Have you ever felt guilty while streaming anime on illegal sites? Maybe it just feels wrong to you for not supporting the creators. Well, we all have pirated anime at some point, and maybe, it’s not that bad. Maybe, we all should just pirate anime.
Piracy is not an ethical approach, but sometimes, there is no other option because not everyone can afford to subscribe to all the streaming services.
Some anime aren’t even available anywhere outside Japan so, even if you have subscribed to all anime streaming sites, you won’t get every single anime, but those seemingly malicious streaming sites seem to have it all.
The streaming services market has increased exponentially, and millions of people worldwide pay these companies for providing them with mediocre products. The reason they are mediocre is simply that there is no innovation.
The only way these companies compete is through buying exclusive licenses to popular anime, and the one with the hottest seasonal anime wins.
If a large number of people stop their subscriptions and start to pirate, streaming companies will have no other option other than introducing new useful features to their service.
This will bring back old customers and attract a large majority of ex-pirates to their product.
However, for now, we can only rebel by not subscribing to their average yet expensive streaming services.
1. What Is Piracy and Why It Is Illegal
Piracy, simply put, is the unauthorized use or copying of someone else’s work.
Pirate (anime) streaming sites are those sites that do not have a license to broadcast a particular anime.
Without getting into too many technicalities, these sites either stream anime on different video serves by directing anime from an existing streaming site or upload leaked files on their service that can be easily accessed.
It is pretty apparent why piracy is illegal. Basically, the production of anime takes time and money. Everyone who has worked in the production of the show gets a payment from that show’s sales.
Hence, every single show is protected by the copyright law that prevents it from being copied or reproduced, or illegally distributed.
2. How Streaming Services Provide Anime Content
To stream anime legally on their sites, companies like Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Netflix purchase the license of a particular anime from their original studio.
If the original studio no longer has the rights to that anime, then you’d have to contact someone who does own the anime.
After that, they bargain and agree to a price. The company has to pay a minimum amount to the studio, and a portion of their subscriber’s payment to the studio depending on the views a particular anime had received.
3. Why Should You Pirate Anime?
The past years have witnessed a tremendous amount of growth in the anime streaming community, but this is because the anime community has exponentially increased.
There is no reason other than a moral obligation to actually pay for a streaming service. If the service you’re subscribed to does not have an anime that you want to watch, you will have to pirate it anyway.
Let’s break down the reasons why piracy has become a necessary evil.
I. Exclusive Licensing and Competition
When a company buys an exclusive license to an anime, you cannot watch that particular anime other than on the specific company’s streaming site.
For example, Netflix has bought the exclusive license of Kakegurui. So, you cannot watch anywhere else legally.
You cannot have a variant of Kakegurui on Crunchyroll because it doesn’t exist! Sadly, this is the kind of competition most legal and popular streaming platforms are indulging in.
This is a huge problem.
Exclusive licensing is like buying a phone that only lets you make a call but doesn’t tell you what day or time it is because some other phone company bought the right to show the date and time so no one else cannot do it.
You’ll have to buy 2 smartphones with different services that could be easily included in one phone.
This is not how competition should work! This is not even fair competition because you’re buying two separate products.
It doesn’t make sense and is the main reason why many people choose pirate sites over the legal ones.
They have all the features found in legal sites, and sometimes, they provide even options like downloading the episode straight to your device, which is a premium feature on most legal sites.
If huge companies really cared about the anime industry, they would sign a pact and not buy exclusives in the first place.
II. Lack of Innovation
There are no innovative things done by the streaming services that would make them stand out. Every site offers the same video resolution, the same algorithm that would recommend anime to you, the same categories, and so on.
You can argue that pirate sites have tons of ads, and malicious viruses are encrypted in those ads, but a strong ad blocker can easily eliminate those ads.
Besides, would you rather click on four tiny crosses to close a few ads and get every single anime that you want to watch or pay $10 per month for a service that doesn’t even give you the product you want?
To illustrate the importance of innovation and the inclusion of new ideas and features, I will compare Crunchyroll’s features, the biggest anime streaming site, and an unnamed pirate site.
i. Release Calendar
The calendar shows you the release date of shows available on the site. It also shows you the time at which the particular episode would get aired.
Although there is a little glitch in the pirate site, it does the job of providing an accurate schedule just like Crunchyroll.
Crunchyroll does not offer any filters, but it does divide anime into categories, and you can browse the list alphabetically, seasonal (up till 2009), and genre-wise.
The pirate site, on the other hand, offers genre, seasonal (up till 1910), country-wise, type (TV series, OVAs, Specials, etc.), status (completed, ongoing), and language (subbed, dubbed) filters, which is so much more than the features on Crunchyroll.
The pirate site is also linked to a discord server where people can share the same interest. It also has top anime of day, week, and month and a separate section for new releases only.
When a pirate can provide so many features, why can’t sites like Crunchyroll?
In the year 2017, Crunchyroll faced a video quality issue, and a poll was created, asking anime viewers whether they had unsubscribed to the service or not.
Out of the 12,716 people who have participated in the vote to date, 58% did not have a subscription in the first place. Yes, they could use some other streaming site but, Crunchyroll is the go-to site for anime.
3. Some Innovative Ideas
There are things that only official legal sites can do to improve their services. I’m going to use Crunchyroll to represent legal sites. Here’s a quick list!
- Crunchyroll could tie-up with My Anime List, and after completing an episode, it would automatically update the user’s MAL page.
- Crunchyroll could let users bookmark their favorite moments from an episode and store them separately in the ‘my favorites’ tab with the episode and the timestamp.
- There could be a top-openings list where the algorithm automatically detects which anime opening has been skipped the least and rank them.
There are just so many ideas and innovations that could make the consumers happy and bring a change in the otherwise stagnant streaming market.
The main motive of this article was to put forth points that could potentially change how anime is distributed worldwide. Pirating anime is illegal and morally wrong, but this kind of rebellion would show the corporates that consumers aren’t brainless.
Not everyone can afford every form of legal anime, which is why they pirate. Some people genuinely do not care about the industry and will not buy a product they do not like.
So, huge companies should invest more in new ideas and make anime more accessible to people worldwide.
So, you should pirate anime. At least till you get the product you’d want to pay for. Streaming platforms should improve themselves at least to the point where they could compete with piracy.
Stop your subscription if you’re doing it for a moral reason because these huge corporations will do anything to profit from you.
Let them win you back with the quality of service that they provide. They’re a giant business corporation, not a charity.Originally Written By Epic Dope