Minorigate, or, How to Piss Off Otaku Without Really Trying

The probability of BtNHRV receiving a DMCA injunction from minori just rose twentyfold.

There’s been quite a hubbub in the eroge-playing community this week, sparked by minori (ef, Wind, eden*) inducing an edit war on TLWiki’s eden* page. Now, for those of you who remember, minori was one of the first eroge companies to block website access from foreign IPs last year after the Rapelay controversy exploded, citing a fear of “violating local laws and causing trouble for foreign fans” as motivation. A year has passed since then, and the minori website has remained shut to foreigners. Last week, minori emerged from its isolationist shell to delete the eden* translation project in its entirety. For a more detailed and comprehensive account of the events, please read these articles. The gist of minori‘s argument: We hold the copyright to these games, and we don’t want them to be translated. Therefore, we’re going to delete all of your translations and request that you stop. Reasonable, right?

Apparently not. Fans have already started whining and crying over minori‘s “betrayal” of their many years of loyal support. Says one disgruntled fan, “Dear minori: I’m a dirty gaijin and I bought all four of your shitty games…”

This is quite the intriguing statement. We can pick it apart a little bit and see what sort of thoughts are going through this particular fan’s head.

He calls himself a “dirty gaijin”! This clearly denotes him as non-Japanese, and his facetious mockery of his own race seems to suggest that minori doesn’t particularly like foreigners. Perhaps there’s a case of racial prejudice going on here? minori might not be protecting its own rights, or looking out for the well-being of its fans; minori just hates white people. In addition, the statement “I bought all four of your shitty games” shows that this fan is rather loyal to minori, and feels betrayed and offended by minori‘s deletion of the eden* translation project. (Ironically, were he a true fan, he’d know that minori has produced more than four games.) This sort of mentality is fairly indicative of certain segments (dare I say, the dominant segment?) of eroge fandom: Translators are doing Japanese companies a favor by providing free advertising. Japanese companies should be paying translators for the free publicity that they’re getting.  How dare companies turn their backs on us, their most loyal and rabid fans from overseas?

While I am rather flattered that people think my work spreads good cheer and Japanese culture worldwide, I’d rather not take credit for it. I give out absolutely none of my contact information and shy away from taking credit for my translation projects for a reason. As a poor student, I’m not interested in having my ass sued into oblivion by some Japanese corporation. I simply don’t have the time, energy or desire to get myself entangled into a long, drawn-out legal battle. In addition, I have no delusions about the legality of what I do. I understand that my work is absolutely illegal. If the rightful owner of any eroge tells me that he objects to my illicit translation of his work, I will back off. It’s the sensible thing to do.

Note that this does not mean I endorse minori‘s actions. To be honest, I could care less about whether their games are distributed overseas, because I (and any other fan who is dedicated enough, I’m sure) will be able to find a way to import their games from Japan. For those of us financially unable to afford dropping 60 to 100 dollars on a video game, there’s always software piracy. (Unfortunate, no doubt, but an alternative, nonetheless.) The fact of the matter is, whether minori decides to sell their games overseas or not, fans will be able to procure them (through legal or illegal means) in their countries of residence. Any drug addict will be able to get his fix, regardless of legality. In the same vein, any eroge fan will be able to get his games, regardless of legality.

Now, what about minori? Should they sell their games overseas?

The answer is most likely no. I actually had a long, protracted discussion with Kataoka Tomo (of NekoNekoSoft and Narcissu fame) about this two years ago when I met him for dinner. He told me that he was looking into the viability of jump-starting a small, niche eroge market internationally, and concluded that it was simply not worth the trouble. His reasoning ran thus:

The three largest international markets for visual novels are China, the United States and Western Europe (notably Germany and France). His research included that other markets are too small to justify investment. There are problems which significantly obstruct the import and distribution of eroge in these three jurisdictions:

1. China: Draconian pornography laws automatically rule out eroge as an importable good. In addition, Kataoka, like many other artists, is philosophically opposed to state censorship and monitoring.

2. United States: A convoluted patchwork of state and local regulations regarding obscenity require quite a bit of legal maneuvering; current American distributors are probably uninterested in picking up any of NNS‘s games.

3. Europe: Language barriers and a patchwork of legal regulations (similar to the United States) hamper market entry. In addition, the market is barely large enough, and many different teams of translators would have to be hired to translate each work.

minori, of course, faces the same issues that Kataoka and NNS does. There’s simply no viable market for eroge overseas, and a large amount of legal research would need to happen before any sort of decision is made. I can definitely attest to the small size of the US eroge market: as someone who sells eroge at cons, I can say that business is relatively slow compared to sales for doujin, et cetera. As for legal maneuvering, most of these companies don’t really have the spare capital lying around to hire legal crack teams to research foreign laws. (In fact, NekoNekoSoft is run out of an apartment in Saitama.) Non-ero visual novels may sell slightly better, but since this is minori we’re talking about, this is a moot point. minori doesn’t make non-ero works, more or less. (eden* and console ports would be notable exceptions… I guess.)

Given that it would be economically risky for minori to sell games overseas, and given that minori has no desire to sell their games overseas, should minori stop fan translation projects of its games? I argue that they most certainly can. Admittedly, starting an edit war on TLWiki is a rather childish way of saying, “I don’t want you to translate my work,” I highly doubt that the lovely folks at No Name Losers would stop translating ef if minori politely requested them to. Having worked with NNL on ef, I have seen firsthand the things that the group is willing to do. However, it would be rather petty of me to engage in ad hominem attacks, and this isn’t the appropriate forum to do so, in any case. However, I will simply say that they have put a poll up on their website asking whether or not they should release ef after minori sent them a DMCA injunction. If I know NNL, I know that they fully intend to publish ef. Of course, having been a former member of the project, I have absolutely no say in this matter; I have politely asked them to remove my name from the staff credits, for I would not want the work of their wonderful translator to be tarnished by my incomplete scripts that I left behind. They have complied, and I thank them graciously for that. However, if minori is serious in pursuing their copyright, then the folks at NNL may end up in pretty deep trouble.

Many fans have also questioned minori‘s ability to prosecute overseas. I cannot speak for NNL‘s case, as they are a Canadian group. However, in the United States, this is what would happen:

The Japanese copyright holder [minori, Inc.] must first register his mark [ef, eden*, et cetera]  in the U.S., but then he can sue.  The fact that it wasn’t registered in the U.S. when the infringement occurred does not preclude him from suing because copyright protection arises automatically by law when the work is created.  It may affect claims for attorney’s fees and stuff relating to the question of innocent vs. willful infringement, but that’s not a huge deal in copyright cases.  The fact that the copyright holder is not a U.S. national does not preclude him from suing.  Most of the patent suits I helped defend were brought by non-U.S. corporations, and I assume copyright is the same.  The copyright holder may only sue for U.S. territorial damages.  Any damages occurring in other countries as a result of the infringement must be sought in the courts of those countries.  Along with damages, the remedy would certainly include an injunction enforceable in the U.S. Damages sound like they’d be tough to prove.  If they’re too small, I think the copyright holder would probably be able to use the same 1203 claim that the RIAA uses to get up to $25,000 per “instance of circumvention.”  The details of the case would be important at this point.

So there you have it; it is most definitely within minori‘s rights to sue the living daylights out of anyone who infringes upon their copyright.

Now that most of the positive issues regarding Minorigate have been resolved, I’ll insert a bit of my own opinions and talk about normative issues regarding the case.

Both minori and hot-headed fans are acting in a manner which is both irrational and destructive. Saying, “FUCK YOU MINORI, WE DO WHAT WE WANT” is not a great way to gain the trust of Japanese companies, and will most likely hamper legitimate efforts to bring eroge to the United States. In addition, fans claim that minori “does not care” about foreign fans. Well, to be honest, there’s no reason for them to care. The minuscule amount of sales revenue that minori derives from foreign sales (through a third-party intermediary, I should add) isn’t enough to justify caring.

Many Western eroge fans have a sense of elitism about them. “We took the time to buy your shitty game, so thank us for it,” they seem to say. There’s absolutely no reason why minori, or anyone, should thank western eroge fans for anything. Western fans are just customers, engaging in consensual market transactions. Just because I live in the United States and happen to be one of the few people who are interested in eroge here in the US does not suddenly make me more entitled. I am not delusional: minori owes me nothing. I bought their games because I enjoy playing them.

So, if we frame foreign purchases of minori products as a voluntary exchange between two consenting individuals, what reason does minori have to stop a consenting, rationally-thinking adult from purchasing its product?

The easy answer, of course, is that minori is a xenophobic and racist company that doesn’t want its products in foreign hands. Somehow, I doubt this.

Rather, minori is simply acting on rational economic incentives. As previously stated, the company has very little incentive to expand their operations overseas. In addition, assume that minori allows foreigners to visit their website and purchase their games. If RapeLay wasn’t indication enough, someone will pick up on the fact that “pornographic video games” are being sold on the Internet, and protests will ensue. Empirically, this brouhaha will lead to moral conservatives and feminist organizations to protest the eroge industry, potentially changing social norms, if the new Tokyo anti-lolicon bills are any indication. This will lead to a net loss in revenue for minori and other firms. Therefore, it is in minori‘s best interest to keep its business within circles that are complacent with the status quo; i.e., domestic consumers. I point to the fact that no one gave any attention to eroge until RapeLay came up for sale on amazon.uk last year. This shows that the Japanese public is more or less happy with current laws and regulations; only after British and American media exerted significant pressure on Japan did domestic organizations begin protesting against eroge. minori can decrease its visibility and minimize its own risk by pursuing a isolationist business policy; in the mind of its executive, the revenue gained from allowing foreign sales is far dwarfed by the potential moral backlash that could lead to the entire eroge industry tumbling down.

Naturally, their rhetoric about “protecting foreigners” is complete hogwash, but also very in line with what a Japanese company would say. The concept of 迷惑をかけないように (Cause no trouble to anyone) is a very strong one in Japanese society, and also a handy excuse. While western observers may be infuriated by minori‘s apparently patronizing tone, I do not think that they are intentionally talking down western fans.

Finally, I have a futile request: moderation on both sides. Fans do themselves no favors by forcibly releasing illicit translations of copyrighted material; there is no “sticking it to the man” going on here; fans will hurt themselves in the long run if they continue to be defiant towards Japanese companies’ demands to stop translation of video games. No amount of moral or economic justification can change the fundamental fact that fan translations are illegal. minori, for its part, is acting in a rational but incredibly childish manner. They’re a bunch of dicks, to be sure, but nothing is more infuriating than a dick who is justified.

Notes and Acknowledgments:

I would like to graciously thank my colleague and dear friend Kylaran for voicing his opinion on the issue before this article was published. I would also like to thank Dr. D. R. Thompson for his legal observations. The image is from moe.imouto.org, which, as you all know, is questionably safe for work.

I fully intend to continue translating visual novels. Being a devious, rebellious college student, I am of the opinion that a crime is not a crime until the criminal has been caught. However, I do believe that a translation is much more fulfilling when the original author consents to its translation. For me, translation is a hobby and a mentally stimulating exercise. I do it not for the fame, or the ego trip, or because I think that certain stories are worth sharing with the world— I do it because I find it interesting and feel that it is a good investment of my time. I am completely uninterested in legal issues. If any author tells me that he doesn’t want me translating his work, I’ll stop and find something else. Simple as that.

It is true that translations allow works of art and literature to reach a wider audience. I think that we should promote the translation of eroge into English, but we legally can’t. There is a difference between what we can realistically do and what we wish to accomplish, and we should always keep that difference in mind.

I am contemplating taking up minori‘s offer to visit their headquarters in Tokyo for the purpose of securing authorization to translate eden*. Wouldn’t that be a blast?

Finally, if one is truly dedicated to playing minori‘s games, learn Japanese. Everyone has the capacity to learn a language, and if you have the spare money and time to blow on buying eroge and doujinshi and then masturbating to them, you should be able to direct that energy to learning Japanese. Besides, the long-term investment is definitely worth it. Shit, you could learn Japanese while playing eroge and doing your business! Isn’t that just great?!

In short: Be easy. Seriously.

26 Responses to “Minorigate, or, How to Piss Off Otaku Without Really Trying”

  1. I love you.

  2. You are dumb.
    I’m not even going to explain why.

  3. While I completely agree with you that Minori has the exclusive and absolute authority over translation of thier works it is their latest response that leaves a foul taste:

    著作権というものは、様々な権利の集合ですが、皆さんが作品をプレイする上で、DVD-ROMディスクからPCのHDDへインストールすることは、一般的に「複製」に当たると定義されています。minoriのソフトウェアを購入された方は、日本国内においてのみ複製権の許諾を受けることができます。(なぜ、日本国内のみ許諾しているかは後述の通りです)これが、minoriのソフトウェアを日本国内専用としている理由です。

    They are getting mad at foreigners for BUYING the games, saying they don’t have the right to install them. I’m not sure how legally relevant printing 日本国内 on a box is but I can’t imagine what would make it necessary to fuss over this. Translation and public distribution (hosting sc files, piracy,etc) are both very real economic threats that could require response but this?

    Also their insistence that any licensed translation would have to go through the ESRB? Its a bad joke.

  4. It’s a pretty grim picture for those of us who do want to see legit VN releases in the West. MangaGamer is a start (and a good one), but I think this highlights just how little minori has to gain (and potentially what it could lose) by an expansive approach towards marketing its eroge. They are, unquestionably, being incredibly defensive and conservative and I can see why fans are getting riled up. Western fans are used to a certain amount of consumer entitlement, and it’s odd and arguably threatening to be faced with a company which so openly rebuffs people who see themselves as potential customers. It’s like being faced with a business which says “I have a product which I want to sell, but I don’t want to sell it to you.” That’s not the sort of behaviour that consumers are used to from businesses.

    As for learning Japanese… well, there’s no such thing as a bad reason for learning a language. I wouldn’t say it’s quite that easy though, learning a new language takes years of commitment and effort. The reason motivates that commitment… I’m not sure reading eroge is going to motivate that many people.

  5. I noticed that you incorporated my moral backlash comment. Much thanks for considering my points along with your own.

    This is a post that, I think, touches on a topic that should be of interest to non-Japanese fans of Japanese subculture, regardless of whether they enjoy eroge/visual novels or not. Allow me to rehash what I have already discussed with Akira on this topic.

    First and foremost, Akira is right in arguing that this move is motivated primarily by economic considerations. However, jyuichi pointed out that this whole matter has left a decidedly bad taste in the mouths of us foreign fans. Part of the reason, indeed, is because of the foreign mindset under which we operate, but another reason is that somehow we feel their arguments don’t really grasp at anything. I will rehash what I assume to be minori’s reasoning, and argue from there why it must be that minori fails to, in a sense, address the real problem at hand.

    1.) We have the right to take legal action when our copyright is being violated.
    2.) It is being violated by an unauthorized fan translation which is distributing our hard work for free.
    3.) We desire that copyright infringement stop because of its potential economic damage to our company; if people want to play our games, they can buy it.
    4.) However, buying out games means that they buy something that, while is legal in Japan, might be illegal in their home country. This causes, alternatively, political/legal damage to overseas fans who violate the law in their country.
    5.) This is ultimately a cultural problem
    6.) Since this is a cultural problem, we should restrict access to our website to prevent possible legal problems for fans overseas.
    7.) For those that do want to enjoy the games, they should enjoy them in Japan where it is legal. After all, the products say “for use only within Japan”. But since no one in Japan would pay for an English translation domestically (since they’re all Japanese), there will be no English version at all.
    7.) Since we can’t make an English version for a non-existent fanbase, then sacrificing foreign fans is the only way to keep everyone happy.

    Now, I would normally find this justified, even if the way minori went about it was incredibly awkward and somewhat xenophobic. However, I take issue with 5.) and 6.). What minori is actually afraid of is not so much the harm to their fans (as Akira has noted), but a domestic moral backlash that could potentially result in a complete overhaul of the eroge industry. That is, new laws could make it much more strict to publish morally gray material. In this case, what the “cultural problem” at hand is the fact that Japan, legally, permits the publications of games with morally questionable content not only to foreigners, but to domestic Japanese as well. Thus, the next line in the argumentation, 6.), is placed into doubt because the deduction from 5.) is weak.

    In no way does treating foreign fans in this way does minori receive benefit. Actually, it aggravates the problem at hand by exposing more controversy to what the real problem, which is whether or not Japan will more strictly enforce guidelines for game content. Akira has kindly pointed out that minori has few ways in which it can tackle this problem directly, but, in my opinion, this reasoning is too flawed to justify blocking foreigners completely. It is, in essence, an expression of xenophobia with economic considerations at best.

  6. >> No amount of moral or economic justification can change the fundamental fact that fan translations are illegal.

    I don’t know, I’ve seen some creative lawyering. In the most unobtrusive fashion, fan translation still has a leg in court, at least in America.

  7. [...] On Minorigate, or, How to Piss Off Otaku Without Really Trying [...]

  8. “However, I do believe that a translation is much more fulfilling when the original author consents to its translation.”

    Those C&D probably never really come from the author… at least not if you mean the “writer”.
    That stuff is simply economical and/or ethical.

    I honestly don’t want to think that any writer dislikes it if there are fans out there who translate the story for free, so that this work will get even more fans. (international fans that is)
    It’s not planned to release most VN outside of japan, so most would probably like it if they reach an even bigger audience with their stories. At least if you write stories or draw pictures because it’s also something you want to do… and not only to make a living.

  9. quote:
    The fact that it wasn’t registered in the U.S. when the infringement occurred does not preclude him from suing because copyright protection arises automatically by law when the work is created… If [the damages are] too small, I think the copyright holder would probably be able to use the same 1203 claim that the RIAA uses to get up to $25,000 per “instance of circumvention.”
    endquote

    I just wanted to point out (based on my understanding, IANAL, etc, but I have looked into this) that, in the United States, statutory damages (that $25000 per infringement thing) can only be requested if the copyright was registered at the time of infringement. If it was not registered, they can still sue for actual damages, but I don’t know how much they’ll be able to prove. Of course, being sued in federal court isn’t fun under the best of circumstances, and in any case this group is based in Canada. So US law doesn’t matter much.

  10. Great article. I agree on practically every point except that fans will do themselves no favors by translating games by companies that don’t want them translated.

    Except for in Dark Translations’ case, we’re all translating the BEST eroge out there. Presumably, these are games that wouldn’t cause a big hubbub internationally even if the media tried to attack them, at least not compared to RapeLay. Moreover, we fan translators for the most part aren’t taking away sales from the mother corporation. Thus, we are in no way contributing to either the downfall of eroge in general or the companies which make our games.

    However, I certainly feel accomplishment every time a partial release comes out, and I know plenty of people, including myself, who really enjoy these games in English.

    So there’s a plus and no minus, barring potential legal trouble.

    While I say this, I’m too much of a pushover to break the law (and brag about it in a public forum). So it’s all hypothetical.

  11. I believe that Minori wants no one outside of Japan to know that they exist out of fear that they (or their market) would be shut down by some of the more zealous individuals in the West. Unlike anime, there really is no eroge market in the West that can exploited in any meaningful way so there is absolutely no reason to really care about the fandom here. The thing I don’t understand is why they are proactive about it. Eroge is obscure and translation projects are far, far more obscure.

    I wonder how the Japanese perceive the Western media since they seem to think they are on a larger part of the radar than they actually are.

  12. [...] portal that addressed the overall issue. Finally, you can read all about that here along with some thoughtful analysis and links to the edit war [...]

  13. TIF took my line. Brilliant read, absolutely brilliant.

  14. Wouldn’t it be awesome to hear japanese voices and read the text in english?

    just japanese for both text and voices is boring……..

  15. @wuhugm

    I dunno about you, but I like it when my text is in the original language.

  16. [...] post originally appeared on website Behind The Nihon Review and examines Minori’s latest actions: deleting an [...]

  17. I like to appreciate the feelings of translation

    sometimes translator uses really fascinating words or sentences or even expression that makes people who understand the original language to be even more attracted with the material in question

    Take for example, Sharin no Kuni Himawari no Shoujo

    the translator sometimes uses a completely different phrases in place of the original script (can be known from the characters’ dialogues), so that gaijins may understand something that normally only Japanese knows about, and I like that

    Thank you everybody who’s doing Visual Novels translation, I really love your works, and eventhough I can play VN in the original language and I already did, but every time these translation got released I’m sure to replaying those games with your patch, in order to see the world of the games through your eyes :D

  18. Since you specified my comment out, let me note that I never had an issue with Minori shutting down a translation project. Most “fans” just download it anyway–especially when the games are out of print. Actually, I think there shouldn’t be translations patches for that reason, although I will use them if avaliable.

    My issue was they implied in their first statement that it was illegal for me to have purchased or use their games outside Japan when it is not in my country (as it falls under first sale and exhaustion doctrine). It doesn’t matter what they printed on the back of the box–it doesn’t apply after the first sale and there have been several court cases establishing this. While a currently pending US Supreme Course case may change this, Minori literally has no right to prevent the sale or use of their games in the US once they have sold it the first time. Japanese law does not apply to me because I do not live in Japan. Does it meet the Miller test in my community? I would argue strongly that it does not (having artistic merit, for one) and is thus not obscene.

    Minori’s actions, long before Rapelay, have been pretty consistently xenophobic of foreigners and their weird laws. For example, no other company, to my knowledge, checks the locale of your system before the game will start (this started before Rapelay too). Perhaps you don’t find them xenophobic, but I do. I’m also firmly opposed to discriminating on the basis of nationality or any other status. Merchants should sell to everyone who can pay the price asked.

    Lastly, I never claimed to be a fan of Minori but Miyako (I’ve disliked the company for a couple years now). So yeah. I didn’t know about their other games. I admit I only buy the “popular shit.” Not that I really care, because I’m looking to maximize my enjoyment not earn “otaku points.”

    However, whether they like it or not, I am one of their customers (easily a couple $1,000 spent on ef so far alone), and I refuse to shut up about it just because I’m not Japanese.

    With that said, the rest of your analysis of my thinking is basically wrong. I buy eroge not download it. I believe fan translation hurt the industry quite a bit on a net basis. I would rather they stop and fans support MangaGamer.

    I suppose the talk page of a TL wiki was not the place to express my frustration, but whatever. Minori pisses me off.

  19. Wow. What a ride the past few days has been. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I’d be published on Kotaku… thank you all for graciously reading my posts and commenting on them. Now, to address your concerns:

    @TIF: One love, bro.

    @jyuichi: minori’s being unreasonable here. They’re trying to justify keeping their games within Japan by any means necessary. Indeed, their letters do leave a foul taste; like I said, they are dicks, but there’s nothing worse than a dick who is justified.

    The ESRB comment most likely stems from ignorance; however, I’m pretty sure that eden* would get a T rating at the highest if it did go through the ESRB anyways, so there would be no problem there.

    @S-K:
    We western fans are riled up because (especially in America) we believe that the shareholders and consumers own the corporation. In Japanese corporate culture, the employees own the company. “Shareholder accountability” isn’t really a well-developed concept in Japan, so it’s pretty natural (and typical) for companies to disregard the concerns of consumers (especially consumers on the extreme margin like ourselves.)

    Also, I think this bears repeating, but you got trolled. :P

    @Ky:
    tl;dr lol

    Just kidding. My reasoning deviates from yours starting from 5 and 6. You think that it is “ultimately a cultural problem”; I think that “cultural problems” are simply a guise to mask minori’s ultimately economic concerns. They are worried about issues of culture because their sales may suffer as a result. That’s it. If you swap your step 5 for my step 5, that is, “We are concerned because legal damage to fans overseas generates bad press and destroys our industry, therefore collapsing our company,” the ultimate conclusion makes a lot more sense. Xenophobia cannot be justified by economics, but economics justifies xenophobia.

    @omo:

    As my lawyer friend pointed out, suing for damages would be pretty difficult, especially because there are, well, no damages in America. However, an injunction is definitely possible.

    @kir:

    I meant the corporation. The writer himself is irrelevant in this case.

    @noisy_penguin:

    The damages don’t really matter, and I don’t think minori can prove damages either way. But like you rightfully pointed out, NNL is a Canadian group, and therefore, none of this legal analysis is relevant to this case.

    @pondrthis:
    We aren’t on-face causing the downfall of the industry, but you forget that we’re dealing with issues of legality and perception here. While it is true that all of these concerns are ultimately grounded in economic incentives, we also want to entice companies to release their games overseas. In effect, we are also attempting a paradigm shift, opposite of the one “moral conservatives and feminists” are taking. We want eroge to come to the United States, and we can do that by being friendly and supportive, and not hostile. So if a company tells us that they don’t want their shit translated, we should just leave it at that.

    @Shadowmage:
    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying in my article; that minori doesn’t want the market to be shut down. They’re proactive about it because a minuscule possibility of a leak (in the RapeLay case) leads to massive drama.

    Also, front page of CNN.com is a pretty fucking huge deal. All of my friends have heard of RapeLay by now.

    @wuhugm:
    That’s why I translate. Because I like it. It’s interesting to see how different languages render different things.

    @Draenor:
    I applaud your bravery, frankness and maturity. Most people would simply let themselves be insulted or engage in a flamewar. You have justified to me your comments in a rational manner.

    Now, just because Japanese law doesn’t apply to you, doesn’t mean you’re not breaking it. Certainly, the consequences of your actions don’t particularly matter. As an American myself, I am very well familiar with the first sale and exhaustion doctrine, and I believe it is a good legal precedent and should be kept.

    Merchants should sell to all customers who can pay the price, unless that customer imposes an externality upon them so large that the net loss in sales would be unprofitable for the merchant. This is why we don’t sell weapons to people who are drunk or mentally unstable. Likewise, your existence as a foreigner is inconvenient for both minori and the eroge industry at large, because the country in which you live doesn’t exactly condone shit like eroge. Now, I’m from California, possibly one of the most liberal states in the Union, and go to school in yuppie-land-New-England, and my community STILL doesn’t condone eroge as okay. Obviously, it passes the Miller Test, but we’re talking about social mores here. CNN will pick up on “Sick Fuck Plays Games Where You Have Sex with Teenagers” whether it passes the Miller Test or not, and that’s what eroge companies are more concerned about. The whole talk about “we want to protect our foreign friends from being arrested” is obviously bullshit.

    You and I are both customers of minori. I dedicated a full two years of my life to translating ef. The difference between you and me is that you support the company while decrying its policies; I support the company unconditionally. If you want to buy their shit, don’t whine about it when they exclude you. I’m complacent with illegally smuggling their shit out of the country and then playing it; you should be too. Being outspoken only reinforces the “belligerent gaijin” image.

    Finally, Yuuko > Chihiro > Mizuki > Miyako. I think there was another heroine, but I can’t quite remember her name… lol.

  20. That’s the thing. It’s not illegal to import or export it. There is no Japanese nor US law preventing it. Minori may impose restrictions on a third party, like Amazon.jp, but that would be contractual between those two parties. If a third party–say Palet Web–buys a Minori title from Amazon.jp and sells it to me, no one has broken any contracts. It’s a non-issue.

    Lastly, I disagree that foreign pressure has anything to do with the recent pressure on the eroge industry, Eroge is hardly looked upon fondly in Japan. I’m quite aware that most of the population looks upon it in disgust and would rather it disappear if it can’t be ignored. Domestic groups are merely using “foreign pressure” as an excuse for accomplishing what they wanted to do all along. Japan, like the USA, is quite capable of telling the rest of the world, “fuck off” when they want too (see whaling, dolphins, child kidnapping, sex trade, etc). Blaming CNN and foreigners for causing this is just an excuse.

  21. [...] broadly agree with numerous points made by Akira and omo in their respective posts, but let me still address specific issues I have with [...]

  22. >> Domestic groups are merely using “foreign pressure” as an excuse for accomplishing what they wanted to do all along. Japan, like the USA, is quite capable of telling the rest of the world, “fuck off” when they want too (see whaling, dolphins, child kidnapping, sex trade, etc). Blaming CNN and foreigners for causing this is just an excuse.

    Yeah, basically. It’s a blame-shift trick in politics. Pretty common (and portrayed in pop media no less).

  23. can i put this on my blog?

  24. @Marcus Allen Dejesus
    The Kotaku case was a special exception. You can link to it, but we kindly ask that you don’t post the article word-for-word on your own blog.

  25. Have you considered about putting some social bookmarking buttons to these blog posts. At least for twitter.

  26. […] article titled Open the Minorigate” and another from The Nihon Review with the article titled minorigate, or, How to Piss Off Otaku Without Really Trying both produced very convincing arguments, but I’m not going to focus on Minori in this opinion […]

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