August 16, 2007
Singapore anime downloading situation worsens
Starhub & SingNet ISPs ordered by court to reveal customers who download licensed anime videos illegally.
A Singapore video distributor said Tuesday it has won a suit against an Internet service provider asking for the identities of customers alleged to have downloaded popular Japanese animated cartoons.
Anime distributor Odex Pt. Ltd. said StarHub, a telecommunications, Internet and cable company, was ordered to reveal about 1,000 of its subscribers accused of downloading anime illegally.
StarHub had earlier resisted Odex’s efforts to obtain the data, citing “an obligation to protect our customers’ information.”
“In the instance of Odex, they have satisfied the court of their need for the information. As such, we will comply with the court order,” said StarHub spokesman Michael Sim.
Once Odex obtains the identities of the Internet users alleged to have downloaded the anime videos, the company will likely contact them and seek compensation of up to 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,285) from each, Odex Director Stephen Sing said. The users will also have to destroy any stolen content and stop further illegal downloading.
“Singapore’s downloading situation is very bad,” Sing said. “We have engaged companies to track illegal downloads in Singapore, and ratio-wise, we’re actually right up there in the illegal downloads in the world, in terms of Japanese animation.”
Odex earlier this year obtained a similar court order seeking the identities of about the same number of customers of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.’s Internet service, SingNet, Sing said. Those customers were also alleged to have downloaded anime.
The company will take more legal action later this week with a suit against a third Internet service provider, Pacific Internet (nasdaq: PCNTF – news – people ), for the right to track down another 1,000 customers suspected of the same offense, Sing said.
Odex, Singapore’s main anime distributor, has seen a drop of 60 to 70 percent in sales in the past two years, largely due to an increase in downloads, Sing said.
It’s getting serious. ISPs are coughing out its customers information, thus getting them into lawsuit. I remember 2-3 years ago when I wanted to buy an anime series DVD but there is no anime distributor at all in Singapore. Now that an anime distributor was set up, and they have to make approach to such extent, prosecuting fansub downloaders and blaming poor sales fully on them. Not that the licensed series are of sub-standard quality, and generally older series get licensed. Who would want to buy an old anime series that just got licensed which aired in Japan 3 years ago? Forget downloading licensed anime for the time being and if you want to watch them, there are streaming anime sites; Crunchyroll, Mangaspot, Keiichi Anime Forever, AnimeEDEN.