Clamp Down on Animation Downloads ?

I came upon this concern after following up on a commentator in an earlier post who responded to my question regarding which group is to be targeted next in The Great Singapore Clean-Up?

Now whether or not the post below is ‘fact’ I will leave up to your discretion as you are not children and are able to discern fact from fiction. So with a pinch of salt and the thought that we are not able to read the governments mind or policies, read on…

Posted by kwok on Sunday, December 31st, 2006

A couple of days ago, I spent the afternoon with a good friend visiting Odex, because I heard they were having a ‘focus group discussion’, and nothing turns me on more than a focus group discussion. By the way, if you do not know what Odex is, Odex Pte Ltd is a company that fights animation piracy and gets genuine titles from Japan, as well as fend off frenzied attacks from robotic hunter-seeker dogs built by massively-downloading military scientists.

Odex had expected about 4-5 bodies to turn up, but the actual number came up to about 10-15, which shows that my country is very passionate about keeping their entertainment free. It also turns out that Odex was looking to engage the representatives of the various clubs for their perspective, to find out exactly what they want from Odex. Two local universities and several polytechnics were represented, but there was no one from the junior colleges (must have been too busy studying or having sex in the classrooms). It seems that many faceless members of the online community have a negative perception of Odex, because downloading is free.

The Odex people, I am pleased to say, are very agreeable for people of my homeland, and I was pleased about that. I do not see any need to post about the specifics of the little discussion (that ran up to about 3 hours), or talk about why Odex is good or bad, but here is a brief breakdown of what was talked about:

Odex will cut their prices again. Middlemen’s cut and production-distribution costs ensure that prices must stay at a minimum, however.

Odex will produce higher quality products which will look nicer than before.

Odex wants to start a membership service, targeted at students but may/will extend to anyone. It will provide some sort of exclusivity in some way that I cannot confirm, but, yeah.

Now this is interesting: The government wants to clamp down on animation downloads effective… this year. Happy New Year. The figures passed down stated that my beloved motherland has 230,000 animation downloaders. We are the top in the world by population percentage, at, uh, 5%? Canada only has 20,000 more households, and yet they have a lot more maple trees than us.

Odex underlined that this sounded like a serious effort on the part of the authorities, who are sick of catching little mama-shops selling pirated batteries. Japanese animation presents a fine opportunity to round up more bodies because there are few legalities to work with (Odex holds most of the licenses for titles in my motherland). They have spoken with the authorities, and I quote, the police have ‘techniques to handle certain things’.

On the other hand, I quote again, ‘it’s not going to look good if the students are caught’. It will not be nice if the local No. 1 tabloid has a 15-page exclusive on 16-year-olds jumping off 20-storey buildings in an attempt to shake off hardened plainclothes raiders. So Odex, in a nice way, is giving us a heads up and telling us to stay down.

Odex wants ‘community involvement’. Odex says that it’s made up of fans just like you and me, and naturally our interests are the same. But at the end of the day, they have to take in the ‘arm-twisting’ from the authorities (i like my Media Developed, Ah?), especially when it involves censorship and television broadcasts.
In the past, any show that is rejected by the censorship board will be thrown back for editing before being put up again, until it finally clears. Now, the new rule states that there is to be no cutting whatsoever. This means if something does not meet the board’s fickle requirements, it is permanently banned. It also seems that the censorship board is made up of 40/50-year-olds who want to keep decency and hygiene a big part of our lifestyles, which explains why Girls Bravo Season 2 is banned in my hometown.

Still, Odex does not want my country to end up as a ‘barren’ wasteland for animation. They want it to be a nice place for everyone. But it is difficult to even do something new and useful when they are struggling to keep the line in check. I was regaled by tales of rogue competitors who use underhand means to get their sale volumes. Odex says they are willing to listen to the local community for advice and suggestions, so that at the end of the day, they can create products that our community can be proud of.

So these are the facts; at least, the facts from my perspective. So what is my own opinion of this new development? to continue reading the article

Whether or not this is ‘fact’ is of course in the hands of the government officials. I do have to say that even if this is not fact and the government has no intentions of clamping down, there is a palpable sense of fear being generated by the previous actions of those in power, so either way the Singapore government does seem to generate a lot Registry Cleaning and Disk Defragmenting.

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About soci
Lived in Singapore for 6 wonderful years and has been blogging since 2003, under various names but always on Singaporean issues.

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