Anime makes you stupid. Watching anime makes you stupid, fansubbing anime too, but apparently professionally working with anime makes you the most stupid. Funimation is the proof of this theory. A brief timeline of history (see earlier posts on this here blawg and koda’s excellent summary for details about earlier events):
- Yesterday: Funimation announces (well, mentions in its official twitter feed) that it will be resuming FMA streaming after “additional security” is implemented for all videos.
- Five hours ago: Funimation’s representative says he/she doesn’t know when FMA streams will be back.
- Two hours ago: Certain people do some poking around and find that most series are still available via the old method of using video.funimation.com/FLV/[ANIMENAME]_[EPISODENUMBER]_JPN_640X360.flv directly. They just changed the name of some files, i.e. instead of FUN_PHANTOM_06_JPN_640X360.flv it’s now PHNTM_06_JPN_640X360.flv. FMA, however, is not available through this method. This is mentioned on IRC.
- One hour ago: I poke at Funimation’s FMA page and find that while you can still access the FMA page and watch episodes, you don’t actually get the episode it claims to be; instead you get what appears to be the “default” episode, which for some bizarre reason known only to Funimation is episode 8 of Dragonaut: the Resonance (why the christ did this ever get licensed in the first place? seriously Funimation, what the fuck?).
- Half an hour ago: Some enterprising individuals find out that it seems that Funimation has switched to RTMP streaming for FMA. They poke around for a bit, guess the URL to episode 9, dumps it with rtmpdump, remuxes it to MKV and posts a torrent to TT (which currently has like 30 peers; obviously everyone is hot for Funimation’s version of FMA when the fansubs have already been out for three days). The episode in question still hasn’t been posted to Funimation’s official site. Nor has the older FMA eps.
- Right now: Funimation’s entire website goes down for unknown reasons.
The website is now up again, but God knows why it went down in the first place. “TORRENT? OMG, PULL THE PLUG!”? Who knows.
More on this story as things develop.
Edit: By the way, Funimation, didn’t you say it took four days to finish the translation and script QC? Why did you already upload a finished episode to your website then? Hasn’t it only been three days since Sunday?
Edit edit: Oh and for those of you who are going to go off screaming OMG HAX SUE THEM ALL: guessing URL’s IS NOT HACKING (and hence it isn’t illegal in all sensible jurisdictions; see for example this German court case (warning: in German)). The W3C agrees in a quite interesting article; for those of you with ADD I’ll go ahead and quote the most relevant parts:
[A]ny attempt to forbid the practice of deep linking is based on a misunderstanding of the technology, and threatens to undermine the functioning of the Web as a whole. The two chief reasons for this are:
- A Web Address (“URI,” or “URL”) is just an identifier. There is a clear distinction between identifying a resource on the Web and accessing it; suppressing the use of identifiers is not logically consistent.
- It is entirely reasonable for owners of Web resources to control access to them. The Web provides several mechanisms for doing this, none of which rely on hiding or suppressing identifiers for those resources.
Two analogies have been proposed to help illuminate the question of deep linking through parallels in the real world.
The first analogy is with buildings, which typically have a number of doors. A building might have a policy that the public may only enter via the main front door, and only during normal working hours. People employed in the building and in making deliveries to it might use other doors as appropriate. Such a policy would be enforced by a combination of security personnel and mechanical devices such as locks and pass-cards. One would not enforce this policy by hiding some of the building entrances, nor by requesting legislation requiring the use of the front door and forbidding anyone to reveal the fact that there are other doors to the building.
The second analogy is with a library, which has a well-known street address. Each book on the shelves of this library also has an identifier, composed of its title, author, call number, shelf location, and so on. The library certainly will exercise access control to the individual books; but it would be counterproductive to do so by forbidding the publication of their identities.
These analogies are compelling in the context of the deep linking issue. A provider of Web resources who does not make use of the built-in facilities of the Web to control access to a resource is unlikely to achieve either justice or a good business outcome by attempting to suppress information about the existence of the resource.
Edit edit edit: When they went to repost the FMA streams they also “accidentally” posted Phantom episode 10, at least 18 hours before it was supposed to air in Japan. Someone immediately downloaded and torrented it, of course. :golfclap:
It also appears that instead of actually implementing security measures, Funimation seemingly found it sufficient to add 16 characters of pseudo-random garbage to the end of each filename so it isn’t possible to just guess the URL’s anymore. GUYS GUYS LET’S CONTINUE WITH THIS SECURITY THROUGH OBSCURITY THING I HEARD IT WAS THE COOL THING TO DO, IT HAS WORKED SO WELL FOR US IN THE PAST AFTER ALL LOLOLOLO
ETA to someone figuring out that the seemingly random stuff really isn’t all that random and leaking something again? Not very long, I’d bet.