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February 5, 2005

Anime Online Promotion Loses Out [6:19 pm]

Apparently, the firms have decided that they can make more money another way: Anxious times in the cartoon underground

For years this “fansubbing” community has believed that Japanese animation studios tacitly condoned their online activities, at least as long as the shows hadn’t yet been released in the United States. But in early December, a studio called Media Factory began sending letters to a handful of big anime fan sites ordering them to stop distributing or linking to copies of its works online.

[...] With echoes of Hollywood’s recent attack on mainstream film-swapping, the Media Factory episode has shaken the complacency of the fast-growing anime file-swapping community. But the event is also triggering broader discussions over the role of the Internet fan communities that have become such a critical factor in the success of some media companies and a thorn in the sides of others.

Hard numbers are always hard to come by. [...]

[...] ADV is one of the most adamant of the U.S. distributors. Other smaller houses privately say they recognize the promotional value of the online distribution, which can help boost sales for top titles. But there’s also a potential downside.

One executive who asked not to be named said the last two years have seen a significant shift in sales patterns. Top titles still sell well, but the middle categories that used to sell respectable numbers of copies are “being forgotten,” he said.

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Selling Ads Against Search Terms Illegal in France [6:05 pm]

Google loses trademark case in France

The Paris District Court has sanctioned Google and its French subsidiary from selling search-related advertisements against trademarks owned by the luxury fashion designer, which sued the search giant in early 2004. The court charged Google with trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and misleading advertising. Google was ordered to pay $257,430 (200,000 euros).

The ruling comes on the heels of another French court order against Google, in a case brought by European chain Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts. In that lawsuit, the court said Google infringed on Le Meridien’s trademarks by allowing the hotel chain’s rivals to bid on keywords of its name and then appear prominently in those related search results.

Both lawsuits have hinged on Google’s signature keyword-advertising system, Adwords, which pairs text ads with related search results.

Slashdot: Google Ruled a Trademark Infringer

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Boston Globe on “Eyes on the Screen” [10:13 am]

Downhill Battle’s protest gets some Boston Globe ink: ‘Eyes’ fight focuses on rights [pdf]

One of the main issues, [Blackside lawyer Sandy] Forman says, is “the debate and battle that’s raging over free access to works like ours. It’s a complicated balancing act, trying to allow for access to copyrighted works at the same time as you protect the rights of copyright holders.”

But for Lawrence Guyot, who was in “Eyes on the Prize” as a civil rights leader in Mississippi, and who supports the screenings, this dispute has everything to do with what he fought for.

“We’re talking about a cultural and national icon,” Guyot said in a telephone interview from Washington. “There’s never been a more key time to revitalize our faith in our ability to impact on every level. I’m not doing anything illegal, I’m persuading people to buy copies and those who have copies to share them, to facilitate as many showings as possible.”

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