For those who are still wondering what is going on with the whole Odex saga, perhaps you would like to get interested now. This largely concerns the part of anime community which downloads anime via BitTorrent. In the past few months, Odex has been sueing our ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to get subscribers information. They then proceed to send subscribers letters of copyright infringement, forcing people to pay $3000 – $5000 for settlement.
Now, Odex found itself in the newspapers today and the headline reads that Odex is offering an olive branch to anime downloaders. What this olive branch means is that:
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) – Cite This Source
1. a branch of the olive tree as an emblem of peace.
2. any token of peace.
[Origin: 1275â€“1325; ME]
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Â© Random House, Inc. 2006.
As you can see, olive branch signifies a token or emblem of peace. Odex has declared that they will not pursue downloaders who stop downloading after a certain date, 3rd September 2007. This means that only downloaders who continue to download anime will be sent letters demanding compensation.
However, does Odex have a right to give an olive branch to anime downloaders? This is the question. The problem with the odex case is that it is a sub-licensee and not a statutory exclusive licensee. In August, Pacific Internet won its suit with Odex, with the judge declaring that “But the judge said under the Copyright Act, “only the copyright owner and the statutory exclusive licensee have the right to take action against copyright infringers”, and that “Odex appeared to be the exclusive licensee for just one title, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”. Source: Yahoo! News
Since Odex does not have a right to take action against copyright infringers, what right do they have to declare a truce? In fact, the legality of this war is also at question. Who is Odex to play God and punish errant downloaders? Odex is merely a company that has more sub-license than exclusive license. The only people that Odex can target should be people who download Mobile Suit Gundam Seed.
Besides, Odex does not have sub-licenses for ALL anime works in the world. It only has some of the anime licensed for distribution in Singapore. What right does Odex have to come and ask for compensation of losses? In fact, will people who pay Odex still get sued by other companies? Since Odex is not the government and Odex does not have the right to waive someone’s wrongdoing, then surely Odex is not the right authority to come and ask for compensation. Surely, it is only right for a court of law to decide how much wrongdoing is committed and what should be the appropriate punishment.
Since Odex does not have a right to waive any wrongdoing committed, then why should the matter be settled with Odex? Besides, Odex has not yet successfully sued anybody in Singapore for illegal downloads. Odex has also not proven beyond reasonable doubt that the IP address they have are people who definitely infringe on copyright. If the matter should not be settled with Odex, then what right does Odex have to start a legal war and then make peace with the anime community? Surely this is a sign of hypocrisy.
Besides, Odex has been caught lying with their pants down. In a recent statement, Odex blamed its poor subtitling on the censorship board. However, the censorship board wrote a letter to TodayOnline, saying that “it is also the distributor’s responsibility to ensure that subtitles reflect the true content of an anime (that is, animation) especially its dialogue and commentary. If subtitles are not accurate, they can mislead the viewer and also make it difficult for the BFC to classify an anime accurately”.
How can we trust such a company? Bear in mind that this company is trying to play God by judging rights and wrong, something that should only be done in our court of law. I wonder how much money Odex has got from people who came forward to settle. I wonder how much money would be donated to charity. I wonder how many parents are paying for their children.
Does Odex have a right to come into battle, trample our kids and teenagers, loot them of their savings and then offer an emblem of peace? You decide. The next time you purchase anime in Singapore, find out which company is distributing the anime, and decide whether to let such a company profit. After all, if a company cannot put their consumers as their top priority, they should be left to die off.