Unannounced, AVEX pictures (AVEX branch company) has issued a statement informing all major online music/anime stores to stop selling their goods to overseas fans.
This statement is making a lot of people nervous about what will happen to AVEX’s K-pop and J-pop music acts (TVXQ!, Super Junior, Big Bang, Exile, Daichi Miura, GACKT, between many others). People are skeptical as well about this change of heart from AVEX and have started to wonder plus fear if other companies will follow this ban in the future. At the time we’re writing this article the company still hasn’t clarified the reason behind this measure.
On the seiyuu side of things it means that starting from today (February 15th), no music from Wataru Hatano and Yutaku II can be sold overseas. Dance with Devils anime, music and even drama cds are also included in the ban. The same applies for AVEX’s distributed anime which includes 2016’s major hit “Yuri!!! On Ice“, supernatural anime “Noragami“, the world famous “One Piece” and many, many others. It might sound ridiculous but even the official “Yuri!!! On Ice” merchandise is banned from being sold overseas – includes keychains, pouches and more. This ridiculous bit is what makes us slightly reluctant about stating AVEX is using this ban as a way to counter piracy.
Amazon Japan, Animate, none of these stores will sell AVEX’s artists goods – music, anime DVD/Blu-rays, live DVDs, even seiyuu cd’s – to international fans. CDJAPAN still has AVEX releases (including Wataru Hatano‘s singles) listed in their inventory. There’s no confirmation as to whether it’s possible to purchase them at the moment.
With this measure there’s only one of two ways to go for those fans that still want to support their favorite artists: resort to a proxy either a friend living in Japan or a company (there’s always FROM JAPAN the famous proxy service website) or ultimately succumb to piracy.
THE HAND THAT FEEDS HQ editoral opinion:
This ban can be about anything right now. We’re talking about a sudden ban that affects a vital part of the Japanese entertainment industry. Music, DVDs, anime, merchandise, everything is a target of this ban.
Like we said before, we’re a bit reluctant to call this a piracy counter measure. It doesn’t make sense when we see that even merchandise is included in this. But if this is, in fact, the way that AVEX has found to counter piracy, it’s rather drastic, especially taking into account that one of their major sources of revenue comes from overseas fans. We’re not talking about Europe and the US, we’re talking about the giants Russia and China that spend millions of yen yearly thanks to anime and J-Pop. Even if they attempt to counter piracy with this measure, we cannot estimate how much of a blow the anime and music industry in Japan will take. This measure will most certainly backfire, because people will still want to get their favorite music and anime, even if it means downloading an illegal copy or purchasing through a proxy – that can be deemed piracy as well for all we can take from their statement. We even think that this will encourage piracy even more than it does at the moment. Still we don’t know for certain what is the reason behind the sudden ban.
Given the sudden news of the ban, we’re faced with the unexpected situation of not being able to freely review any releases from Yutaku II, Watano Hataru and GACKT, as those reviews might be labeled as piracy (we’re based in Europe).
If this situation continues, we’ll halt any future reviews from these artists. We’ll issue a statement if that happens.
SOURCE: SBS Australia