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I want to create a website for watching Korean dramas must like this one: https://dramanice.ru/ . I want to add subtitles to all the videos in my language. It would be for educational purposes primarily for people learning Korean.

However, I'm unsure about the copyright law. I read somewhere that if you don't host the videos yourself, then you can use the content without getting in trouble. But what constitutes "hosting the video myself"? If I don't put it on the same server, but have my own private vimeo account for hosting the videos, does that count?

Also, how are websites like dramanice up? When I look at the disclaimer, they mention a few things:

Dramanice are not affiliated with any of the video content and none of the video content are held on our servers. The video content that is displayed originates from social video websites, such as, but not limited to Veoh, YouTube, Dailymotion, Yourupload and Myspace TV. In case of copyright infringement, please directly contact the responsible parties.Dramanice operates as an index and database of Drama content found publicly available on the internet, in principle conducting in the same way as yahoo. However, Dramanice.com strongly believes in the protection of intellectual property and would be willing to assist when possible and applicable. Users who upload to these websites agree not to upload illegal content when creating their user accounts. Dramanice does not accept responsibility for content hosted on third party websites, nor do we upload videos ourselves or encourage others to do so. The videos are streamed directly from the third-party video sharing services mentioned above. All other trademarks, logos, and images are the property of their respective and rightful owners.

So does this mean as long as I don't upload the videos directly onto my server it is ok?

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If all you are doing is hosting a link to the content and/or complying with the host's ToS you are not violating copyright.

But that's not what you are doing.

By providing subtitles (in the original or a different language) you are transforming the work and that is forbidden by copyright law unless the ToS allow it (they normally don't).

If Korean copyright law has a provision similar to the US fair use provision this may qualify. If they have a provision like the Commonwealth fair dealing it probably doesn't qualify.

  • Hi Dale! So the subtitles would not actually be part of the video file itself. It is just an additional .VTT file that is attached to the video player when playing the video. I wouldn't be editing the video file at all. Would this change things at all? – Edmund Jun 20 '17 at 2:15
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    @Edmund No. It is still a derivative work that is protected by copyright because the subtitles are derived from the dialog in the program. Realistically, even under U.S. Fair Use rules this would not qualify. You would need to obtain a license from the copyright holders. – ohwilleke Jun 20 '17 at 3:43

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