Since Vocaloid was first released, there have been some controversial issues that have sprung up in regards to it. While Vocaloid is not without its criticism, these issues have become subject to much attention or outcry. The issues discussed by this page are particularly upsetting for Vocaloid fans at times as they are often used to question the validity of Vocaloids or the software itself.
Singing Vocal ClonesEdit
According to Crypton, because professional female singers refused to provide voice samples, in fear that the software might create their singing voice's clones, Crypton changed their focus from imitating certain singers to creating characteristic vocals. This change of focus led to sampling the vocals of voice actors and the Japanese voice acting agency Arts Vision supported the development. Similar concerns have been expressed throughout the other studios using Vocaloid, with Zero-G refusing to release the names of their providers (Miriam Stockley - who provided the voice for Miriam - remains the only known Zero-G voice provider.)
For more, see this page on wikia answers.
Validity of WorkEdit
GazettE’s Aoi accidentally stirred up trouble for himself on Twitter after making comments about whether or not Miku was a valid music star, questioning the attention given to her. During his tweets, he questioned if Vocaloid and such virtual singers should be compared on the same level, when producers and bands such as his own exist.
The Vocaloid software is regarded as a virtual instrument in Japan, therefore this is a controversial issue amongst the Vocaloid fandom. Overseas (outside of Japan and its neighbouring Asian countries) Vocaloids are sold as virtual singers. This small classification also brings about the question on how far one can go to call Miku a "singer" when she is just a synthesized vocal or an "instrument". Regardless of the classification, the controversial issues related to Vocaloid "singers" has led some music fans to ask if it is real music if nothing is real to begin with and if the software is even on par with real singers. The vocaloid 2 software was often commented to be far from perfect and was noted to be far from being a top rate singer due to its limitations.
Regardless, as Aoi found out, criticizing the Vocaloid songs and questioning if they were even real music can led to fan outburst. Generally, Vocaloid producers often regard their work as "real". Many famous song writers have already gone onto greater works beyond Vocaloid. However, while Aoi is not alone in his remarks, there is in fact a much greater concern as well to consider that can result in Vocaloid works being judged unfairly or failing to be understood.
At times media will often also fail to report Vocaloid correctly, leading a general confusion as to what Vocaloid is. Some reports label it as a "game" based on Project Diva, others a "band" based on the concerts, some mistake the PVs for part of an anime. All these attributes as well as anti-Vocaloid points of view, often leave further questions open on if the Vocaloid songs are really legit songs. Furthermore, because of Miku's fame there is also a tendency for some reports to presume all Vocaloids sing in a similar tone or pitch of voice to Miku. This renders all Vocaloids judged based solely on one vocal.
Ilegal Vocaloid software has two main concerns.
The first is "illegal downloads".
See Pocaloid for more details
This version of the software is downloaded via torrent sites and is a target for viruses if users are not careful. Several versions of the software are known to carry issues not found in the official downloads.
One such example is Pocaloid's Rewire capability. There is a possibility of the host DAW software and Pocaloid becoming unresponsive (especially in FL Studio), causing an error on the Rewire.dll on most DAW softwares.
Pocaloid itself does away with activations and various security features of the original Vocaloid; Prima's activation issues from Vocaloid are notably absent in the illegal version. Some new problems with the cracked version have been reported however. Prima herself has one such problem. Some users also report that Pocaloid may cause problems with the legit version of the software.
Security features aside, the software works identical with the legal version at the same level of quality as the full software. Cosmetic and name changes are also noticed differences. However, the Japanese voicebanks are often sourced from beta or trial versions. There is a notable number of fans who have grown to dislike Pocaloid, as their cracked voicebanks are based on demo or trial versions, when final and refined versions voicebanks are already on sale. In some cases those who download Pocaloid (usually via torrents) often did not find they had until after they had downloaded the software. Some illegitimate traders also may ship Pocaloid, usually by misleading buyers into believing they are purchasing the real version of the software, when in actual fact the software is the Pocaloid version. While it is possible to replicate degrees of satisfactory results from these poorer quality voicebanks, often more work may have to be applied than the retail versions require for the same procedures in song writing.
Studios like Crypton Future Media are relatively large while other studios like PowerFX are relatively small. For these small studios, the Pocaloid software can remove future potential customers; there will always be users who are unwilling to ever purchase the software so long as the illegal "free" version exists. The loss of sales hurts these small studios who need the financial support from the sale of past Vocaloids to invest in future ones. A synethizing software needs just 1,000 units to be sold to make the product successful, so every lost customer means the difference between a profit and failure for the studio with dramatic consequences when such a software package fails to sell. Not only does it leave the studios hurt by this leaving them less likely to consider making future vocaloids, but also gives less encouragement for developement into that particular branch of the Vocaloid software from Yamaha, or into the Vocaloid software overall.
There are some new issues related to Vocaloid 3. Amongst the things to consider is that Pocaloid may encounter problems with Yamaha updates for the software. It also may encounter issues with Plug-ins designed for Vocaloid 3 engine, as well as some issues with the importation of Vocaloid 2 software. Strickly speaking, it is possible to avoid these issues by not attempting to use these services, as it was quite easily enough to use Vocaloid 2 which did not have these functions. However, for those wishing to use these new features, Pocaloid is not 100% guaranteed to offer the same level of working services as the legit version.
Pocaloid does not comply with the end user agreements of Vocaloid.
Amongst fans there is some concern about using the software and while some may ignore the use, others discourage it partly with smaller studios being hit hardest when their Vocaloid voicebanks are cracked and put up as Pocaloids. Regardless, the majority of fans will at some point come across other fans discussing or mentioning of its existence and the sharing of Pocaloid files continues despite efforts to prevent it. As Pocaloid sometimes uses demo voicebanks, illegitimate users of retail versions are more difficult to detect.
Some forums such as Vocaloid Otaku, do not support any form of linking to the software. The reason for this however is that Vocaloid Otaku acts as a central hub for English Vocaloid companies and fans, in order to maintain its close ties to Zero-G and PowerFX effectively, they cannot supply nor condone the supply of links to this version of the software. However, they allowed Pocaloid linking and limited discussions of it in the past.
A running assumption among Japanese users and producers is that foreign producers are more susceptible to Pocaloid usage, especially if they make works from hard-to-acquire Vocaloids, but of course, no accusations can be made of this without proof. Those with Pocaloid rarely admit they own this version of the software as a precaution due to the potential backlash that may follow from fans who do not support it. However, in YouTube, there are publicly-confessed Pocaloid users, and even those who have both the illegal Pocaloid and legal Vocaloid side-by-side.
Japanese fans are particularly known to be hostile towards people using wholly illegal software to establish one's self. The reason for this is based on a religious view from Buddhism, in which the mascot is seen as the avatar of the Vocaloid and the voice the "soul". The view of Pocaloid is that it is stealing the "soul" of the Vocaloid it is based from, showing the Vocaloid a great level of disrespect.
Software studios do not support this version of the software and help will not be supplied if users have issues with the software. It is considered taboo for some fans to download this version of the software, as if they have problems they have no option but to seek out help from other fans who may not be kind-hearted if they mention it, or resort to self-help. At least one case of Pocaloid usage has been known to occur within the fandom, wherein the user happen to have several copyright works uploaded without permission recreated as Vocaloid cover songs. This user became the target of the copyright holders of the songs covered after fans spotted Pocaloid usage and took action to shut the users account down. Links leading to the user's blog and Youtube account via Piapro were also blocked by Crypton Future Media due to the Pocaloid usage.
If music is published commercially using Pocaloid, then the person using the software risks being found out and their work shunned on a commercial and professional level. The only way for one to redeem their name in this case is to use the legal version.
Other forms of breakageEdit
Another form of illegal Vocaloid usage is the act of literally creating a new voicebank from existing ones or claiming to create a new product without creating a licensing agreement with Yamaha in the process. This latter issue is relatively much rarer than the illegal downloads.
Influence of Miku and CryptonEdit
The elements in Hatsune Miku's design were commonplace in the early days of Vocaloid and owe their birth to the numerous derivatives of Hatsune Miku and other Crypton Future Media Vocaloids; however, it was not found to be associated with Vocaloid prior to Miku's release.
The design became so familiar to fans that in 2008, when other studios such as Internet Co., Ltd started producing their own Vocaloids, there was some uncertainty as to whether they were official Vocaloids or not. Furthermore, Meiko and Kaito were not always identified as official Vocaloids by overseas fans in the early days, due to the lack of common knowledge on them and their different designs to the Character Vocal series.
The design itself was more easily accepted between 2007 and 2009 because there were so few Vocaloids; producers often attempted to fill the gaps by creating variations on Miku's design to make "new" characters, as well as use the new creation as a form of self promotion. However, although Miku was the most popular character for variations, she was not the only mascot used as a basis. The main appeal of the fanmades was their designs, rather than their voices.
Fanmades like Kasane Teto; who was created as an April Fools joke to be passed off as a Vocaloid, increased the confusion surrounding Miku's design, causing fans to believe that Vocaloids needed these elements to be official. In some cases Teto's success to pass as a vocaloid came from the fact that she borrowed some of Miku's design aspects and applied them to herself; nevertheless, these were not the only reasons Teto was successful. The method of borrowing design elements from Miku was repeated with other Vipperloid releases, although with decreasing amounts of success over time. VIPPERLOIDs now mainly use elements of other Vocaloids to parody them, as they are no longer created with the focus of fooling people.
By 2010, Miku's mascot was the source of some controversial opinions within the fandom, causing incidences of possible influence to be met with dispute and negativity. Yet, while it remains a controversial issue amongst Vocaloid fans, a minority of Vocaloids have been influenced by Miku. Cyber-style clothes, as seen on the Crypton Future Media Vocaloids, were implemented onto Gakupo's design in accordance with their belief that this was a popular element of the current Vocaloid design. Similar behaviour already occured in popular culture from other character designs in other media based areas, so the subject of the design controversy is not unique to Vocaloid. For example, the One Piece character Emporio Ivankov's design is based on Tim Curry's Dr. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Having said that, the fact that these characters have been inspired by other designs does not always incite controversy within the fans.
Miku's popularity makes some influence likely. KEI himself has been fully aware of Miku's fame to the point that he has parodied his own artwork of Miku from time to time.  Furthermore, mascots of other music related software and hardware had been created based on the popularity of Miku's own design, such as FL Chan who owes her character creation to Hatsune Miku's popularity.
Some fans have accused many Vocaloids of borrowing aspects of Miku and amongst the Vocaloids included in this are: SeeU, Ring Suzune, Yuzuki Yukari (in regards to Miku's append design), Luo Tianyi, Gumi, Aoki Lapis and Tone Rion.Utatane Piko and Lily were accused of copying Miki and Rin, showing fans to not restrict possibilities of influence from Miku.
It has been theorised that some of the resemblances were due to other factors. Since Miku's design takes influence from particular aspects of Japanese anime-otaku culture that are popular, it's easy for characters to resemble Miku even when the characters might not have any influence from Miku at all.
Imaichi-tan, whose origin came from a badly drawn random magazine ad character, became an Internet Meme success when fans of her noticed the biazzare ad. Since the advertisment, fans asked why this character was not "Moe", fans of her even went so far as to improve her design in an attempt to make her "moe", the result was a demonstration of what otaku define "moe" as. This makes her a good example to compare Miku with in defining what the Otaku culture finds attractive, as note many elements that were added to her image are already in use by Hatsune Miku, although Miku is not the 'perfect moe'.  However, designs that share a large quantity of similarites to Miku's overall design are often accused of copying her mascot, often as a source of negativity towards a new Vocaloid. In these cases unique points may not have much relevance because fans focus on the larger picture. In 2012, a chinese virtual singer concert hit a particular point by Miku fans for a "Miku-esque" appearance of the main singer Dong Fang Zhi Zi. The conclusion was made that she was an attempt to 'cash in' on Miku's popularity by borrowing elements from her design and using the same virtual diva concept. This caused a negative reaction from Miku fans, and videos of the singer received several thousand "dislikes". This proved that singers who are similar to the point where fans believe they are 'ripping off' Miku are met with controversial outcry.
Fans even jump to conclusions on designs older than Miku's. For example, Runo Misaki from Bakugan first appeared in the series when Episode 1 aired on April the 5th 2007; Miku herself was not unveiled until the 25th of June 2007 over two months after Runo. However, due to the colour of the pigtails and the design some fans mistake her as copying the design of Miku. A more extreme example can be found from the anime D.Gray-man. Lenalee Lee, a character from the anime, is sometimes acused of copying Miku, despite debuting a couple of years before Miku.
However, as a note of contrast Black★Rock Shooter, whose design was developed independantly in Dec 2007, is often mistaken for Miku or a derivative of hers. Despite fans noting the similarities, she remains popular and well-accepted. It is subjective to individual fans as to whether her similarities to Miku, her own large quantity of individual elements, or a combination of both caused her to be appealing. In contrast, Macne Nana was created as a "sound princess" for the Mac computer; her working name was actually "Macne Miku" and she took influence from Miku herself.
As mentioned earlier, other Vocaloids are subjected to accusations of copying each other besides Hatsune Miku. In a bizarre twist, Cul not only shares the same release date as Big Al, but as fans have noted, a sense of familiarity between his design and hers. Cul and Big Al are not alone; Sonika/Gumi as well as SF-A2 miki/Utatane Piko have also been noted by fans to bare similarities. In such cases, the designs may become the subject of jokes.
Another argument against similarities between mascots is that as Vocaloid becomes increasingly more popular, more Vocaloids are made, and therefore finding new and unique designs becomes more difficult for studios. Therefore, the creation of Vocaloids whose designs resemble other Vocaloids may occur more often.
There is considered a "formula" built around Hatsune Miku's mascot which shows what can trigger a response in fans to say that another design looks similar. It can also define what a generic Vocaloid-like design is, or one that may indicate Hatsune Miku's influence. However, this varies per interpretation based on what are considered the clear signs of borrowing influence from Crypton Future Media Vocaloids. As previously explained, many of these design elements are common in Japanese Otaku culture already anyway. Miku's design or how much it has influneced other Vocaloids, or whether a formula even exists to begin with, is often not well met by a percentage of Vocaloid fans.
The following is, however, considered the basis of what is often considered the "generic" or "formula of success" for Vocaloid character design.
The base of this formula is usually these common traits that are identified in most versions, most of which came from Hatsune Miku:
- Unusually long hair also fits in with this formula too as an alternative to pigtails; but only when supported by other aspects of the formula (alone it is not part of the formula).
- Detached/semi-detached sleeves with sleevless shirts
- Usually the detached sleeves are black or dark grey
- Depending on the shape of the shirt, sleeveless shirts can also fit in with the formula alone without needing to be partnered with detached sleeves
- Equally, the shape of the sleeve itself, even if not detached, can comply with the formula if it is much wider at the opening where the hand comes out like Miku's.
- Long Stockings (or boots) in proportion with the skirt, similar or the same as Miku's. This means with a stocking's length is over the knee, and depending on the length, will expose the thighs. The terminology for this is called Zettai Ryōiki (絶対領域)
- These are usually black or grey.
The formula will also use one or more of these traits shared by Miku;
- Tie/Bow around the neck.
- Writing on the left arm near the shoulder
- Addition of electronic devices and synthesizer-like patterns, specially in the area of the sleeves or arms.
- May also use the same pose as Miku's boxart or a similar pose on their own.
- Hanging belts around the waist, or similar accessories.
- A bichrome color scheme is quite often present.
- In line with this, the dominance of black or grey in the color scheme
These particular elements are often changed to deviate far away from Miku's original mascot, making it disputable as to whether they truly resemble the original. For example, it is hard to draw a connection between very different designs of cut-off sleeves or bi-chrome colour schemes. This makes influence less likely.
In addition, the name of the Vocaloid follows Crypton Future Media's style with a description of the voice as the surname of the Vocaloid. The name itself often has a hidden second meaning such as "Hatsune Miku" meaning "first sound of the future". Commonly the surname contains the 音(Ne, 'sound') kanji, copying further more the style of Crypton's Vocaloids. In the most extreme cases seen in UTAU and fanmade designs, the mascot designs in question will also go so far as to copy KEI's art style. However, this has only occurred once outside fanmades, with Utatane Piko (歌手音ピコ).
Formulas for success are already found outside of Vocaloid software in books, movies, games and television already and are also often applied to something to allow the developers time to focus on other aspects of the end product without having to worry about the consequences of experimenting with unknown or complex elements. Thus, use of one in Vocaloid mascot character design is nothing new. In fact many common stereotyping of characters, designs and storyline elements seen in modern culture are built upon established or pre-set formulas from existing works.
Some developers use it for its familiarity, based on Miku's own success, but fans may lose interest in a particular design out of boredom - feeling there is a lack of originality. In the opposite direction, going against the formula and creating a design that does not use any of the elements of the formula is said to create a product that stands out and becomes more easily distinguished from others. However, doing this can have the disadvantage of alienating fans from what they are familiar with or have a product that does not fit in with the other Vocaloid designs, as seen with Sweet Ann and Big Al's original designs. Thus there are some grounds for borrowing aspects of the design, so long as the developer does not create a literal clone of any existing design. Bruno and Clara initally recieved much hate for their artwork pre-release and Voctro Labs. The solution they adopted was to run a contest for the pair and allow the fandom to make new improved versions of their designs for the Vocaloids, the entries were then voted on and the winner became the new look for the two. This has been one of the most notable consquences of trying something new with Vocaloid character designs. This also demonstrates how some fans are easily put off of Vocaloids whose art they do not feel is to their liking; despite the focus and point of Vocaloid being fixed on vocals. Sometimes the art is rejected for technical reasons, maybe being seen as of a lower standard, or in the case of Sweet Ann, being considered frightening.
In the case of Ring and Lui, their designs were chosen from many different designs in the contest by Japanese fans themselves via voting. The designs were sometimes received negatively by the western fandom because both new and original designs reminded people of other Vocaloids. The fact that Japanese fans choose these characters despite their controversial designs could indicate that a large proportion of fans themselves find designs similar to Miku's own appealing.
There is potential conflict between companies over rights to specific designs. At the most the Vocaloids said to be borrowing elements of existing Vocaloid design will take basic parts of them and then proceed to build a unique design on top of those basic elements. However there has been no legal issues so far, because no official Vocaloid mascot is yet near a carbon copy of another.
Zero G's Sonika and Internet Co., Ltd's "Gakupo" mascot were confirmed in their developement to have taken pointers from the Crypton Future Media Vocaloids. AH-Software had also made notes on certain aspects of Miku and Rin's design when SF-A2 miki's design was made, although this was just the note on the flexibility Miku's appearance gave to allow a Vocaloid who was 15 to look younger this is why Miki was given a child's body despite looking 14. None of these are yet a basis for legal dispute.
In design contests for Vocaloids, a strong percentage of designs will demostrate a clear influence from current and existing Vocaloids. This makes the contest more difficult to pick a winning design while dodging the potential legal issues surrounding the design between the hosts of the contest and copyright holdings of studios like Crypton Future Media. This issue arose with the winning entry of Vocaloid: China, Yayin Gongyu (now renamed Luo Tianyi and given a new design that still recieves some criticism), who was the only one of the top 5 entries who borrowed aspects from existing Vocaloids, even using the Crypton Future Media name design which was problematic for a Chinese Vocaloid. It was also witnessed even in Sonika's design contest, where a few entries had clear Crypton influences. It would be possible that a design too similar to an existing Vocaloid could cause friction between companies.
Design and Vocal capablitiesEdit
Despite the fact that artwork also has no effect on Vocaloid vocal performance, there are many who judge a Vocaloid upon their initial release getting excited or not based purely on design. Therefore, there is also a risk of a Vocaloid being judged by vocal performance based on the design, with fans downgrading Vocaloid vocals they like because they dislike the design. Vocaloids who have been effected by this include (but not restricted to) Sweet Ann, Megpoid/Gumi and Bruno.
Most Vocaloids have been noted to have pale or Caucasian coloured pigmentation of the skin during both the Vocaloid and Vocaloid2 era of voicebanks, with the lesser being the most noteworthy because of its more driven marketing of Vocaloid character design. As with all character design issues, some minority groups feel left out because their ethnic group appears to not be represented in vocaloid, despite the fact that many influential musicians were "black" or of African descent. Music genres such as jazz, soul and the blues were all highly influential on modern music, yet darker skinned musicians have difficulty getting recognized despite their influence on modern music genres.
For Japanese Vocaloids, this is all a result of their culture. In general characters tend to have pale pigments and therefore since the avatars of their Vocaloids are released into their culture, their Vocaloids follow standard anime influenced designs.
Some cited their reason for liking the Vocaloid Merli upon her design unveiling because it featured "the first Vocaloid with dark skin". However, Merli was actually the 3rd Vocaloid to feature darker skin. Both Bruno and Clara were featured with darker skin colours upon their initial unveiling, while their final designs featured skin colour which was paler, but still the same colour. While this would be considered controversial, it is somewhat debatable if paling the skin would be considered an issue since their final designs were selected as part of a contest via fan vote. Many of the other entries also featured the same skin tone.
It has also been noted that both Leon and Lola were released as "soul singers" in the Vocaloid era, so depending on personal interpretation could have also represented darker coloured tones. However, the lack of a mascot design to begin with has led to both Leon and Lola commonly being portrayed as pale or Caucasian coloured pigmentation skin tones based on their most popular fan-made based character designs. Furthermore some individuals have difficulty viewing them without using their most common design at all. Thus, this can often eliminate the chances of them being depicted with darker skin tones despite the genre they were released to support. There are pale skinned singers in Soul music, particularly British soul music (and being made by a British company, this is also plausible for Leon and Lola to not be featured with darker skin), but these singers are still a small percentage of the singers within the soul genre. In the case of Leon's most common fan design, this design was merely based on the fact that Leon was made by a western studio as opposed to a Japanese one and the design is based on a stereotypical westerner design.
Some producers treat the Vocaloids like they are dolls and that they can make a Vocaloid do anything they want. The agreements of the Vocaloid license prohibit users from producing works which are considered degrading, aimed at underminding individuals or controversial, but this does not stop users from doing such acts. The result is some songs such as "Wash My Blood" become subject to outcry for their lyrics or topic matters. In this particular song, Luka is often taken to be portrayed as a nun who broke her vows and had sex, then aborted her unborn child. For some cultures, this is simply unacceptable behaviour, making the song controversial if this is taken as the interpretation.
As noted by Crypton Future Media in regards to their Project If..., releases presented as young children risk becoming subject to pedophilic sexual portrayals. In particular Ah Software's first few Vocaloids and voiceroid products caught attention and were accused of serving to fulfill the lolicon fandom.
Vocaloid + PoliticsEdit
Miku was also the subject of one of the most controversial uses of the legal agreements of any Vocaloid producing studio from the Democratic Party of Japan, whose running candidate, Kenzo Fujisue, attempted to secure the use of Miku's image in the Japanese House of Councillors election of July 11, 2010. The hope was that the party could use her image to appeal to younger voters. Although Crypton Future Media rejected the party's use of her image or name for political purposes, Fujisue released the song "We Are the One" using her voice on Youtube, by simply replacing her image with the party's character in the music video.
Another polictical issue that has haunted Vocaloid is racism, generally this comes mostly from the Japanese Vocaloid fandom, although it is NOT absent from the overseas fandom either. Some producers like "SolPie" have failed to establish themselves because they were Chinese or Korean, when they uploaded their work onto Nico Nico Douga they were met with hate or flame. Some producers have managed to tolerate it, but others have been put off venturing into Japanese websites for it and instead use other websites like Youtube or Crecrew.
The racial intolerance issue has also been extended to Vocaloids and while SeeU is largely popular in the overseas fandom, within the Japanese fandom she is ignored or recieves hatred. Her voicebank has recieved little use in Japan despite Yamaha's advertisements and the inclusion of a Japanese voicebank.
Plagiarism and other forms of copyright infringement have caused both drama and serious consequences for those involved. Plagiarism and copyright infringement often overlap each other and as serious as the act either can be, it is particularly innocent as it affects only the naive individuals who are unaware of what they or anyone else has done. Some specific cases of plagiarism or direct copyright violation, however have become particularly famous.
A example of direct violation of this level issue being the numerous Lady Gaga covers that use the background music of her song "Bad Romance". This is one of the most common occurrences of this level of act, and even when granted that the uploader acknowledges the owner, some labels such as Sony Entertainment have know to defend their property and pull the video. Karen-T, Crypton Future Media's own label, tends to only pull PVs and videos that have been re-uploaded from their original source.
Usually, when fans commit acts such as use of illegal Vocaloids, other Vocaloid fans may drop the license holder an alert of what videos the user has uploaded. The result may be that the entire uploaders account ends up being removed or closed. Cover songs, therefore, are dangerous grounds that easily violate copyright without care and even experienced users such as Giuseppe have been a target for such acts. However, not all copyright claims have proven to be genuine with some false claims made every so often. For example, SEGA has been known to claim copyright on certain songs such as "World is Mine" even though their copyright of the song is only via the Project Diva games. This does not mean that the uploader was not in the clear, as Japanese producers rarely give permission for their works to be re-submitted outside of their own account and the vast majority find it upsetting.
Some Youtube re-uploaders also claim their re-submission, usually done without permission, help promote the Vocaloid artists despite upsetting them in the process. Regardless of circumstances, the main issue has always been a result of the fact Vocaloid itself is a commericial product and open for anyone to use as they please and despite there being licensing agreements in place there is little studios can do to prevent this from occurring.
Yunomi-P was subjected to hate after being forced to admit plagiarism when Vocaloid fans began to notice works by the artist were often from other sources. The stress and drama surrounding the event caused the artist to retire from Vocaloid illustrations. Songs where Yunomi had done the illustrations were targeted by trolls and anti-Yunomi messages. Karen-T also was forced to remove some songs from their listings such as Magnet while the issue was resolved. In January 2011, Japanese boyband KAT-TUN were forced to admit plagiarism against their song "Never×Over~「-」Is Your Part~", after the producer of the song admitted it was influenced by the Vocaloid song "Dye" produced by AVTechNO, after fans expressed their outrage over the similarities of the two songs. AVTechNO went down on record as stating that the band was not at fault and it was the producer of the song who committed the plagiarism.
Often, the drama was uncalled for and unnecessary. Yunomi's plagiarism, for example, was not a direct violation of copyright material as the images were used mostly as source material or were already from stock images, the use of which is common in the art world already. KAT-TUN's indirect violation resulted in both the songs "Dye" and "Never×Over~「-」Is Your Part~" receiving a particularly large amount of attention, with "Dye" itself receiving a previously unseen amount of views on Nico Nico Douga and Youtube.
The song known to Vocaloids fans as "Secret" is an example.Originally it was stolen from the account of Ryuuuu by aRth (who stole many other songs from Ryuuuu and other Producers). However, aRth's act of stealing the song results in Ryuuuu's otherwise previously unknown song receiving much fame and attention on a song that otherwise may not have had the attention it had.
A cause for controversal concern is also language capablities and is based around language capablities and abilities. While Vocaloids are able to sing certain languages, this has not stopped Producers attempting to use them for lyrics beyond what they were designed for. For instance, having Miku sing in "World is Mine" the lyrics "hey baby". So while it is true you can warped currently phonetics into new words, a Vocaloid cannot fully replace a language it was not programmed for, despite what fans or producers may claim otherwise.
One Language Vs AnotherEdit
One of the oldest claims and controversial issues related to language spurns from Vocaloids earliest days in 2007-2008 when Miku's sudden rise to popularity occure. A sudden rediscovery of English vocals led to a sudden interest in ones like Leon, Lola, and Miriam who were released prior to Kaito and Meiko in the Vocaloid era.
However, for many English speakers, the reaction towards the English Vocaloids were often mixed and many were biased towards them for their contrasting portrayals to the Japanese Vocaloids and different marketing.
Furthermore, because many could hear the flaws of their own language, the results were that English Vocaloids were often labelled "low-quality" in comparison to Japanese Vocaloids. Further more, many myths were passed amongst Vocaloid fans, such as Luka's Japanese voicebank was able to produce better English results then her English one.
For a variety of reasons, English Vocaloids had many more hurdles to leap over than Japanese ones as they tended to attracted negative responses more then positive. Over time interest has risen in regards to them and in 2010 Crypton Future Media announced English voicebanks for Miku, since there was marketing value in English voicebanks when it came to selling songs to overseas fans. Later in 2011 and 2012, Meiko, Kaito and the Kagamines were announced as having English voicebanks also. Gumi also joined the ranks of English voicebank production and along with SeeU for the first time the number of known English voicebanks being produced reached over 10, whereas in the past the most seen coming were 3 (Luka, Sonika and Big Al). Further more, Oliver managed to gain a large audience from his demos, sucessfully gaining views on his demos "Circus Monster" and "Scarborough Fair", putting the response to his demo songs on par with Japanese Vocaloids. Furthermore, his voicebank gained more interest then a few of the Japanese Vocaloid 3 vocals, which was unheard. By July 2012, Oliver's "Circus Monster" and "Scarborough Fair" demos had gained 60,000+ views, whereas previously most English Vocaloids had struggled to get views about a 10,000+ within their first year.
Also, as Vocaloid expanded into new languages, it has become increasingly difficult for many past myths and claims to maintain their strength. This along with information on vocaloid becoming more easy to access has managed to clarify some of the incorrectness on them. However, there are still some issues based on language remaining leaving Clara, Bruno and SeeU still facing discrimination based on their language.
So when Sonika was misunderstood to be able to do "any language", Zero-G confirmed it was possible to edit Vocaloids to sound like they are indeed singing words they were not built for. Even though Zero-G never said she could fully replace a voicebank of another language, fans weren't too impressed with any suggestion that Sonika could do any other language besides English and critised Zero-G for it, especially when the comment about editing to make other languages was placed on her product page.
But one Vocaloid who was a subject to controversy claims was SeeU. In the early Vocaloid3 demos, SBS Artech claimed you could use SeeU's voicebank to create English, even though it was set up for Korean and had no support for using it to make English. They even went so far as to label her a "trilingual" Vocaloid, even though with only two voicebanks she was bilingual. Upon inspection of the voicebank, some producers discovered that SeeU had several English phonemes that were not needed for Korean and SBS were again heavily criticised for both the claim and inclusion of phonetics SeeU didn't need. Inclusion of unneeded phonetics is nothing new as every English Vocaloid2 after Prima's release (with the exception of Luka) was given the rolling r phonetic data "R" because Prima couldn't do opera without it. Despite this, this led to jokes about SeeU being made for "Konglish" rather then "Korean" and as of note, criticism for the focus on her English capabilities against the Japanese capabilities she was given thanks to an additional Japanese voicebank.
Eventually SBS artech adressed the language issue by confirming that they will make a English voicebank and stated the reason for the past claims was they wanted to release her with a English voicebank but also wanted to meet the Vocaloid3 release. In the end they did not have time to make a English voicebank and included the phonetic data to allow SeeU to create English as most sounds for English were already in the Korean language. Despite this, as many pointed out, the way the language is structured and the fact she is largely not smooth results in English that is either choppy/broken or odd sounding thanks to a Korean accent. They then confirmed a English voicebank that will allow her to fully do English.
Both Megpoid (song; "Fly me to the Moon") and Mayu (song; "Dreamin'") each had a song where they sung in "English" using their voicebanks. Except, both were using a Japanese voicebank to sing in English. The original "Fly Me to the Moon" demonstration was more welcomed with Megpoid then the second version done for her V3 update. Back then, many fans were interested by her more closer English pronunciations than past Japanese Vocaloids, as a common western practice was to use Japanese Vocaloids for English because some fans preferred their vocals over what the English vocals offered. However, by the second time the demo appeared it was questioned why Internet.Co was persisting with the same demo song when its also possible to do a version with Japanese lyrics. For Mayu's demonstration, English fans have also complained that they can barely understand Mayu's "English".
A similar prospect can also be said for English Vocaloids who have been used for demonstrations in other languages, such as what was seen in demos for Prima and Tonio. Some argue that showing a demo with the Vocaloid being forced to sing in a language they were not designed for is a bad demonstration of the Vocaloids capabilities, since it can generate a wrong impression of the real strengths and weakness of the voicebank, either making believe a voicebank is more flexible than it's in the reality or showing some flaws that aren't present in its original language as the voice pushed away from their safe zone. This wrong impression can be worst if the listener isn't a native speaker, or at least someone with a deep knowledge of that that language.
- Zettai Ryouiki - Pixivpedia's Article (English)
- TVTropes: Zettai Ryouiki
- VOCALOIDs Unofficial illustrations
- ↑ Okada, Yuka (February 22, 2008). "クリプトン・フューチャー・メディアに聞く（2）：「初音ミク」ができるまで [Interview with Crypton Future Media (2): How Hatsune Miku Was Born]" (in Japanese). IT Media. p. 1. http://www.itmedia.co.jp/news/articles/0802/22/news013.html. Retrieved February 28, 2008.
- ↑ "Zero-G Interview: Dom Keefe (Vocaloid Production)". Engloids. Wordpress. January 28, 2010. http://engloids.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/zero-g-interview-dom-keefe-vocaloid-production/#more-383. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
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- ↑ [ http://vocaloidotaku.net/index.php?/topic/26879-gdgd-fairies-bd-cover-copies-off-of-mikus-boxart/ link]
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- ↑  Livedoor News -「初音ミク」で選挙活動計画 「政治利用ダメ」で民主議員頓挫 June 30,2010 -- Election Activity Plan Standstill of a Democratic Diet member with "Don't Use Politics"
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