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A veteran TL suggests a Kickstarter to fund a fan translation

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http://tenka.seiha.org/2013/04/of-projects-proposals-and-piracy/

Basically Aroduc who is the translator for numerous titles, he wants to do a kickstarter to fund his activity.

Obviously this takes the leap from non-commercial over to commercial. (although not the same as selling copies)

I had always left it as an assumption that Kickstarter doesn’t allow copyright infringing projects to proceed, period. But apparently if it is obscure enough, the KS staff may simply let it pass undetected!

So the idea is to put up a kickstarter, collect pledges, then try to complete the project in the hopes that the parent company doesnt send take-downs

Quoting Aroduc:

"I decided to drop the devs a line about it, link to the KS, some sample work, etc. Mostly expecting mostly to be ignored, mind you. To my surprise, I got back a response quite fast saying that they had no interest in selling their games in the west because of piracy, what I was doing would promote piracy, and that if I wanted to play their games, I should move to Japan. Somewhat daunted, I talked to a connection I have with MangaGamer to see if a full-on real release et al could persuade them to let me throw money at them, but they got the same answer as me.

So that’s a tad bit disheartening. Apparently so long as piracy exists, they’re uninterested in even discussing any kind of localization, but at the same time, a stern admonition that I’m promoting piracy of their half-decade-old game in a market they have no interest in selling their product to lacks the same kind of oomph as certain other things might. Not to mention that they’ve known about the KS for going on a few weeks now and have demonstrated little more than apathy toward it otherwise (or to most other games of theirs that have been translated). Which isn’t the same as a yea, but is delectably different from a cease and desist." - Aroduc

Quoting myself:

"he is literally buying a license with the pledged money to produce an english patch. So on the Japanese side of the deal, the monetization is through the license for allowing the creation/distributing of a patch, not through the selling of copies. and Aroduc is not selling copies (for he is not). So if u are not monetizing through printing copies, and u monetize through selling Aroduc’s labour, piracy doesnt even come into the equation.

…unless it does.

Because.

Because piracy piracy piracy piracy PIRACY!!"

Btw Aroduc has translated a number of titles already, http://vntls.tindabox.net/staff/aroduc

Just to frame the moral debate properly, copyright is monopoly.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/11/congress-shouldnt-debate-copyright-reality-free-zone

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly (Ctrl + F, then type "copyright")

(note: target game is unknown).

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"I decided to drop the devs a line about it, link to the KS, some sample work, etc. Mostly expecting mostly to be ignored, mind you. To my surprise, I got back a response quite fast saying that they had no interest in selling their games in the west because of piracy, what I was doing would promote piracy, and that if I wanted to play their games, I should move to Japan.

Oh, Japan, come on...

Well, apathy is better than a C&D, but that's kinda disheartening to see that kind of stubborn reaction...

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I wonder if the people he is talking with are actually the developers or someone responsible for the game or just some random PR guy they have.

Because this stupidity is too much now.

I imagine the conversation like this

Aroduc: "Here, have some free money for nothing"

Company: "NO THX, there are pirates on the western seas"

Aroduc: "And they are willing to give you money from their bounties~"

Company: "Filthy western stolen pirate money!"

Aroduc: "Actually they have to work for it for even 10 times lower wages than minimum in JP"

Company: "Then they should move to Japan"

really not sure if they just know nothing about how the rest of the world works and how hard is moving to and being allowed to work in different country is or just troll...

futuramafry.jpg

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I wonder if the people he is talking with are actually the developers or someone responsible for the game or just some random PR guy they have.

Because this stupidity is too much now.

I imagine the conversation like this

Aroduc: "Here, have some free money for nothing"

Company: "NO THX, there are pirates on the western seas"

Aroduc: "And they are willing to give you money from their bounties~"

Company: "Filthy western stolen pirate money!"

Aroduc: "Actually they have to work for it for even 10 times lower wages than minimum in JP"

Company: "Then they should move to Japan"

really not sure if they just know nothing about how the rest of the world works and how hard is moving to and being allowed to work in different country is or just troll...

Not+sure+if+dumbass+_c4faf91d8d97c31541b5712b7107f727.jpg

The bigger problem I have with the statement is this... He's wanting to give them money and help spread the world. The alternative is, you get underground translating groups, so people then download the game for free.

Piracy will happen either way, why not tap the market and get some free money? Its not like he was like... oh I demand you set up your own translation group. He's like, I'm doing all the work and I'll feed you some commission off it, all I ask if that you can give me the thumbs up.

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I added my thoughts.

The success of this project hinges entirely on a C&D. I think the argument that “the company hasn’t C&D’d anyone til now, so they’re unlikely to do so now” is not a good one. The game changes as soon as money is involved. As TinFoil pointed out, if the project gets C&D’d you could have a mess on your hands–you have peoples’ money and the threat of a lawsuit if you go forward with the project. You have two choices at that point: pocket the money and earn fan outrage, or finish the game and potentially face legal consequences. Either way, you’re setting yourself up for grief.

You could mitigate this somewhat by making the risks involved clear to potential funders: if the project gets C&D’d, they’d have to be satisfied with another random project of your choosing that you’d work on in secret (or something to this effect). Bonuses promised for reaching funding goals would also potentially be forfeited. This would probably scare some people away, but at least you’d have your bases covered.

This is a risky undertaking for Aroduc. Dark Translations basically attempted the same thing, but lower profile, and the guy eventually got shot down.

I have no problem funding this personally, as Aroduc tried really hard to do this legitimately first. For once, I agree with Aaeru; I don't respect copyright when it's used to obstruct progress. If the company just plans to hoard the license, then their wishes are no longer relevant to me.

Does anyone know what company / game we're talking about?

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Anyone understand Japan well enough to understand why they deal business like this?

They have a free-market model, so you'd think they'd be open to new places to develop.

I hear that they are extremely nationalist, but I haven't really been getting that vibe from the VNs/animes i've read/seen. Maybe the TL eliminated it?

Are the Japanese taught in school that dealing with outsiders is bad or something?

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Anyone understand Japan well enough to understand why they deal business like this?

They have a free-market model, so you'd think they'd be open to new places to develop.

I hear that they are extremely nationalist, but I haven't really been getting that vibe from the VNs/animes i've read/seen. Maybe the TL eliminated it?

Are the Japanese taught in school that dealing with outsiders is bad or something?

Well from what I said somewhere already, Japanese has actually been very nice to me in informal situations (chats on internet, twitter, games etc) and the one girl I talked a lot about VNs felt proud that I can enjoy them too.

True that I have never dealt with anyone in formal situation and I know they have very different approach to work and all that.

I can often see this hostile approach from Japanese companies though. Just look how much we had to beg to get Dark Souls on PC, because they were always saying that its not worth it, it will get pirated to hell. And now we have Dark Souls 2 being developed primarily for PC and then downscaled to consoles. They thought that everyone on PC in west is pirate - well we've proven them wrong with big sales for PC version.

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Well from what I said somewhere already, Japanese has actually been very nice to me in informal situations (chats on internet, twitter, games etc) and the one girl I talked a lot about VNs felt proud that I can enjoy them too.

True that I have never dealt with anyone in formal situation and I know they have very different approach to work and all that.

I can often see this hostile approach from Japanese companies though. Just look how much we had to beg to get Dark Souls on PC, because they were always saying that its not worth it, it will get pirated to hell. And now we have Dark Souls 2 being developed primarily for PC and then downscaled to consoles. They thought that everyone on PC in west is pirate - well we've proven them wrong with big sales for PC version.

This is why I think there's some sort of outside influence we are not aware of. (American companies saying stay off our turf?)

I'm not actually involved in the industry, so I may not realize how big of an issue piracy is, but I've always felt that piracy was an excuse for someone to not do something/release something. They must have some prior motivation to not do so in the first place.

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Viewing this as as a manifestation of xenophobia is a somewhat paranoid interpretation. However, the in-group / out-group paradigm in Japanese business culture is pretty well established. The adage "It's not what you know, it's who's you know" is especially true in Japanese business. The difficulty in negotiating licenses with Japanese eroge developers is probably partly due to this paradigm. As a foreigner, you by definition are in the "out-group"; but you could be Japanese and still be in the out-group as well.

Also a problem is the West's reputation as a bastion of piracy. In a culture so fixated on politeness and respect for others, I imagine piracy is an even bigger affront to developers than it is here, inspiring business decisions that are motivated as much by emotional reaction as potential profit (similar to consumer "vengefulness" when they buy a product and feel cheated, and therefore refuse to buy any further products from that brand, even if that's the leading brand and their experience was probably a statistical fluke).

Finally, there's the issue of fear of cultural backlash. The Rapelay scandal really shook the Japanese eroge industry, and the IP blocking and C&D's that followed were an attempt to escape the critical eye of the West and maintain the status quo. Obviously working directly with Western localization groups is going the opposite direction, and opens the industry to further criticism. Since the Western market has proven to be largely unprofitable, that fear is good enough reason to stifle any expansionary impulse companies might get. No one wants to be the company that inspires the next round of criticism from the West, potentially leading to further regulation of the Japanese eroge industry.

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This is why I think there's some sort of outside influence we are not aware of. (American companies saying stay off our turf?)

I'm not actually involved in the industry, so I may not realize how big of an issue piracy is, but I've always felt that piracy was an excuse for someone to not do something/release something. They must have some prior motivation to not do so in the first place.

From what I understand about Japanese businesses, they are just paranoid, if that is the right way to put it. They really do like to work on home turf and rarely will you find some company willing to deal outside of their turf. This is especially true in the gaming industry too, a lot of titles stay local and never spread outside of Japan.

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Aroduc is one of best and most successful translators, so I would not doubt his ability to deliver. Even if worst scenario happens and project gets C&D'd, as Aroduc pointed out himself, his editors will smuggle copy to the net anyway, and I believe that Aroduc will deliver something else instead. So its quite safe bet from consumer's POV to back him on KS.

Does anyone know what company / game we're talking about?

I just hope its not Eushully. I so want Madou Koukaku to get translated, and preferrably in this century.

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but the issue is that he needs some form of payment to buffer his huge costs to his life for doing so much TLs.

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Well he can still set "donations" on his site, he already did some stuff (I didn't play any so can't judge that much) so people will be more willing to give him something.

And if the company doesn't want the money then it will at least be cheaper and all go to him.

And as mentioned, if he gets unnamed editor who will then just release the patch even after C&D, there is nothing illegal about taking donations for a blog or something and people will just be happy the game is out.

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This is really no different from what the Dark Translations guy was doing. His intentions are better, but I doubt it will end better. The success of this undertaking completely depends on the company's willingness to C&D him. If it doesn't happen this time, it'll happen next time, or the time after that. Once it happens one time, Kickstarter will blacklist him, and that'll be the end of it. You can't earn a living spitting in the face of copyright law. Not for long, anyway.

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Wow nice to see he actually did it.

Interesting that it is only for 12 days though :o But I guess if he gets the money asap, he can start and even if they decide to stop him, he can continue underground as KS will not be able to take the money away after it.

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And it got funded. Pretty quickly.

Now we can only hope some JP devs to notice it themselves and grab the free money waiting for them in the western market without any risk - using KS.

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Also, my ballpark estimate for the typical localization costs of a decent VN are ~$25,000-$50,000 (based on some numbers Mangagamer has thrown out). $2500 only covers the slave labor salary of the translation team. Even if the project succeeds, it remains to be seen whether a Kickstarter campaign could raise the necessary funds for a licensed translation.

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