You may have noticed that episodic recaps for “Goblin” have disappeared from our blog. Despite working hard to produce recaps for all 16 episodes of the hit drama, we felt compelled to remove them after being threatened with legal action for copyright infringement, and out of fear of being unfairly punished by a faceless and murky system.
The fact is, there is no case of copyright infringement. The recaps on our blog are original content written by us, and the screen captures we create constitute fair use, as they are created for review purposes. We watched “Goblin” on legal streaming site, Dramafever, which we pay to access.
We believe that Noonas Over Forks was accidentally lumped in with illegal video streaming and downloading sites by a robot. In December 2016, we received a Notice of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) removal from Google. When we tried to point out that our posts did not contain any copyrighted material, we found ourselves reasoning with an automated system. The DMCA Notices piled up as the bots found our recaps faster than any actual human could confirm whether the allegations were true.
Fortunately for us, we were able to reach out to Dramafever and they called off the third party whose job was to issue take down notices. We resumed recapping “Goblin” and thought the issue was resolved.
Months after “Goblin” had finished airing, we received another DMCA take down notice for copyright infringement, this time from our site host company. We were informed by their legal department that our web hosting account would be suspended pending a resolution of the matter, but we would have to contact the complainant to resolve the matter. In the meantime, we were encouraged to remove the copyright infringing content voluntarily then complete and return a declaration form that pretty much had us admitting our guilt in hope of leniency.
The argument could be made that we had nothing to fear; if we had done nothing wrong, no legal action could be taken against us. However, both Google and our site host, InMotion were prepared to punish us before we had a chance to make our case, and before any human being had actually reviewed our website. Despite online research and consultation with fellow bloggers, we could not figure out what recourse we had to prevent Google and InMotion from making our website disappear on the basis of a false claim.
The entire experience has soured us on recapping Korean dramas. It was an alarming experience to be threatened with obliteration by third party robots acting on behalf of international companies like CJ Entertainment America, and not know how to prove our innocence. As fans who recap for fun and not for profit, we could hardly afford the legal advice that we were being advised to seek.
We share our experience to expose the perils of Kdrama recapping to other enthusiasts. We don’t dare hope for any change in how copyright infringement is dealt with.