Naruto fan culture proves P2P can create fans, customers

Joi Ito blogs about an exchange he had with his sister regarding an
anime fan-scene in Japan. The activity resulting from “illicit” Naruto
derivations created by fans amounts to a convincing case study for the
notion that filesharing can generate new fans and consumers.
Source removed for possible legal issues.

[The Source] wrote:

If you go to the site that lists the BitTorrent files of Naruto, you
will see that fans have subtitled the episodes into a variety of
languages like Hebrew, Portuguese, French… When new episodes of
Naruto come out, the fans get together on IRC and other fora and
collaborate and create subtitled versions and put them online. If you
search for Naruto on, you find a page where the fans are
voting for the DVD release and the notice says that they will notify
the publisher of the voting. (It would be interesting to find out if
the publisher or the fans initiated this.) It also appears that when a
local DVD is released, the fans take down their subtitled episodes for
that region. By allowing the fans to create demand, the publishers are
using these file sharing networks and illegal derivative works as an
extremely efficient form of marketing. Thanks to the network of
Internet anime fans, Naruto is still niche, but popular globally.

This kind of publisher approved “piracy” is not a new thing.
Dojinshi, are comics created by fans of Japanese comics. They are
illegal derivative works. They make their own stories using famous
comics as the base. They have huge conventions and it’s an amazing
community. The publishers of most of these comics encouraged this
dojinshi culture because they realized that this increases the demand
for the originals. These derivative works and sharing creates “fans”
not “lost customers”.

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