This is probably copyright infringement, which wouldn't be allowed at all. Most fansubs involve distributing someone else's work without their direct permission, and the material being distributed is so close to the original that Fair Use wouldn't apply.
We see this a lot: Many fansubbers are under the impression that it's okay to distribute their works as long as the original work has not been licensed for distribution in the US. Unfortunately, this is not correct - something need not be licensed for US distribution for it to be protected under copyright law (as Japan is a signatory to the Berne Convention, those copyrights are already enforceable here).
If you think about it, it makes sense: Why would someone even bother to obtain a distribution license if it were already legal to distribute such content?
Also, it's worth considering that even if it's not being officially distributed here, there is some chance for harm to the copyright holder as if the fansub becomes widespread enough that could hurt the feasibility of a US distribution (some would argue that it actually helps - which may be the case, but it's up to the copyright holder and not you or I to decide that).
The correct thing to do is contact the copyright holder directly and get permission to distribute the works. If you can't get permission, you should assume it's not allowed.
- Jeff @ DreamHost
- DH Discussion Forum Admin