what’s fair use and there are no “automatic” classes of fair uses. Fair use is decided by a judge, on a case by case basis, after balancing the four factors listed in section 107 of the Copyright statute. The factors to be considered include:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes – Courts are more likely to find fair use where the use is for noncommercial purposes.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work — A particular use is more likely to be fair where the copied work is factual rather than creative.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole — A court will balance this factor toward a finding of fair use where the amount taken is small or insignificant in proportion to the overall work.
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work — If the court finds the newly created work is not a substitute product for the copyrighted work, it will be more likely to weigh this factor in favor of fair use.

(A-1) Was our video commercial in nature?
No. We were not enrolled in any revenue-sharing program via YouTube. We do not make any money off of Daizenshuu EX — while we do accept donations, any money received is put immediately back into the site for things like product reviews, hosting, etc. If you care to know, we’re in the hole. Always have been.

(A-2) Was our video educational in nature?
Maybe. While not a scholarly work in any way, an authoritative presentation of information could be considered “educational”. At the very least, it was “insightful”… or so we like to think ^_~.

(B) What was the nature of the copyrighted work?
Well, the copied work was creative (a fictional, animated TV series).

(C) What was the amount of copyrighted work used in relation to its larger whole?
Within our three-minute-and-sixteen-seconds video, the vast majority was original narration and still-shots from the manga and TV versions. Footage taken “verbatim” (for lack of a better phrase) plays between 0:30 and 1:26 (including fades in and out), meaning it is less than one minute in length, and less than one-third of the short video. As for an amount in “comparison” with the original product, are we comparing in relation to the one particular episode? An episode is roughly 22 minutes long. Are we comparing in relation to the entirety of the TV series? DragonBall Z is 291 episodes long, while its preceding and proceeding series have 153 and 64 episodes, respectively…

(D) What is the effect upon the potential market?
Our video is clearly not a substitute for the original product, in that we are constantly interrupting scenes with original narration and swiping them away to move onto the next point. We discuss roughly one minute or so of content from one TV episode of a long-running series. Furthermore, in this particular video we do not even discuss (never mind showcase) what is typically regarded as the most substantial and important “part” of the episode (Goku’s first SSJ transformation) — I personally think that is relevant to this fourth defense point, but you may disagree.

So where do we go from here?

I am not entirely sure. I think it is worth it to file a counter-claim with regard to this particular “Inconsistencies” video, but it is a lot of work for little value in return — which is exactly what the rights-holders are hoping for from an attitude out of those they issue take-down notices against. There is also the fact that some of the material on the channel as a whole was more legitimately “infringing”.

In the long run, though, I do not need YouTube to host these videos. I could just stream them myself on Daizenshuu EX all on my own! One of the reasons I put them up on YouTube, however, was — of course — the massive audience potential. We serve such a niche audience with our website that it can be difficult to find the right ways to reach out to and extend that audience. Our goal is simply to spread our love and enjoyment of the series (and specifically the original Japanese version of it), and a lot of fans out there just have no idea where to look for something like that. We have had plenty of new, regular visitors tell us they found us video YouTube, via our podcast listing in iTunes, via seeing us at conventions, etc. They are all great ways to reach out to that audience, so it made sense to explore that avenue.

The other side of me just wants to abandon it (YouTube being the “it”), though. We all know how ridiculous the comments are, and if we are not greatly expanding our audience there, then is it really worth it to keep producing for it? I am well aware (and have been constantly reminded), though, that the majority of people simply watch the video, smile, enjoy it, and move on with their lives. I consume media online in very much that same way. Positive feedback can be difficult to come by! While I joke that the negative feedback on the videos (from folks who generally are not our target audience to begin with) acts as a pretty huge hurdle to overcome in wanting to produce more, I recognize that plenty of folks out there actually do enjoy them and would not mind seeing more. With that in mind, I actually made a video showcasing the Bandai Playdia video game system exclusive to our Facebook page.

So. Uh. Thoughts?

(Oh yeah… curious to see that “Inconsistencies” video that resulted in the channel take-down? I tossed it up over on our Facebook page. Enjoy! We’ll see how long that lasts!)

Individual Contributions to DBZ Fandom

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Jan 14th, 2010 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

It is always fascinating when we are able to track down the actual first-time uses of certain words or phrases in DBZ fandom. Some of the things we take for granted and simply accept as commonplace were actually created by fans either for simplicity’s sake, out of ignorance, or even sometimes out of honest mis-translation.

Some of our favorite examples are things like:

  • Ultra Super Saiya-jin“, a term coined by Curtis Hoffmann back in 1993 in his summaries of the tankôbon to describe the in-between stages of SSJ that Vegeta, Trunks, and even Goku showcase after Cell has been introduced
  • Kushami“, the Japanese word for “sneeze”, also coined by Hoffmann in 1993 as a nickname for Lunch in her transformed state
  • AD” as used for years in the chronology of the series, a mis-translation of eiji or simply “Age” by Greg Werner in the late 1990s from his translation of the timeline in the seventh daizenshuu

There are other ones that we have not been able to track down the first-ever uses for. There is “Mystic Gohan” to refer to the character after his “upgrade” from the Old Kaiôshin (which goes back to at least the year 2000 in quick searches); there is the word “zenkaiincorrectly used as a proper noun to explain the power-up that a Saiya-jin receives after recovering from near-death, which appears to be an English-language-only development, possibly originating sometime in the early-to-mid-2000s; there is “base” that gets used to refer to the “normal” (tsûjô in Japanese), non-SSJ forms of characters, which appears to have become common-place in the English-speaking fandom during the PS2 video game revival for the franchise.

It really gets funny when people cross the line into delusional territory, though. A commenter on our third “Inconsistencies” video posted and asked why the video was receiving bad comments. When another commenter was challenged on their response of it being from “some guy [who] is being critical and nitpicking when he himself has made no creative contribution to this world”, they followed up and justified their existence and contributions to fandom with:

Well if you really need to know, I’m the first person to use the word “canon” in reference to continuity. That was on the Pojo forums way back in maybe 2002. You won’t find any record of that word being used in that context previous to that time either. So, yeah it’s more of a contribution to a subculture in general and not specifically to DBZ, even tho it was on a DBZ forum.
I’ll add that it was a more or less original contribution and not simply a commentary on a finished work.

Yes. You read that right. This individual honestly believes that they invented the term “canon” as it relates to continuity in a work, fictional or otherwise (or, giving them the biggest benefit of the doubt that I can, perhaps just DragonBall). Either that, or they at least have a hilarious (if not obnoxious) sense of humor about themselves.

The word “canon” shows up at least two years prior on alt.fan.dragonball (and probably much earlier if you are willing to dig). This person’s claim is essentially dead-on-arrival from the very beginning.

The word itself goes back thousands of years with this very same definition, so they certainly can’t take the claim in that respect. As far as I know (and I hardly claim to be an expert), the term originated with the Bible and what the church deemed to be the “true” and “correct” stories to include in their official version. The word and its associated phrases (“Such and such is canonical…”) have been floating around with not just anime, but all types of fiction for decades. I know little-to-nothing about Star Wars, but I know there are just as many heightened-emotion arguments about what is canonical with its expanded universe as there are with our own ridiculous arguments relating to DragonBall GT and the movies and the guide books and the international translations and so on and so forth.

That someone honestly believes that they were the first person to use the word “canon” as it relates to DragonBall… and did so only in 2002… and relays this information with the tone they did, propping their “original contribution” above something that is “simply a commentary on a finished work”…

I mean, it goes beyond delusional at that point, right…?

YouTube Comment Hilarity: Vegeta’s Eyes Are Burns

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Oct 16th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

Don’t you hate it when you think you’re so darn clever and hilarious that you just have to share it? And it’s not actually that funny to anyone but yourself? This is one of those moments. Forgive me.

So a while back, I captured a commercial for DragonBall GT eyedrops off of a raw VHS tape from many years back (“many years back” being… ya’ know… 1997). I threw it up on YouTube, of course.

I lost it when I read this comment:

youtube_vegeta_comment

I couldn’t help myself. A couple seconds in Photoshop resulted in:

vegeta_eyes_burn

Shocking Realization About DBZ Questions We Get Asked

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Sep 24th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

I feel incredibly stupid. It just dawned on me.

We get tons of questions from people asking something along the lines of, “What was said in the Japanese version where/when [insert event here]…?” Sometimes they will phrase it just like that, but other times it will be preceded by, “I was watching my orange bricks…” or “I was watching my DVDs…“. I joked about it on the podcast recently, but the person could have saved themselves a week’s worth of time by simply switching over to the Japanese audio track on their DVD and finding out for themselves. I mean, it’s right there. It’s subtitled. It’s accurate.

That’s when I realized something.

These people are lying to us. They don’t own the DVDs. They’re watching the episodes online. They say they’re watching the “orange bricks” or “DVDs”, but what they really mean is that they’re watching someone’s encodes of those episodes online (usually on YouTube), and they’re dub-only, of course.

I like to think that we’re past the point of fans not even realizing that the Japanese track is on the discs, so this is my only logical conclusion.

vagettoEx is banned

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Aug 22nd, 2009 | filed Filed under: Nothing In Particular

I was browsing through some YouTube comments again (I know, I know…), and noticed my video “Never Fall Apart” also uploaded on someone else’s account. I can’t really stop that, and don’t particularly care, either… but I was curious about the comments it might have, so I clicked through. For the most part, they’re the usual “I love it!” or “I can’t find this song on Limewire please send it to me for free because I’m an entitled little nitwit!“, but something stuck out to me even more than that:

vagettoex_banned

It’s such a shame. I share no pleasure in detailing the news that vagettoEx is banned. I don’t exactly know who he is or why he’s banned from whatever he’s banned from, though. Just figured I’d pass along the word.

People Hear What They Want To Hear

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Mar 16th, 2009 | filed Filed under: DragonBall

I came across the following video on YouTube the other day while going through the referrals for website traffic on Daizenshuu EX. The description is basically nothing more than a link to my site, and the title certainly caught my attention (“TRUE DRAGONBALL FANS WOULD GO SEE DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION”), so I figured I was in for a doozy.

While I don’t think MadThad0890 quite explained what he was trying to say all that well, I think he’s fighting the good fight in one respect, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the live-action movie.

Enough with this “not a true fan” nonsense.

While I have zero interest in FUNimation’s English dub of the series, I do not see this upcoming live-action movie as becoming a huge part of my extended fandom, and (insert a whole bunch of other things here), like MadThad says, that doesn’t make me or anyone else “less” of a fan. We’re all on equal ground. We’re all a bunch of people on the internet getting together and talking about a series that, quite frankly, next to zero of us have had or ever will have any stake in its production or even its further success. We gain nothing from it even existing, beyond perhaps our own continued friendships and camaraderie.

I may have been running my site for well over a decade (including the podcast portion for over three years), but that does not make me any “better” or “more” of a fan than FUNimation’s self-described nine-year-old born every day that pops in an edited, dubbed-only DVD to watch Broli smash up some folks. It certainly makes me a different kind of fan, and I don’t see myself being able to hold a sustained conversation with said nine-year-old, but I’d argue that his (or her!) excitement in watching a crappy action scene in one of my least-favorite animated DBZ movies genuinely rivals my own excitement when, say, a new $200 music boxset is announced.

You’re probably wondering what the title of this post has to do with anything, though. That’s a great question, so let me explain.

I think MadThad is trying to justify his own position by using us as “evidence” without actually understanding our “position” (if we even have one), and is basically reading and hearing what he wants to read and hear.

They don’t support the movie at all. At all.

Now that’s just not true. Especially when you listen to my review of the “Junior Novel” and Julian’s review of the movie on Episode #0168 of the podcast, you will hear that while we think of it as an entirely separate entity… and quite an absurdly ludicrous one, at that… I wouldn’t really call that not “supporting” the movie “at all”. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I would love for there to be a live-action DB movie that is done fantastically, respects the source material, takes its own necessary liberties, introduces the franchise to a whole new audience, etc. Unfortunately, it sounds like Evolution is not going to be that movie, so while I support it in theory, now that I think about it, maybe MadThad actually is correct in saying we don’t support this movie.

But if I recommend going to see it just for the sake of seeing how much of a spectacular disaster it is, is that considered “supporting” it? It sounds like it’s nowhere near the level of The Legend of Chun-Li in its terrible-just-terrible state, with Evolution being more along the lines of having fun with how terrible it is.

You know what? Just like in the first podcast episode of WTF EX when Jeff and I couldn’t come to a conclusion after an hour-long discussion, I think the process of writing out this blog entry has thoroughly confused me… and I’m the subject of debate, here!

Long story short, as I’ve noted over on our message board, I think what the DB web community has always needed, continues to need, and will always need… is exactly what shônen is all about: we need friendship and understanding in an open forum. I’ve been around long enough to see every single name in the book thrown around, every half-thought-out argument tossed in as evidence or proof, and thousands of fans come and go. If we’re going to make it another 25 years, we’ve gotta stop telling each other who’s the bigger fan…

… because if you’re the one saying that, there’s a good chance you won’t be sticking around with us. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Lack Of (Modern) Literacy On YouTube

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Feb 12th, 2009 | filed Filed under: Nothing In Particular

The title should come as absolutely no surprise, but I’ve rofled enough to myself in the last couple of minutes that I figured I would share these with you. No, this is not a follow-up to my viewpoints on my own feedback/responses/criticism on YouTube, so don’t worry that I’m bombarding you with more of that nonsense.

YouTube has a post up on their own blog talking about devices and services that enable a consumer to view YouTube directly on their television. Makes sense, right? I mean, we know about Microsoft’s partnership with Netflix to get that service on the 360, and PS3 owners have no doubt seen the YouTube link right when they launch their browser. There are plenty of other set-top boxes and new televisions coming out with integrated services like these, as well. For those of us that live the modern, technology-based lifestyle, none of this requires any explanation.

Remember that the majority of the world doesn’t think the same way we do, though. Plenty of people are quick to point out that you can also hook up a computer to an HDTV, but most appear to be completely clueless. These two quotes stuck out to me (from what I could stand reading through):

great stuuf what is the channel number in the unite kingdom

… and…

what the number of the channel it’s gonna be on? will it work on cable

What I think this really proves is that general consumers still think of “TV” as meaning “a channel I flip to”. It’s easy for us to make fun of or at least chuckle at these types of responses, but for those of us trying to reach new audiences (ones that still don’t understand what it is we’re doing), seeing these types of comments is incredibly frustrating.

YouTube Comments & Their Irrelevance

author Posted by: VegettoEX on date Jan 13th, 2009 | filed Filed under: Nothing In Particular

Something I’ve hinted at and plan on doing a podcast on at some point in the future here at WTF EX is concerning the usage, implementation, and overall general idea of “comments”. I’ll save the nitty-gritty for whenever I get around to recording that episode with whomever happens to be on the show (as per the promise of “no set schedule and no set guests”), but I will share one comment that just came in today. First you’ll need a little background, though.

We have a brief series of original video clips over on Daizenshuu EX called “Inconsistencies” (which are placed on our site and also our YouTube channel). They explore changes between the original manga and TV adaptation of the DragonBall series in what we consider to be a fun and visually-interesting way. For a little side-project website, I’d say they’re pretty darn well-produced. We don’t have slick graphics and animated intros like stuff on Game Trailers, but we’ve got motion blur and decent audio!

Ever since the first (of three) clips went live, the overwhelming response has been that of FUNimation English dub fans who take extraordinary issue with someone speaking English and not only referencing terms and names from the original Japanese version, but also showing said Japanese version. General assumed intelligence level pre-conceptions of a FUNimation English dub fan who can still manage to type properly aside, these comments showcase what I feel is a huge problem with the safe anonymity of the interwebz, and especially mass-consumption social networks like YouTube. There is zero accountability, zero sense of self, and zero sense of community (shockingly opposite of what these sites attempt to create: community). I wish I could say it’s just children being children, but it’s terribly far from the truth. It’s difficult to analyze the situation without full knowledge of just who these people are, but I have to imagine it would be naive to assume they are all uneducated, bored, neglected children.

John C. Dvorak has written some interesting things regarding the value online comments, and a conversation between Leo Laporte and Amber McCarther on an episode of the net@night podcast (forgive me for not having the exact episode) placed YouTube comments at the absolute bottom of the totem poll, with absolutely zero value to society. So how about this example? Let’s take a look at it, and give the commenter the unfortunate satisfaction of attention.

Wow. You said Genki-Dama and showed subtitles. You’re a fucking Japanophile. It’s called Spirit Bomb. Stop thinking you’re cool by using Japanese terms. You’re not cool, you’re not elite, you’re just an idiot. DBZ in Japanese sucks. Everyone is voiced by the same 60-year-old constipated woman and the music is way too cheerful and mono quality. Seriously, this video made me sick because of how elite you think you are by saying Goku-sama and stuff. Fucking loser.

FALLACY: The translation of “Genki-Dama” is not “Spirit Bomb”, making the FUNimation term inaccurate. This person simply prefers that name, and therefore claims the original is somehow wrong.

TRUTH: I’m an idiot. Then again, we’re all foolish at some point or another. The verdict’s out on whether or not I’m retarded, though.

FALLACY: Not everyone is voiced by “the same 60-year-old constipated woman”. Notable American voice actor Chris Sabat provides more roles to his company’s production of the DragonBall series than any single Japanese voice actor in their own original production of the show. What they’re really trying to say? “lolz you like the gay goku voice“.

TRUTH: The music is indeed mono. Then again, the show started in 1986.

FALLACY: No-one said “Goku-sama”. They simply ran out of insults at this point and wanted to wrap it up.

I won’t lie; these types of comments do wear down on you after a while. I don’t know the exact phrase or who to attribute it to, but you have to consider that if you don’t think you’re crazy, but everyone around you is telling you that you’re insane, you should really take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. In this case, is the overwhelming negative response from these YouTube commenters the “correct” opinion? Or is it, as I’ve always held to be the case, just a bunch of childish, near-sociopaths flapping their mouths online where they can’t be smacked upside the head? I’ve never had anything more than a single, friendly disagreement at any convention I’ve ever been to before, and since I know these types of people are out there, that just leads me to believe that (a) I haven’t had the chance to be in the same room as them, or (b) they don’t have the balls to say this stuff in real life. Sure, it’s the typical “elitist” standpoint to take, assuming that these “commoners” are somehow “beneath” you… but is there any validity to it?

Furthermore, how do we overhaul the comment system to make it worthwhile? If we do so, don’t we just make it geared towards what we want to hear, rather than what the possible majority actually have to say? I guess those questions will have to be further discussed in whatever and whenever podcast we do!

Part of me wants to invite these people onto a show just to genuinely hear why they think this way and what the basis is for their points, but then the elitist side of me jumps in and just assumes they’re children that wouldn’t be able to hold a professional discussion without nervously squawking their way through, hanging up, or otherwise being useless.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not looking for validation or support. I’ve been doing this stuff online for over ten years, and have a thick-enough skin that I can move on with my life. Just felt like sharing those thoughts, and on a place with a small-enough readership that I don’t expect that validation :P.