Those who frequent Kpop gossip blogs may already know that drama addicts Stateside can now enjoy high quality streaming of English-subbed Asian dramas thanks to DramaFever.
The site’s current catalogue is exclusively Korean, but are engaged in conversation with various content owners to expand the catalogue to not only include dramas from Taiwan, China and Japan but to also include bonus materials, photos, music videos and variety shows. [EDITORS NOTE: The website is still in beta mode but priority registration will be given to 8Asians.com readers with the special registration code “8asian”.]
It’s free, completely legal and about time — the only catch is that it’s currently only available to US residents. And for those unaware, I’m located in Canada — pointed out by the funny way I spell catalogue. Fortunately, I was privy to peruse around the site before the geo-blockers got turned on; it pained me so much that I’ve only visited the site once so I will not get hooked onto watching anything available on the site.
This means that I still resort to *cough* alternate means of feeding my Asian drama addiction while the good people at DramaFever.com try to figure out International Distribution rights and how to get their site beamed directly to my house in Canada legally.
So, how do international distribution rights work? A quick overview, after the jump.
The content viewing world is divided up into territories, based on geographic demographics (ie: Territory: United States is not the same as Latin America, similarly English speaking Canada, is not the same as French speaking Canada) and also depends on what the content owners agree to with the distribution companies. Companies, broadcasters and various distribution platforms are then granted licenses in whatever region by the content owners to sell/broadcast/distribute their material in a span of however many years as agreed to in the contract.
It’s a whole bunch of legalese that can drive a person up the wall especially if the word internet gets dropped in. In my experience, NO ONE has EVER granted an International Distribution license with regards to broadcast content; I don’t blame them either. It’s a license everyone vies for that remains in a constant tug of war between internet broadcasters — like DramaFever.com — and content owners.
For people like me, who like to know what’s going on in the world and keep up with the excitement of first run shows, heavily rely on fansubbers uploading cuts on streaming sites like YouTube or Veoh. In the summer of 2008, Korean broadcaster SBS went on a rampage and had YouTube delete many channels I had become regular followers of; my world crashed. One fansubbing uploader in particular got Charice Pempengco noticed by Ellen DeGeneres; she’s now signed with David Foster. The channel’s memorial be found over at MIT’s Research Project YouTomb. The blanket reason for deletion usually is copyright infringement.
And while everything in this world boils down to dollars and cents, DramaFever.com has enough sense to see the opportunity to feed a desired niche market. But I’ll still wait till the Internet International Distribution license gets figured out, or when someone actually takes the risk and grants someone such a license.
As a viewer, I don’t know what’s worse; that I know about DramaFever, or that I can’t get access to them in a timely manner. Really, I don’t want to be a criminal. Being bad was so … 80’s.