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Why do all of my Anime DVDs have the same bar code?

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Why do all of my Anime DVDs have the same bar code?

Old 04-14-08, 07:29 PM
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Why do all of my Anime DVDs have the same bar code?

Every Anime set I have has the bar code 4988102822712. I've noticed other people with the same thing. I'd claim bootlegs if they weren't so well put together and great quality! For instance, instead of 6 Disc US Release of Cowboy Beebop, I got a 3 Disc with the same amount of episodes. The discs look AMAZING, and are engraved. The box art is awesome. The quality is great! It has all the same content and audio.

I got it for around $15 though. All of my sets are like that.

Any idea why they are like this?
Old 04-14-08, 07:34 PM
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None of mine are the same.

Of course, I buy all of mine from legit retailers.
Old 04-14-08, 08:04 PM
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You're a retailer.
Old 04-14-08, 08:09 PM
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I am also having the same problem with a Dragon Ball Z set (McButton already knows). I bought my set from a guy at a comic convention. Part 1 and part 2 have the same bar codes as well. A bit odd.
Old 04-14-08, 08:19 PM
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Definitely bootlegs, no matter what raves or defences are given in other threads (and this one, apparently).

That stuff is all over the city's Chinese enclaves here, as I'd imagine it is in other cities and, naturally, on ebay. Conventions would be an ideal place to fly them under the radar as well.

I'm not a big anime buff, but I have a few legit titles, and seeing this stuff in Toronto's Chinese malls for at least the past five years burns sometimes. These places get busted about once a year or so, along with several other "DVD retailers" in the Chinese malls, but they're usually back in business in a couple of days thanks to Canada's strange laws (I'd bet some of your "sets" came through here at some point!). Slick disc graphics, gatefold packaging, actual DVDs instead of cheap DVD-R's, multiple audio, proper subs (including one or two convenient sets of standard and simplified Chinese subs—fancy that!), and all of it, of course, at a fraction of the price of buying legit, as has been subtly advertised . . . oops, I mean, mentioned around here. None of it's authorized or legit, and I'd like to think praising it to the skies here is kinda like shilling (in the the literal sense of the term) for bootleggers.

Fakes all 'round.

Last edited by Brian T; 04-14-08 at 08:29 PM.
Old 04-14-08, 08:40 PM
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Fifteen dollars? Three discs? Oh those are definitely bootlegs.
Old 04-14-08, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by McButton
Every Anime set I have has the bar code 4988102822712. I've noticed other people with the same thing. I'd claim bootlegs if they weren't so well put together and great quality! For instance, instead of 6 Disc US Release of Cowboy Beebop, I got a 3 Disc with the same amount of episodes. The discs look AMAZING, and are engraved. The box art is awesome. The quality is great! It has all the same content and audio.

I got it for around $15 though. All of my sets are like that.

Any idea why they are like this?
Bootleg.
Old 04-14-08, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by McButton
You're a retailer.
No, I just don't purposely support people that steal. I'm not perfect in that quest because a couple have slipped through the cracks.

You do realize that the UPC identifies a disc and having them all the same makes no sense whatsoever.

Why can't you just admit that you buy bootlegs and you know you're doing it.
Old 04-14-08, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by TomOpus
No, I just don't purposely support people that steal. I'm not perfect in that quest because a couple have slipped through the cracks.

You do realize that the UPC identifies a disc and having them all the same makes no sense whatsoever.

Why can't you just admit that you buy bootlegs and you know you're doing it.
You're a bootleg.

I got one from Ebay about 5 years ago. I only have 4 anime sets. I got them from eBay, Yahoo, and some dvd site online. The other 1 I got on here. All same bar code except Ninja Scroll. Suckage. I've seen some bootlegs other than these that were terrible. I used to sell dvds from legit warehouses, but some of the Canadian or even Chinese suppliers that sent me "samples" were total garbage. Paramount had me send them everything with their name on it instead of throwing it all out.

Live and Learn, kids. Buy everything from Best Buy.

Last edited by McButton; 04-14-08 at 09:20 PM.
Old 04-14-08, 09:25 PM
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The whole Cowboy Bebop series on 3 discs? Yeah, bootleg.
Old 04-14-08, 09:51 PM
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Mine cost 30 bucks for 3 discs. Does that mean not only is it a bootleg, but I paid too much...
Old 04-14-08, 10:20 PM
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That particular UPC is listed on 8 dvd's in DVD Profiler's Database. Cowboy Bebop is listed twice. I guess it's possible that they are bootlegs, and the probability is very high that they are. It wouldn't surprise me though if this upc was used repeatedly since all those listed appear to be non Region 1 dvds. I don't know how upc's are assigned, so your guess is as good as mine. The Cowboy Bebop sets listed are region free, and one is said to be from Japan, while the other is from China. They look identical, and only have 3 discs (well only one lists 3 discs, the other one doesn't say). If it is a bootleg, then it sounds like a really good version of one. MSRP was listed at $99, and that it was released in 2001. It's also possible that someone added the bootleg versions to DVD Profiler's database. I also just did a google search on "upc 4988102822712" and it turned up a whole lot of other stuff as well. Who knows with this one. My vote: bootleg, but a nicely done one.
Old 04-14-08, 11:02 PM
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There are NO 3-disc Cowboy Bebop sets in ANY region. It (and the rest) are most assuredly bootlegs. Sorry .

In fact, in R1, there was a just released collection of Bebop with a $50 MSRP with remixed 5.1 sound. Hard to beat that.

Originally Posted by McButton
Live and Learn, kids. Buy everything from Best Buy.
A little research and common sense goes a long way :P.
Old 04-14-08, 11:03 PM
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I'd claim bootlegs if they weren't so well put together and great quality!
You obviously aren't familiar with the modern bootleg.

edit: bootleg bootleg bootleg

edit2: bootleg
Old 04-14-08, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mr. b_dvd
That particular UPC is listed on 8 dvd's in DVD Profiler's Database. Cowboy Bebop is listed twice. I guess it's possible that they are bootlegs, and the probability is very high that they are.
Not just probable. It's a fact. Someone has entered them into the database so they could keep track, and surely the numbers are tripping them up now. I once heard a guy at one of the (many) Anime DVD stores in a nearby Chinese mega-mall try to spin a friend of mine (who was big into anime at the time) that these slick box sets he was selling were simply legitimate versions produced for the Hong Kong market (and places like Malaysia, Vietnam, etc), and they were cheaper because the pennywise people in Hong Kong just wouldn't pay American-equivalent prices (which were upwards of three to four times higher) because of all those terrible bootleggers undermining the legitimate market. I would have asked more questions, but I already knew the answers he was gonna give me . . .

As for these being "really good versions", it's absolutely true. They are (and yes, I've seen them playing). For a time, the bootleg market up here was known, ironically, for having practically the same quality standards as the legit market, and not just on anime; movies too: dual layer discs, multiple audio tracks, subs, extras, etc, usually packed in a sturdy slip sleeve just like you'd see in Best Buy, with a paper sleeve (for the amaray case, which they didn't provide) tucked inside. It was clear the factories contracted to make legitimate product for American companies—who were striving to save a buck by sending the work overseas—were churning out millions of fakes in the off hours, a whole network secretly producing the various components—sleeves over here, discs over here, content tweaking (like adding Chinese subs or hiding an entire soundtrack on the disc) over there. Of course, they're their own worst enemies, and within a few years, probably 30% of the stores in most of these malls were bootleg movie operations selling U.S., Asian, European stuff, you name it, only now, they're ripping everything on cheapo DVD-Rs and cutting each other's throats to sell them for around $2. I'm sure the quality is still there if they're using original content, but I'd imagine a DVD-R would require some sacrifice of content from a dual-layered original, but who knows.

As for the Anime, though, the little "Anime" shops in the malls here (and there are PLENTY of them considering it's such a niche product ) still seem to be peddling the kinds of products being discussed in this thread. Perhaps they've maintained quality standards for so long they consider themselves to be legitimate retailers now! Don't know if they get raided as much as some of their movie-specific counterparts, where the cheapness of the packaging is the big giveaway.

As for some sets having little differences—like one being "from China" and one being "from Japan"—in all likelihood they're identical except for subtle changes on the packaging, probably little logos or fine print or something like that. Odds are those are more like tracking devices so one particular triad organization can keep track of it's "sales" in comparison to another,

Nonetheless, I can understand someone thinking these may just be legitimate "imports" that happened to be licenced for places like Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc. They sure do look pretty. But common sense should tell you that the Japanese producers of this stuff are highly unlikely to licence their bread and butter to distribs in Asian territories for one-third what they charge the Americans knowing full well that the resulting discs might be exported all over the globe. You'd think at the very least they'd ask for a little region coding, just like they do over here. . .

Last edited by Brian T; 04-14-08 at 11:13 PM.
Old 04-15-08, 04:01 AM
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Here's a link on bootleg anime dvds and merchandise like cds, etc. Nice artwork and packaging are cheap to produce.

http://www.digital.anime.org.uk/piratefaq.html

Which reminds me. A few years ago, a local convention had an anime panel. The store owners on there had bootlegs sets and they swore up and down that dvds with lousy subtitles and ripped english dubs were legit chinese produced dvds. They also believed Ralph Bakshi was English until another panel member told them otherwise.
Old 04-15-08, 08:07 AM
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FYI for those who want to know how UPCs are assigned. A UPC is (usually) a 12 digit number, although there are some variations for some products.
The first 6 digits are a manufacturer ID, this identifies who made the product (I dont' have any DVDs in front of me, but lets pretend that Paramount has an id of 094949).
The next 5 numbers are an item number that identifies that particular product, in this case a certain dvd title (lets pretend this one is 00001). In theory any variation of that product should have a new item number and thus a new UPC, like say the 2-disc special edition of a movie is 00001, then the single disc should be a different item, lets say 00002. Sometimes this rule is ignored, like say an initial release has 2 discs, but it is later changed to a 1 disc version at a bargain price. If the rules were followed the 1 disc re-release should have a different UPC, but sometimes it may not. This causes collectors frustration when trying to differentiate releases.
The last digit is a check digit, a mathmatical calculation of the other numbers to verify the barcode when scanned.

so the UPC for this product should be 094949 00001 9 (check digit may not be accurate).
Old 04-15-08, 09:40 AM
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I don't have any experience with bootlegging, so this pisses me off alot. I wish I had known that the damn discs were boots before I bought them, but like I said I don't have any knowledge of the subject. Plus I do not usually collect anime dvd's. I just saw Dragon Ball Z and thought "Hey I used to watch Dragon Ball when I was younger and it was cool". This sucks. Now when I go to conventions I will have to be very careful not to be scammed again. I've never looked at bar codes before and have no knowledge of them either. How do I protect myself?? What are some of the obvious ways to tell that something is bootlegged, especially if it's in shrink wrap and all that?
Old 04-15-08, 10:01 AM
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Don't feel bad, the same thing happened to me. I bought a 3 disc set of Cowboy Bebop many years ago before I knew all about bootlegs. I don't feel bad though as I have also bought both of the legit R1 6 disc sets.
Old 04-15-08, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JWAR
I don't have any experience with bootlegging, so this pisses me off alot. I wish I had known that the damn discs were boots before I bought them, but like I said I don't have any knowledge of the subject. Plus I do not usually collect anime dvd's. I just saw Dragon Ball Z and thought "Hey I used to watch Dragon Ball when I was younger and it was cool". This sucks. Now when I go to conventions I will have to be very careful not to be scammed again. I've never looked at bar codes before and have no knowledge of them either. How do I protect myself?? What are some of the obvious ways to tell that something is bootlegged, especially if it's in shrink wrap and all that?
Besides the already mentioned Bootleg FAQ link posted, you can always run the UPC through DVD Collection sites (such as DVDaf and DVDspot). There's also sites such as AnimeOnDVD.com that make excellent reference tools.
Old 04-16-08, 02:55 PM
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for some reason ALL Japanese discs UPC start with 4988...
I like the way they put it on the OBI instead of ruining the art-along with EXPLICIT! and WARNING FBI!
Old 04-16-08, 05:40 PM
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If it
    then it is very likely a bootleg.
    Old 04-16-08, 05:54 PM
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    Technically, these are pirate copies. A bootleg is a recording that is not officially available: wikipedia

    I personally don't have a problem in the trading of bootleg recordings (unreleased movies, concert recordings, etc.), but pirate recordings are definitely off-limits.
    Old 04-16-08, 06:15 PM
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    It makes me feel sad that there are people still confused as to what bootleg/pirate copies are and that they are paying for them when they would easily contribute their funds towards the legitimate releases, like with Cowboy Bebop, if they only knew what was going on. I wish these "Bootleg" DVD's would just go away. Many of these bootleg sets do look nice but it is just not the same as having the official product. I myself own two bootleg sets, both were purchased by a family member mistakenly and given as gifts. Unfortunately, I still need to get around to purchasing the legitimate releases that are available out there.
    Old 04-16-08, 11:02 PM
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    I personally own 4 bootlegs. Berserk, Cowboy Bebop, Hellsing, Serial Experiments Lain.

    The last one is the only one I regret not buying the real one.

    The only real downside (besides not supporting the companys) is that you rarely, if ever, get the extras from the real sets.

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