Quicksell Auction > A Guide to Animation DVDs

A Guide to Animation DVDs

General Information
Almost everything available for sale can be found on eBay. There are so many great deals are available for those in need. Animation DVDs are certainly one of the many. However, when it comes to DVDs there are a lot of illegal copies (bootlegs) floating in eBay. Many buyers are not aware of them, especially with Japanese Anime DVDs when the quality is near or on the same level of the original. These are some guidelines that might help you avoid being defrauded by a bootleg DVD seller:

  • DVD-9: Most DVDs with a  "DVD-9" logo are bootlegs.  Although DVD-9 reflects better quality discs, it is quite safe to assume the disc is a bootleg when it has the "DVD-9" logo on the cover.  "DVD-9" branded copies are very popular in other parts of the world, especially in Asia, due to the higher quality with a small price tag. Such "DVD-9" discs usually cost about $1-$4 each, depending where you purchase it.

  • Region 0: There are legitimate 'Region 0' DVDs.  Some anime DVDs are set to 'All region' or 'Region 0'. Nevertheless, always research and verify that a legitimate 'All region' or 'Region 0' DVDs exist for a particular title.

  • Unreleased DVDs: There are many movies that have not been released on DVD. If the title is available on VHS, that does not necessarily mean it is already available on DVD. Therefore, any of these DVDs are illegal. Some of the popular titles that have not been released include:

    • Cinderella - ETA Fall 2007

More unreleased DVDs can be found in DVD Talk Unreleased DVD Thread

  • Parallel Imports: This is specific to Disney DVDs. Disney does not allow the sale of DVDs that were released for sale in other markets. Accordingly, this means that only 'Region 1' Disney DVDs are allowed for sale within USA and Canada. Sometimes bootleg sellers would also try to sell 'All Region' DVDs as 'Region 1' DVDs, since an 'All Region' DVD would certainly play in a 'Region 1' DVD player. Thus, it is advisable to check the authenticity of your disc(s). Please be extra careful when purchasing 'Region 1' Disney DVDs from a seller outside the US or Canada.

  • Research the seller: Always check into the feedback of your seller to see if there is any indication of selling bootlegs in the past. You can also check the seller's 'About Me' page for any indication of illegal copies being sold.

  • Check for market prices: A great deal might not be a deal after all. If you see a DVD normally selling for $100 or more and a seller is selling it for $20, you really ought to check whether the item is authentic. Many buyers would have a hard time resisting such a great deal and jump in the first second. Bootleg sellers would certainly use that weakness to get you into buying.

Bootleg Information

Disney DVDs
Most illegal copies of Disney DVDs have similar characteristics. Easiest way to spot illegal DVDs are by looking for some commonly used marks or phrases. Bootleg sellers sometimes will use phrases like: "bootleg," "copy," "import," "can't guarantee authenticity" or "item does not come with case to save on shipping." You can also try to find indicators/marks on the DVD unit itself, such as:

  • DVD-9 stamp/mark
  • All Region is printed somewhere on the cover(s)
  • Incorrect UPC code
  • Missing ISBN code
  • Incorrect language tracks (i.e. Chinese/Cantonese tracks or subtitles for a 'Region 1' release)
  • Poor translation in subtitles
  • Poor artwork quality

Here are the things you should check after getting your Disney DVD in the mail:

  • Check the UPC code printed on the seal securing the top of DVD case. You can find the correct UPC code for your DVD at http://disneyvideos.disney.go.com/
  • Check the shrinkwrap. Most of the time the shrinkwrap would still have Buena Vista logo stamped somewhere along the back. If it is not there, it would be better for you to check the content of the DVD immediately. Please keep in mind that sometimes there are vendors who might rewrap the DVD whenever the original wrap is torn or damaged.
  • Check the quality of the artwork. If the print does not look professional, then it might be a counterfeit. You can find original DVD cover pictures in the internet. Just do a Google search.

More information on bootleg Disney DVDs can be found at Disney VeRO page

Japanese Animation/Anime DVDs
These items are getting more popular all over the world. There are an abundance of bootleg/pirated anime DVDs, from low to the highest quality. Furthermore, there are also Video-CDs (VCDs) sold as DVDs, as most current DVD players would play VCDs as well. Most of the time you would be able to tell the difference between the two by looking at the quality of the picture. VCDs tend to be more fuzzy and less sharp.

Common Logo used by DVD Pirate Groups

Anime Cartoon Video Animation Anime Cartoon and Video Animation Logos might be the same group
Manga International Manga International (should not be confused with Manga Entertainment, a division of Palm Pictures, a legal distributor)
Anime Studio Anime Studio
fx fx group (produces many fake Anime DVD box-sets)
The following companies are some of the infamous DVD pirates:
  • Animation International
  • Animation Japan International
  • Anime Cartoon
  • Anime Cartoon International
  • Anime Studio
  • Another DVD Company
  • Digital International
  • DVD Ani
  • fx
  • Indian International
  • K
  • Manga International
  • Video Animation

Please be aware that DVD pirates have become more sophisticated using higher print quality, professional looking design and holographic stickers on their packaging (see pictures below for examples). Many bootleg anime DVDs have certain factors in common: they are almost always set to 'All Region' or 'Region 0'. They have Chinese subtitles  and many might have English subtitles with low translation quality. Very few officially licensed DVDs sold in the Chinese markets do have English and Cantonese/Chinese subtitles. This includes titles by Studio Ghibli, which do have official releases (with English subtitles) but are still pirated. However, since Disney holds to the rights to Studio Ghibli titles in several countries, including USA and Canada, it is illegal to sell Studio Ghibli DVD releases from other countries/regions. Please refer to the 'Parallel Import' section above.

Bootleg Anime DVD Samples

Studio Ghibli titles and other pirated anime DVDs are very common on eBay. Why? Because eBay has chosen not to do anything unless the original animation studio requests eBay to take down the listing(s). Since most animation studios are very limited in resources, most listings, if not all, are left untouched and deceptive sellers continue to sell without any hesitation. Under such condition, it is highly recommended that all buyers of these items to educate yourselves about the product you intend to purchase.

Consequently, if an anime DVD is a 'Region 0' or 'All Region' release and has Chinese as well as English subtitles, there is a very strong possibility the title is a bootleg/illegal/pirated copy. Is it okay to purchase them? Legally, no. But of course the decision remains with you. Some buyers might consider purchasing illegal items for the lower price tag.

More information on pirated anime DVDs and other Japanese items can be found at The Pirate Anime FAQ

Steps To Take When You Receive a Bootleg DVD

Always try to resolve the issue with the seller before taking further measures.  The seller should offer a full refund including return shipping if you receive a bootleg DVD.  Below are the steps that can be taken to get your refund, in case your seller refuses to pay you back.

  1. File a chargeback through Paypal. Please quote section 7.2 of the Paypal User Agreement to indicate seller's violation:

    Your Information and your activities (including your payments and receipt of payments) through our Service shall not: (a) be false, inaccurate or misleading; (b) be fraudulent or involve the sale of counterfeit or stolen items; ... (e) infringe on any third party's copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other property rights or rights of publicity or privacy;

  2. If Paypal denies your chargeback, you can then file a chargeback through your credit card company. You must first file the chargeback through Paypal or otherwise you might lose your Paypal account.
  3. Make sure you file an online fraud report with eBay after 30 days through the following link: http://crs.ebay.com/aw-cgi/ebayisapi.dll?crsstartpage
  4. File a fraud report through:
    1. The United Postal Service: http://www.framed.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/MailFraudComplaint.htm
    2. The National Fraud Information Center: http://www.fraud.org/welcome.htm
    3. The FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center: http://www.ifccfbi.gov/cf1.asp
  5. Check if the copyright holder is a member of eBay's Verified Rights Owner (VeRO): http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/vero-aboutme.html. You can report illegal Disney DVDs through the following link: http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/disneyvero/
  6. Finally, leave an appropriate feedback for the seller. Don't be afraid to leave a negative feedback for unscrupulous sellers. Your bravery would certainly help other eBay buyers.

A very big thanks to Anime Digital for the information available in the site and a fellow eBay member, WASkydiver, for his continuous effort fighting illegal DVD sales on eBay. This page was mostly based on information available from those sources.

You can find Anime Digital at http://www.digital.anime.org.uk/ and WASkydiver at http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/waskydiver/

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This document may not be reproduced in whole or part in any form without the consent of Quicksell Auction, Anime Digital and waskydiver from eBay.

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