I was doing some online window shopping with a craving for FLCL. I enjoyed watching the show when it was on Cartoon Network, but never got around to buying the series on DVD. This is mostly due to the series being split into three $30 volumes, with two episodes per volume. Surely by now the box set will be available at a discounted price, as with most other anime.
Alas, no. FLCL‘s been out of print for a few years now; its box set (new or used) selling for upward to $150. Maybe I should have bought it when I had the chance… And a few extra copies to profit from later!
After some research, I’ve learned that the company that holds the FLCL distribution license in the USA has pulled out of American distribution. This leaves the possibility of future releases of FLCL in limbo.
So here’s my plea: Could someone please get on that? It’s perfectly obvious that the previous print runs of FLCL were insufficient in meeting demand since there is a large enough market willing to throw down a C-note or more to get a hold of one of the remaining copies. FLCL is a valuable property and would be well worth some other distributor’s effort to acquire its license.
The key, of course, is that once an American distributor possesses its license, they mustn’t sell the complete series set for more than $20. $60-75 for a 6-episode series ain’t gonna fly. But selling a highly acclaimed product for $15-20 a piece and it will sell through the roof.
If this can’t be sorted out, it only encourages anime piracy. Publishers can’t honestly cry foul on piracy for costing them DVD sales when they refuse to produce DVDs to sell.
I make similar arguments for downloading old video games. I’ll illustrate using Red Earth (aka Warzard) as an example:
Me: Hey, Capcom… I want to legitimately play Red Earth. Let me buy an arcade cabinet from you. I could buy a used one, but you might still moan about not making money from that.
Capcom: We can’t. We don’t make them anymore.
Me: Fair enough… Well, how about you produce a port of the game that I can play on a modern console? I would gladly pay the standard retail price for it. Or a cheaper, download-only version will do. I know a large community that would join me.
Capcom: Nah, we’d rather not bother with the expense of producing it. Sorry.
Me: Okay, now who is really keeping you from selling this game? Me or you?
I always discourage piracy of existing products. I like for people to profit from a good product with the hopes they invest that toward more good products in the future. But if a company refuses to sell a product then I call abusing previous releases to be fair game.
Otherwise it would be like your neighbor charging you with theft for pulling an old bicycle out of their dumpster. He wasn’t doing anything with it (in fact he pretty much abandoned it!), so you’d might as well use it. But if he wants to sell the bike and you ride off with it, then it’s stealing and preventing a sale.