Legal tangle ensnares anime CD sales
Back in September, my "Cel Shaded" tag-team partner, Wilma J., warned against buying bootlegged copies of authentic Japanese anime soundtrack CDs.
Fair enough. But what happens when a U.S. company with the distribution rights to a particular series sends a cease-and-desist order to an Internet retailer that is selling legitimate imported material?
That's what happened recently when Funimation, one of the U.S. caretakers of "Fullmetal Alchemist," asked that Akadot pull from its stock three imported soundtracks from the series: "Complete Best," "Original Soundtrack 2 First Limited" and the "Conqueror of Shambala" movie soundtrack.
A Funimation spokesman told Anime News Network that the company has a responsibility to enforce its copyright, but declined comment on what constitutes an illegal product. Akadot posted a statement on its Web site saying it believes it has the legal right to sell the soundtracks but has voluntarily pulled them.
Now, I make no claims for fully understanding the intricacies of copyright law, but one aspect of this case sticks out: If Funimation does, indeed, have the legal right to stop the sale of imported soundtracks regardless of origin, other domestic companies could carry this right to do the same. Whether these companies would want to pursue such action and risk alienating fans stateside is another matter. Still, it's an intriguing thought ...
On a brighter note, I had the opportunity last week to catch the live-action film "Kamikaze Girls" at the Regal Dole Cannery 18. The movie, starring Kyoko Fukada as a fan of frilly fashions and Anna Tsuchiya as a tough biker who befriends her, is a fun, wacky romp that is worth watching. As a bonus, watch for animated sequences by Studio 4C, the studio behind "Steamboy" ...
, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. E-mail Jason S. Yadao at firstname.lastname@example.org