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This is spurred by this question:

Why are anime music videos admitted in anime conventions?

This question is asking about the legality of music videos at conventions.

I don't believe questions asking for legal advice are a good fit for anime.SE, because we're not lawyers. The usefulness of any answers is very suspect also, for the same reason.

Not to mention that legality differs from country to country, so any answers provided will differ greatly from region to region.

Thoughts?

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This seems like an odd reason to exclude something. I mean, there are folks asking questions about plot points from folks who aren't the writers, and even the creation of anime/manga being answered by folks who are not involved in it... Even though you would hope to attract experts in each topic, at this point there will naturally be a lot of questions that either can't be answered, or must be answered by someone who is not an expert in the topic - hopefully by drawing on information provided by someone who is.

Now, I tend to agree that questions asking for legal advice should be off-topic, not because they would put answerers in danger but because they're not about anime or manga.

But the question you use as an example isn't asking for legal advice. It's asking for help understanding certain policies within the anime community which appear to be blamed on copyright law.

Focusing on the legal aspect here seems to be missing the point. Are anime conventions on-topic? Are anime music videos on-topic? These are the more important questions, and seem to fall in line with many other discussions on the topicality of anime / otaku-related culture here.

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  • The question seems to focus on copyright as the main issue. If you remove copyright from the question, it's no longer a question. I'm not exactly sure how we could NOT read it as asking for clarification on copyright. – fbueckert Dec 17 '12 at 23:31
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    He's not asking for legal advice, so far as I can see. He's asking what (or if) Anime conventions do anything to comply with copyright law. This seems to be a concrete, answerable question about the operation of such conferences. Whether operating an anime conference is on-topic or not is something y'all should be discussing - but don't get hung up on the "we're not lawyers" bit if no one's asking for legal advice. – Shog9 Dec 17 '12 at 23:36
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I agree.

This subject is very borderline, because the question can ask about anime/manga in particular, however, by nature, most of us cannot answer such questions reliably.

I say we go for safe here, and not accept legal question, especially without any sort of official disclaimer about how the information given here is not legal advice and so on and so forth.

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  • As I written in comments below, I'm not seeking for any legal advice. I'm from a totally different jurisdiction from US, and I'm interested more in the social aspect than in the legal one. – chirale Dec 18 '12 at 7:04
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I disagree.

I've made that question and I got a very precise answer, quoting an interview I've never heard about before by the intellectual property specialist of Funimation. The quality of the answers is often determined by the quality of references, and after that an the other answers at that question the AMV acceptance in anime worlds by both copyright holders and fans is more clear to me. SE is made for this.

Clearly, a disclaimer will be useful to avoid misunderstanding about the scope of the site and I absolutely agree to write it down. But it should not block questions that are about a popular form of derivative works made by fans in public events like anime conventions. It's a social subject, reducing it to a subject only lawyers can talk about is detrimental because ignore the context.

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  • In my view the problem is not that the question/answer is bad, but that in certain cases we/SE could be held legally liable for providing misinformation. Though it would be better with a disclaimer, I'm not sure how well that protects us. – Logan M Dec 17 '12 at 22:48
  • So we have a single answer from Funimation. That only applies to it. How does the answer the question regarding Gainax? Or 4Kids? Or any other animation studio? – fbueckert Dec 17 '12 at 22:52
  • Just stick to reliable sources and avoid law self-teaching. Add a disclaimer on top. But this is not the first, real-world question that it's about to be closed. As I asked before, I repeat: should Anime and manga talk only about fiction, avoiding question about industry and subculture? – chirale Dec 17 '12 at 23:01
  • @chirale Did you link to the wrong answer? It sounds like you're describing Krazer's answers. – atlantiza Dec 17 '12 at 23:02
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    @fbueckert re: "single answer from Funimation" I don't think it's necessary to have an answer from every single anime copyright holder. More would be better, yes, but I think a single answer from Funimation is more relevant than a general quote about copyright law from Wikipedia. – atlantiza Dec 17 '12 at 23:03
  • @atlantiza fixed, thank you! – chirale Dec 17 '12 at 23:05
  • You're missing the point; we can talk about anime related stuff all day long. It's when we question the legality of whatever it is (music videos, fansubs, whatever), that we run into problems. Just putting up a disclaimer is ingenuous at best; people won't read it, and they WILL use answers from here if they run into trouble legally. It's a handwave to allow questions of this nature. – fbueckert Dec 17 '12 at 23:06
  • @fbueckert Personally, if I ran into legal trouble, I would want something more concrete than SE as my resource in court... I can't speak for others though, so I guess it's possible. – atlantiza Dec 17 '12 at 23:13
  • @fbueckert I'm from Italy, and I asked a question about how in the USA anime conventions are allowed to make such contests. I don't seek legal advice, I'm out of the US jurisdiction, but I'm interested in the answer because we have anime conventions too and I'm interested in the social aspect of the entire thing. I don't want to apply US laws in Italy (especially the DMCA), I swear. :D – chirale Dec 17 '12 at 23:17
  • @chirale Heh. I know you don't; US laws are quite strict (and inane). You've just highlighted the problem with asking questions about legality: they're fundamentally unanswerable. Sure, we might get bits and pieces here and there, but we have no guarantee that anything we hear is correct! We're supposed to be experts, and I know, I, for one, am certainly not an expert when it comes to laws. I'd think allowing these questions means we'd have to be law experts in order to answer them. – fbueckert Dec 17 '12 at 23:21
  • @fbueckert Laws and legal system in Italy are not that better! But the point is that I haven't started the question seeking legal advice. Some recent and smart answers here get the other half of my question, I'm interested in seeing how the community here will treat this subject. – chirale Dec 17 '12 at 23:45
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I think this kind of questions is going to be rare. Rare enough that there is no point to make a rule about it.

If we make too many rules, we'll get lost in them. We need clear, easy to follow guidelines, and not a precedent law that depends on a million clauses and needs deep study to understand what is and what is not acceptable. So, while I think this question is a poor fit, no matter what we do about it, we shouldn't use it as something to make rules - for our own good.

Elsewhere it was suggested that maintaining an exceptionally long and growing list of resources is a headache not worth the benefits. I assure you a long and growing list of rules to follow and obey is a far worse headache.

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