09 March 2013

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About Bullies and KDrama Viewing Pleasure Turned Sour (Part II)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on March 09, 2013
This week, DramaFever did something they are probably deeply regretting right now. The short version: DramaFever "mistakenly" sent DramaBeans a DMCA notice to take down L7CS screencaps (yes, you read correctly) - oh, sorry, "third parties" did, not DramaFever, no no, they would never do that to their friends! I you need more details read this - this - and this. Oh, and don't forget this: the "apology", with a long list of awesome comments. To say people are angry would be an understatement.
So, this is Part II of my account of how KDramaland has gotten ugly lately. This is not about the rotten entertainment world (see Part I) but about the rotten greed of a company trying to monopolize KDrama watching. A company that seems to confuse the protection of licensed content that is 'theirs' (though that label is a far stretch already, let's be honest) with a coercive business strategy that seems geared solely towards making sure people all over the world can only watch KDrama on their site in the future.
As long as I can watch him, I don't care. lol
I've always hated bullies the most. Bullies have nothing going for them. They terrorize others because they can. They are usually quite dumb and the only thing they know how to use well are their muscles. When I got the chance as a kid, I went after the bullies. One particularly fond childhood memory I have? Pressing a bully's face into the snow again and again, as a punishment for his bullying behavior towards my friend and neighbor. A perfect mixture of power and love was what I was feeling that day.

The rage that Dramafever's latest DMCA bullying unleashed in the Dramabeans community fills me with a similar feeling. This is the community I have come to love. And it is awesome. We meet on certain blogs (mainly Dramabeans, especially on the Open Threads on Fridays) or on Twitter, we talk about KDrama and life in general, and many members of this community do something for the greater good of this community; be it blogging, be it doing various subbing tasks, be it providing links to subs and torrents. Or be it just being there, discussing things with others, being awesome. This community is about enjoying and appreciating something "Made in Korea": Korean Dramas and KPop and anything else related to Korea (like food).
and about him
This community has been steadily growing over the last few years. And this makes it interesting for the money-hungry. Granted, not every activity related to KDrama watching is legal (more on that in another post) and not every business is evil. But does this community accept a company that tries to become the sole provider of KDrama AND sees itself as a global policeman, going after small, cherished sites and blogs for hosting allegedly "illegal" content?
No, it does not. And the reasons for this are simple: Dramafever restricts its content to certain regions (mainly US/Canada), due to licensing reasons. Everybody else who wants to watch KDrama needs accessible streaming sites or needs to download. If Dramafever goes after streaming sites and sites that provide subs, they are directly going against ALL the KDrama fans not situated in the States plus Canada. Dramafever may not know, but we are many. And Dramafever's (own) subs are of very low quality. Paying costumers (thanks Shukie for pointing out this typo ... I think I'll just leave it there, thank you! :-) express great dissatisfaction with Dramafever's subs (that is when they don't take subs from free subbing communities without crediting them (old shows) and write their own). It is only natural that they do not want this company to rule this market: it's quality is not good enough.

The good thing: They might make it more difficult for us to watch where and what we want, but they will not be able to dominate KDrama the way they with to. The bad thing: This company will try and will most likely continue to bully everybody else in this market. Including the very pillars of this community (i.e. the subbers). It is quite possible that there are some rough waters ahead for many KDrama lovers - it will be harder to find torrents, it will be harder to get the subs.

Nonetheless, I have come to the conclusion that I am really grateful to Dramafever.

It's because they managed to turn my disgusted sadness (see Part I) into anger. Hot-red flaring rage, in fact, and anger or rage is so much better than dull depressed sadness. Anger is creative, anger burns, and anger transforms. I am confident that this community will not let itself be bullied. Hwaiting! 
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