Funimation Apologizes for Fansub Lawsuit, Adds HD Streaming

Funimation marketing director Lance Heiskell, who carries the self-appointed moniker of “Your Friendly Neighborhood FUNimation Marketing Director Guy,” apologized profusely via the Funimation Update Blog on Friday for his company’s recent attempt to sue fansubbers.

“Let’s face it, it was kind of a dick move.” Lance wrote. “The whole affair was just a tawdry attempt to impress the Japanese licence-holders with our firm stance against piracy. Guess THAT backfired, huh?”

The lawsuit, which sued 1337 “John Does” for downloading an episode of One Piece, was drastically neutered when a Texas judge dismissed 1336 of the defendants. Funimation chose to abandon the lawsuit a few weeks later.

Lance was candid in his opinion of the suit, openly admitting that RIAA-style legal extortion may not have been the best method of engendering good will among anime fans. “It was a bad idea from the start. I mean, suing 1337 people just because it spells out “leet”? That was unbelievably immature. We were trying to scare the fansubbers, but in the end we just made ourselves look like enormous douchebags.”

More after the break.

C, one of the upcoming Noitamina shows to be simulcast in HD.

As a peace offering to anime fans, Lance proudly announced Funimation’s new HD streaming initiative. “We know that you’re all sick of watching Noitamina shows in 360p. So, starting this spring season, all of our streaming will be in glorious 720p, via your choice of YouTube, Hulu or our all-new Silverlight player, developed by our own in-house software engineers and multimedia experts. We’re even offering this streaming in England and Australia via our international partners. We thought about expanding to Canada as well, but decided their internet just couldn’t handle it.”

Added Lance, “I’m not sure why we weren’t doing this already. I mean, if freakin’ ANN can offer HD simulcasts, why can’t we?”

Lance had another big announcement. “As the icing on the cake, I’m proud to announce that Funimation will no longer be licensing terrible anime. No more Strike Witches, Dragonaut or Sacred Blacksmith. You see, we were kinda hoping people would buy these fanservice-heavy shows if we simply stuck enough scantily clad girls and giant robots on the DVD cover art. But, to be honest, that kind of marketing approach is extremely insulting to anime fans. We’ve decided to stop treating our audience like drooling pubescant children and start offering products that have quality stories instead of panty shots.”

He announced a number of new licenses in accordance with this policy, including Master Keaton, Records of the Lodoss War, the second season of Big Windup and every Macross series, OVA and film.

Lance still had one final card up his sleeve. “I’ve saved the best for last. We’re proud to announce the licensing of Legend of the Galactic Heroes! Naturally, we’ll be releasing this epic space opera in a series of three Blu-ray all-frills boxsets. Look forward to it!”

Lance ended the post on an apologetic note. “We figure this is the least we can do, especially after jerking the anime fandom around for all these years. We’re finally trying to become a company that truly cares about anime fans, not just our quarterly balance sheet.”

[Via the Funimation Update Blog]

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Jon is a Japanese culture enthusiast, professional pervert and roleplaying fanatic who appreciates flexible gender identities. He enjoys science fiction, Gunpla, classical music and Red Stripe.