[UPDATE] JapanCinema stole from respected Korean cinema critics, bloggers, Soompi and IMDB

There’s been a lot of buzz today in Asian film internet circles about a certain website stealing a massive amount of content from various sources. Japan Cinema, a website which has been operating for over five years now with a seemingly loyal readership, has been plagiarising many if not most of its film reviews from all over the web – from well-renowned critics to your average Joe IMDB reviewer.

Understandably many writers are angry about the revelations and have been contacting the website directly. Former writers for the website who were unaware of plagiarism have also spoken out against the behaviour of the website’s owner.

Pierce Conran, a well-respected critic who writes for Twitch and the Korean film council’s KoBiz website as well as his own, has been sharing proof throughout the day of the many articles that have been plagiarised by this website.

Chase Whale, another well-respected film critic has also been tweeting screenshots of plagiarised articles, including some from outlets as big as the Village Voice and the Hollywood Reporter.

 

  Blogger Asian Film Strike pointed out some of the irony of the whole situation.  


Many great writers of Korean film criticism such as Pierce Conran and Paul Quinn (of Hangul Celluloid) have had work stolen from as well as bigger Korean entertainment websites like Soompi and a huge number of other writers, IMDB users as well as writers and websites which cover a wide range of cinema from all over East Asia.

With all the evidence it would be hard to argue that this was anything other than sustained, intentional scraping of the content of other websites in order to grow their own. In fact, one former writer for the website who had been previously unaware of these goings on uploaded a vlog revealing messages from the site’s owner showing that not only did he not care but that he had contempt for all the ‘nerds’ who were calling out his bad behaviour. All he wanted was free DVDs.

In response to the situation Japan Cinema has been put into maintenance mode, effectively blocking access to its content, as it’s deals with it ‘internally’. Given that most of the stolen content has been posted under the name Marcello (the founder of the site according to his Linkedin), ‘internally’ in this case may mean inside his own head. He has also recently protected his tweets but luckily for you all I have a screenshot.

japan cinema

Blogging frequently about popular topics like entertainment, it’s not unusual to come across websites that seem to use robots and RSS feeds to automatically scrape and repost content. But these blogs are so obvious that they’re picked up by search engines immediately and languish off the front page of search results never to be read by anyone.

This is different. This is a website that has built up a not insubstantial readership over a long period of time by systematically stealing the hard work of other people and repackaging it as their own.

It might not seem like a big deal but, for many of the people who have been plagiarised, film criticism is a hobby which they are passionate about and for which the main reward is the satisfaction of the work itself. For others who are professionals, their livelihood and reputation has been built on the back of this work.

It’s pretty clear that the owner of this website does not care about much about film or film bloggers at all. But for those of us who do, we should let them know. If you like Japan Cinema on Facebook on follow them on Twitter, remove them and tell them why.

These writers deserve an apology but, unfortunately, it’s starting to look like they won’t get one. A lot of people who write about film, do it for the enjoyment of it. They don’t get any monetary reward. For those that do, their integrity is key to continuing their careers. The least these people deserve is some respect. And stealing their work is deeply disrespectful.

(Oh and if any of those legitimate bloggers who wrote for Japan Cinema want to write about Korean cinema on another website – we promise to value your creativity and integrity. Might as well put it out there.)

UPDATE: The JapanCinema twitter account appears to have been deleted and the website is now completely offline. The Facebook page remains and as of yet their has been no word from the owner of the website.

I’ve also done some digging and found out that this behaviour violates the website’s hosting provider bluehost’s terms of service. I contacted their support team and they seemed to be willing to help so if you are affected by this situation, emailing or tweeting them may help ensure the website does not go back online. This is most likely to work if you personally were plagiarised and have evidence.

 

 

  • Qinlong

    Very well said.

  • http://psycho-drama.com/ j3dmed

    Thanks for the article! The plagiarism is not limited to Korean movies. My site features mainly Japanese movie reviews and news and I’m also a victim of this guy.

    • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

      Sorry to hear that! Yeah I think there were quite a few people who write about Chinese and Hong Kong movies that were also victims, we just focussed on Korean because that’s our thing. But it’s just as terrible whatever country’s cinema you write about!

      • http://psycho-drama.com/ j3dmed

        Yes, I agree and what he did was really horrible notwithstanding the genre or the nationality of the writers and the movies.

        As an update, the twitter account has been deleted already and the site remains offline. There are some behind the scene actions going on at the moment from which many bloggers, including myself, are involved with. Qinlong who also commented here spearheaded a drive via a Facebook group and there are also some other actions (legal and otherwise) being pursued by other bloggers.

        I really hope that site remains offline until he apologize but many think he will not. In any case, he should take all the plagiarized articles out.

        • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

          I hope he apologises also! I don’t know if you guys have tried this but I tweeted his hosting provider bluehost and they seem to be interested in the situation (since it breaches their ToS) so it may be worth contacting them :)

          • http://psycho-drama.com/ j3dmed

            Thanks for the tip! I think there are some bloggers who have followed suit and are now writing bluehost about it. :)

  • http://noona4mthablock.tumblr.com/ Your Noona’s Unnie

    Dang….

  • http://samsoondowntherabbithole.com/ dewaanifordrama

    This is so absolutely appalling! I can’t believe the nerve if this guy. Thanks for posting this. I saw Conran’s tweets yesterday and it made me so angry!

  • http://www.orionsramblings.net/ Orion

    Well said. Such people need to be taught a lesson, because they could easily re-brand and try to screw new people over. Let him pay for what he did and forever remember what happens when those “nerds without a life” get treated this way.

    • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

      True! I’ve updated the post with information about his hosting provider so maybe if people who were plagiarised contact them it might help ensure the website doesn’t go back online.