On March 3, 2009, the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting & Communications (CCSTB&C) passed a bill to revise the Copyright Law. The bill includes the so called, “three strikes out” or “graduated response” provision, where if a subscriber is accused of sharing files on the internet — regardless of proof — the Ministry of Culture and Tourism would direct the ISP to cut off the offending subscriber for six months (less than one year).(source) This amended bill is expected to pass the legislature this April.
This sort of idea was originally sponsored by movie companies who have often complained about the internet being used to spread illegal copies of their work, not to mention software companies that lose revenue to pirating.
Korean companies are also currently planning on starting a new movie download service, through the internet:
KTH (Korea Telecom Hitel) and Cine 2li which hold more than 80 percent of Korea’s online movie download rights have jointly launched a legal online content download service via on-line hard disks, pointed out as the hotbed of illegal distribution of online film contents. The service, also slated to be launched by several other small and medium sized companies, including Cinero.com, by the end of the year (2008), is expected to boost Korea’s stagnant film copyright market.
According to some estimates, a tremendous loss of revenue is lost by the Korean entertainment industry due to online pirating (~340 million USD annually). Obviously, the only way a legal on-line service could prosper would be by going after users that pirate. This conceivably may help the Korean movie industry gain more lost revenue if legal on-line movie downloads become an economic success.
As observed by Google, however, who submitted testimony in New Zealand about how Google’s copyright infringement reporting was abused in half of the reports given them, there is currently no viable means to insure that someone is not maliciously being targeted or if citizen reporter’s video is being reported as being a copyright infringement or just what copyright a citizen may be accused of violating.
Additionally, based on the current information available, it is uncertain just who would be doing the reporting upon who but it is a safe bet that the internet in Korea is about to become a much more heavily regulated, filtered and monitored place, complete with “internet guardian angels“. It is also a safe bet to say this is also partly due to a government being blind-sided by the mad cow demonstrations that marked 2008 as the year the internet cornered the Korean Government.