It has been confirmed that a large number of popular Korean dramas such as “The Glory” and “Reborn Rich” are still being streamed on illegal Chinese websites.
As of Feb 2nd, a total of 1,671 Korean dramas are being shared on the Chinese streaming site Hanjuwang. In addition to Korea, dramas from China, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand are also serviced through this site. Korea is second only to China (over 5,000 dramas).
Hanjuwang is a site that has been illegally streaming Korean dramas and entertainment contents with subtitles for about 10 years. Copyright issues have been raised several times, but each time, they continue to engage in illegal activities by tricks, such as changing the site address.
JTBC’s “Reborn Rich” and Netflix’s “The Glory“, which were previously problematic due to illegal distribution, are still being streamed on this site. You can watch the entire series through this site even if you do not subscribe to TVING and Netflix. When you click “Play Drama”, a pop-up appears, and advertisement texts pass as subtitles on the play screen. They are making money from advertisements through illegally distributed contents.
Not only famous K-dramas aired a long time ago, but recent dramas such as “Vengeance of the Bride”, “Witch’s Game”, “The Love in Your Eyes”, “Crash Course in Romance”, “Payback”, “Kokdu: Season of Deity”, “Brain Works”, “Trolley”, “Three Bold Siblings”, “Agency”, “Understanding of Love”, “Poong, the Joseon Psychiatrist”, “Strangers Again”, “Red Balloon”, etc. Most of these dramas are being broadcast with Chinese subtitles after the original broadcast in Korea. Exclusive OTT dramas such as Coupang Play’s “Bait”, Watcha’s “The New Employee”, TVING’s “Island” and “Work Later, Drink Now 2” can all be watched on this site. Real-time K-drama streaming rankings are also displayed.
A bigger problem is that all of these contents can be accessed without difficulty even in Korea. In other words, OTT platforms such as Netflix, Watcha, Wavve, and TVING, which can only be viewed by paying a subscription fee, can be viewed for free in Korea using illegal Chinese sites.
Previously in January, the production company of “Reborn Rich” immediately deleted illegally uploaded videos of the drama on Chinese OTT platform iQiyi. In addition, they emphasized that there is no official means to watch the series in China.
On February 2nd, an official from the production company told TV Report that they were “constantly monitoring and sharing the situation” regarding illegal distribution.
Netflix, which is behind “The Glory”, also told TV Report, “It is very unfortunate for us, who believe that good works can be continuously created in an environment where creators pay fair value to their efforts.” At the same time, the OTT platform believes that it can reduce the problem of illegal downloads by providing a service that allows members around the world, including Korea, to enjoy content at the same time every day.
“In fact, in regions where our service has been available for a relatively long time, illegal downloads have significantly decreased. We are working with various monitoring agencies around the world to eradicate illegal distribution,” Netflix expressed.
In 2019, when the movie “The Wandering Earth” was illegally distributed online in China, the authorities responded quickly. However, this was only possible because the film was a domestic content supported by the Chinese government.
Many officials agree that it will be difficult to eradicate the illegal distribution of Korean content in China, unless Chinese authorities begin to take active actions. Since the start of the Hallyu Ban in 2017, there is no way to legally view Korean content in China, and illegal distribution has become more prevalent than before.