Q: Why did you venture to take the risk? It's safer to enter the market after Google completes the technology, isn't it?
Fukuda: In Japan right now, probably nobody would embark on the business if Kadokawa didn't. We allied with Google because it represents the Black Ships, or external pressure on Japan. After all, the Japanese wouldn't move until Black Ships arrived. Nothing will change if it is only Japanese companies that are causing a stir.
Kadokawa is a unique company. Running a computer operation company, it boasts Internet skills. It is involved in movies and cinema complexes, has a production company and also publishes magazines and books. Funded by many overseas investors, its anime films have won great popularity overseas. There are no other companies like Kadokawa in Japan.
It is companies like Kadokawa that most require a structure to run a business through video sharing. I'm hoping this structure will penetrate fast, but starting with a company that needs it most is more natural.
Our chairman (Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chairman and CEO, Kadokawa Group Holdings Inc) also didn't hesitate to answer when I consulted him about collaboration with YouTube in advance. "I grant you full authority, so just do it," he said.
That's because Kadokawa's current mainstay content including "Haruhi (Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)" and "RakiSta (Lucky Star)" all originated from the "Comiket" (Comic Market: Japan's largest exhibition and sale convention for comic doujinshi). When Comiket began, every Japanese publishing company rejected it and treated it as if they were labeling it as a "pirates' market."
But that's not true. Many things start from copying. Baseball players such as Ichiro and Matsui wouldn't have been so great, if they hadn't tried to copy Oh and Nagashima (famous Japanese baseball players).
It is significant to foster superior creators in Japan, where everyone is a kind of creator. That's why Chairman Kadokawa jumped in the Comiket and raised popular content including "Haruhi" from it. He told me, "I'm the person who recognized the value of Comiket back then. If I can't recognize the potential of YouTube now, what has my life been about? I can't live my life that way."
Q: Why do you include content uploaded by users in targets? So-called secondary creations have diverse levels. What are your evaluation standards?
Fukuda: The evaluation standards are up to the rights holders. We will, therefore, thoroughly confer with rights holders. Some insist on "deleting everything," while others say, "I don't care if it helps my content become more popular." We intend to even distribute entire anime programs, adding identifying marks and advertisements if the rights holder agrees.
In my opinion, I don't understand why we must delete content submitted by users. I think it is stranger to discriminate against such videos even though they are obviously the same as their originals, just because their image quality is slightly inferior to that of official content. Viewers can't recognize the difference.
Users are not uploading copied content with bad intentions. It's rather the other way around. They are supporting us and therefore, we must thank them for saving us the trouble of uploading the content. It's not like they are selling the content without permission.
This applies to secondary creations as well. All that matters is whether or not the creator respects the rights holder's rights.
"This is very impressive. No one can make such a video unless he or she truly loves your work." "This person must be spending 98% of his or her salary on your work." To understand these things mutually, we must thoroughly discuss them with rights holders.
On the contrary, we will delete any submission that makes a mockery of the rights holder, for example. Instead of seeing everything in black and white, we see things in shades of gray. The gray category even makes black more clearly black. If there are only black and white categories, black content will begin to claim that it is slightly gray.
But if something can be categorized as gray, we only need to remove content that is categorized as black. All we have to do after that is to gradually sort out the content in the gray category.