No! Bad Nozomi!
A few weeks ago a wonderful and monumental event happened in Los Angeles... Yep... near the end of June it was LA Beer Week! Oh yeah, also Anime Expo happened. One of the most exciting parts of the convention was the "Day 0" event, the Anisong World Matsuri ~JAPAN KAWAII LIVE~ which featured Aqours from Love Live Sunshine, JUNNA and Minori Suzuki from Walküre, Some of The IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS, and Wake Up, Girls! For many of these performers, it was their first time ever performing in the US, or even being in the US to begin with. And... it was pretty great! I'm not that big of a fan of WUG, and definitely not an Aqours fan at all, but the entire live was so much fun. Having experienced a sea of cell phones at Miku Expo in the same venue a year prior, I was expecting the worst for this crowd, but everyone really seemed to be into it, with penlights and doing correct calls!
But why do people get so upset over people recording lives with their phones? I mean, everybody does it, right? Is it just a bunch of old people getting angry at us for watching through our phones instead of watching the concert with our own eyes? Or the elite idol otaku who get angry for spending so much money on a concert for someone to upload it on the internet for free? Maybe it's just overzealous fans who take this stuff way to seriously, right?
Well... no. Uploading unauthorized recordings of concerts is actually a pretty big deal. Seriously. Of course, there are the typical copyright issues that just arise from uploading performances of songs that are... well, copyrighted. I know a lot of people on the internet try to be rebels when it comes to copyright law, and for some good reasons. There's an extra blurriness when it comes to actual live performances of these songs due to many more variables present, such as the venue, the performers themselves, and the actual songs they're performing, among other things. They may seem greedy and evil, but we should respect the copyright holders here... it's better than no performances happening ever again. And Japanese companies tend to be very protective of their properties, especially compared to western companies.
But the copyright issue is just brought up because it's really the only real legal issue against uploading any recordings of the lives. It's still a pretty significant reason, but it is the only reason that the copyright owners can really use to force videos off of Youtube or Twitter. Personally, my biggest issue with uploading live footage has to do with respect. (Warning: the rest of this post will be significantly more like a rant than before... so have fun with that!)
You see, when you step foot into a venue, like say, Microsoft Theater, and they clearly state at the start of the concert that you aren't supposed to record the concert, failure to do so is just blatant disrespect to the performers. You are literally disobeying something they politely ask of you. I know that some people just need to post that they went to whatever concert to their social media outlets. Or they think, "Hey, I'm a vlogger so I have to post this." But when you do that, all you're saying is that you care more about your stupid social media account than the performers. When they see American audience members disrespecting them like this, it really won't make them want to return to the US for another performance. If the copyright owners even approve of another overseas performance altogether. I don't care if you're seeing the iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls or One Direction, if the performers (or, really, their managers) don't want you recording, please respect them and don't record.
Let's say you love Love Live! so much that you put "School Idol" in your Twitter handle. Clearly you'd know how bad this can be and you'd never upload part of one of the only overseas Love Live performances, would you?
Oh... I really don't want to call anyone out in particular, but the fact that right now I can easily embed part of that live in this very blog post troubles me. There's this defense out there as well, that people are always going to upload to Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and the likes. And that's kind of true. Knowing us stupid 外人, someone will always upload somewhere. But the attitude that "everyone does it so I can too" is why we can't have nice things in the first place. One video or tweet may not seem like much, but they add up. If you've posted a video or tweet, even if you think everyone is doing it as well, you're still contributing to the problem.
And hey, maybe you've run into people who have come after you for uploading these clips. They're very passionate fans and may seem a bit overzealous, but the cause they're fighting for is real. It might also seem like you're being personally attacked. Why'd they have to come after me? They're being so disrespectful! Well, just remember that the same people you're recording might feel the very same way about you. Ultimately you were disrespectful to them for disobeying the rules.
So, what's the takeaway? Don't record during lives if they ask you not to. If they say it's fine, then feel free to take out your phone and record (Personally, I'd never record a concert since I'd rather enjoy it and my camera sucks anyway)! But don't complain when the idol 警察 comes after you.
Pictured: The Idol 警察