I’m a big fan of Code Lyoko. I watched the show as a kid back when it aired on Cartoon Network, and it may well be the reason I grew a liking for computers and why I am studying for a computer science degree today.
First and foremost: We should be thankful that Mediatoon has decided to re-release Code Lyoko on YouTube.
Second: We should be thankful for the people who have worked on the Code Lyoko upscaling project for the past few years, doing both the upscaling and closed-captioning work that Mediatoon has neglected to do on the work that they now celebrate legal ownership of. While upscaling does not increase quality – only a re-render of the source material can – a neural-network-assisted upscale can help recover lost details that would not look well with a standard upscale.
But despite this, the project’s owners are unexpectedly afraid of publicly re-publishing the Code Lyoko upscales for their work to be accessible, after the death of their YouTube channel when Mediatoon began their uploading. Instead of publishing it in a tracker for seeding (to continue their goal of public accessibility, as they had been doing with their YouTube uploads), instead the team has decided to place the upscaled videos under what is practically lock-and-key, all the while asking for donations and continued support without updating any part of their website (or even the Code Lyoko wiki) to reflect this not-so-recent policy of secrecy.
They have not even made subtitle files available publicly, and they forbid discussion on how to even watch the upscaled footage, save for during their weekly EU broadcasts of it (and the US broadcasts have long since ended).
If they are afraid of legal consequences, then their project is for naught if they cannot or do not wish to distribute it. They are already violating their own policy by broadcasting it on their own terms – the entire project is and has always been illegal.
(And if they refuse to do it, then what stops me from renting a few GPU nodes, upscaling it, and seeding it myself? Not that I should, though, since there is already a channel that has reproduced the efforts of the upscaling project and has yet to be shut down.)
I sent them an email regarding these concerns, but they refuse to discuss it, citing “legal obligations.” My only suspicion is that they have initiated themselves in a non-disclosure agreement with Mediatoon to do something with the upscaled footage. I would be pleased if this is the case, but I would not want to involve myself in participating, with absolutely no compensation (cookies or otherwise), in a project that would ultimately go toward the profit of a commercial entity. If Mediatoon wants their releases subtitled, then hire subtitlers – do not exploit the fans for free work. If Mediatoon wants their releases upscaled, then hire an upscaling team – do not develop a strange, secretive relationship between a corporation and a subset of its fans.
I do not wish to continue this post, because I do not wish to smear the names of either the upscaling team or the current legitimate owners of the franchise. Both parties are comprised of respectable individuals with distinct interests and approaches. However, the opaque manner in which the situation is being dealt with does not indicate a healthy relationship between a franchise and its fan base.