Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rant: PS Company Wants More Control

Last week has been a busy week for the internet. Sites were blacking out in protest of SOPA/PIPA and the FBI brought down the almighty powers of MegaUpload causing a war with Anonymous. Meanwhile in Japan, PS Company posted this message on various social networks and official band sites:

Please refrain from using copyrighted pictures, movies or any other material that depicts our artists.

We have seen an increase of this recently, images from our site have also been used as twitter icons or similar. (In other words no using their bands as avatars or uploading any of their pictures)

In addition, we would also like to prohibit uploading, reuploading our videos on YouTube and similar services. For the artists sake, and our future coverage, we hope for your understanding and cooperation.

- the GazettE
- Alice Nine
- Kra
- SuG
- ViViD

In short, everyone pretty much has the same opinion about this message. Since this is a rant, I suppose I could elaborate my thoughts on the issue.

As you know, I've had a few qualms with PSC on how they've been representing their bands and making them work excessively leading to mediocre music. This message just adds to my annoyance with this company. I used to kinda like them and was oblivious to their dysfunctions, but they just keep digging a grave for themselves for overseas fans.

First, let's start with the uploading of their videos. I think this issue could be greatly reduced by the fans if the company just made a YouTube account or whatever to advertise their PVs and other videos, then they don't have to complain about fans uploading their products. I'm sure they are capable of doing that as I'm subscribed to various other Japanese labels and bands' accounts. Otherwise, they need to stop being so selfish with their content and let people advertise, because most fans discovered these PSC bands via YouTube. But I do understand that they could be losing a little money with these visual uploads, since, unlike most countries, they include these things with their audio releases. Hopefully, they get on that.

Next are the picture uploads, which I will agree is kinda b.s. Alright, I can understand losing profit from photobooks or something special like that, but people enjoy visuals of who they're listening to. Most entertainment industries is based on visual appeal and fans and potentials want to see what these musicians look like. Sorry, PSC, you're part of a shallow industry. Anyway, I'm sure magazines are losing a little money too by fans scanning their issues and sharing them, but when you don't want fans to show their love through graphics and avatars, that's crossing the line on creative expression. What's the next message going to say? Please don't write fanfiction stories about the bands under PSC? Might as well.

Now I can see both sides of how this could be helpful and harmful. The label wants to make money and the fans want to help them make money by spreading the word on how great the band is worldwide. Both parties want to use the same content to reach these goals, but they really need to compromise and it really starts with PSC, not the fans.

Aside from thinking most of this is total utter crap, until PSC takes action with the video uploading issue, I'm starting to think that maybe the label doesn't want to venture outside of Japan. It feels like that want to cut off the overseas fans, even though they have this global fan club thing going on. I've always felt this disinterest to connect with international fans through the GazettE, but now I really feel this through the company's behavior toward the fans. I understand that piracy is a problem when it comes to jrock due to many financial factors, but there are fans who do actually buy the products these bands create every year no matter what the price is. But if PSC is going to be like this and slowly cut international fans off little by little, then piracy is just going to increase and perhaps they'll lose fans by trying to control their actions.

I hope PSC gets their stuff together and that fans also understand both sides of the situation. Honestly, I can see the fans compromising with uploading materials on YouTube and other streaming sites if PSC provides a channel for themselves and/or the bands under them. As for making graphics, avatars, and the like, I don't think there's really anything they can do. That part actually sounds really silly. Fortunately, this issue has broken my writing block for the following reader's question! By the way, PSC, that's D&L not BORN and that D=OUT pic is Speeddisk era.

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