Chinese fansub group for Japanese media content announces rectification, amid tightening IP protection
Published: Mar 12, 2022 07:29 PM
Photo: Screenshot of SUBPIG, a popular Chinese streaming platform

Photo: Screenshot of SUBPIG streaming platform 

SUBPIG, a popular Chinese streaming platform specialized in providing Japanese-language film and TV streaming resources, made a "contents rectification" announcement on Friday on social media platform Sina Weibo, a move that fans believe was for intellectual property rights protection.

The group, which has more than 5.3 million followers on Sina Weibo, notified fans that at the request of relevant departments, they will, in accordance with laws and regulations, rectify and delete some online contents and shut down their website. It will focus on providing fans with information and news-oriented content in the future. 

As one of the largest fansub groups in China that offers viewers with translated subtitle contents of Japanese media production in varieties such as films, TV series, variety shows and documentaries, SUBPIG's website is now unable to be accessed. 

The site is yet to reveal further details relating to its announcement, but the incident mirrors that of a similar fansub platform - the Renren Video which was padlocked by Shanghai police over copyright infringement in 2021, and fans speculated that SUBPIG's rectification may have been a result of China's tightened protection of intellectual property rights. 

"After the Renren [Video] incident, the 'subtitle groups' have become a number one target to be reformed to strengthen IP protection in China," posted a netizen on Sina Weibo. 

In February 2021, fansub group Renren Video was targeted by Shanghai police after it was found to have infringed on IP protection for 20,000 episodes of different TV shows and have been sourcing unauthorized film and TV shows taken from overseas pirate forums with the aim of generating illegal profit. 

"The Renren Video's crackdown was after they received a few times of warning and did not respond to it. The announcement made by SUBPIG, to me is a sign that they have also received IP infringement warnings and decided to correct their mistakes," said Shi Wenxue, a film and television expert, to the Global Times.   

"In short, 'rectifying content' simply means removing unauthorized content and media production items," Shi noted. 

The sudden announcement made some fans of the subtitle group to express their "sense of loss," and some commented that they had been members of the community for more than a decade.

Some other loyal fans still expressed that they hope to see the site to make immediate improvement thus it can still remain a 'home' for many online viewers.

"I followed it for more than five years; it has become a community for Chinese fans like me who want to use it to share our hobbies about Japanese culture and drama," Dani Jiang, a fan in Chengdu, told the Global Times. 

"The immediate rectification can help it grip the life-saving string, to become a fan-based community," said Shi. "Looking at both Renren Video and SUBPIG, it shows the general move that China is continuining its efforts to enhance IP protection." 

Global Times