Three Strikes, Movie Copyright and The Mad Cow Coming Home to Roost

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, 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.

  • dokdoforever

    Speaking of Cows and movies, looks like this is a pretty good movie about an old Korean man and his cow.,0,4448506.story

  • Seth Gecko

    What if people use non-Korean sites?

    Are the Korean authorities only going after Korea sites, and Korean titles?

  • KrZ

    Can anybody living in an apartment tower in Seoul tell me how many open WiFi APs they can get? I would image in such a densely populated city you could get a dozen open APs in almost any large building.

  • StKY

    I don’t even live close enough to a “mega-apartment” complex to take advantage of, and I can still see 4 WiFi networks around my apartment.

  • stafford

    Didn’t work in ol’ NZ and it looks like it’s going to fall apart in the US. Thus a knee jerk adoption here is probably likely. (Am I becoming jaded?)
    On the open wi-fi, a couple of years ago I used to love Seoul – almost every AP you came across was wide open, but more and more they’re being locked down, or at the very least MAC address filtering is activated.
    Mine remains open.
    It’s the ultimate defence.
    It wasn’t me Your Honour. My router was open!

  • cmm

    in my building I can see at least 10 routers. But they are almost all secured.

  • cmm

    “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…”

    this is a little scary. I wonder what other things we’ll be able to get punished for without proof. And, if I get axed from one ISP, can I sign up with another right away?

    Anyway, as long as they let the guys continue to sell me the same movies on the street in front of my apt, I’ll be fine. It’s just as easy to just pay 2,500won to get the DVD with subtitles (korean for the gf, english for me, depending on the language of the movie).

    do PC방’s have CD or DVD burners???

  • Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    I get six or seven open access points in my apartment complex. But I have my own password-protected Airport network running anyway, so I haven’t been in the position to pirate service from any of these others.

    The low level of Korea’s facility with technology is really shocking — my office has seven or eight separate Wi-Fi networks, because our IT staff doesn’t understand how to extend a network. (That’s not the half of what they don’t understand, by the way.)

    Entrusting your network architecture and security configuration to the guys who change the printer toner doesn’t seem the best plan, but hey — here is Korea.

  • goboard

    You’ve been Boing Boing-ed. Prepare for the deluuuge!

  • seokso

    They must be joking. The whole population would be cut off within a week.

  • Darth Babaganoosh

    If they cut off my ISP, I’ll get a new one. If I ever run out of ISPs before my six-month suspension is up, I’ll get a slingbox.

    I don’t pirate movies or TV, but there’s pretty much no other way except P2P to get my TV shows.

  • Darth Babaganoosh

    “movies or TV” should be “movies or music”

  • Pingback: ::A Geek in Korea:: » Blog Archive » Korean “Three Strikes You’re Out” Rule is all around bad.()

  • Bipolar Mindscrew

    Unless they plan on blocking Bittorrent, we should all be safe (thanks to BT’s ability to switch ports and mask its protocol). Those of you who haven’t learned to BT yet better do so soon.

    I only ever used the online disk services to get videos not easily found on Bittorrent, namely K/J-Pr0n… which is illegal in this country anyway, isn’t it?

  • R. Elgin

    This whole business is much more than just downloading a movie but also about more censorship for South Korea (for background: “South Korea Wants to Gag the Noisy Internet Rabble”. No mainstream papers are talking about much of this as well. It goes under or unreported.

    As an ominous footnote to this “three strikes” business, consider also the recent push by the Korean Government to regulate posts to in Korea, requiring one to submit their resident ID number before posting videos or comments.

    If Google complies, it would mark the first time that the company has required visitors to its sites to enter such information, and it could set a precedent for how Google reacts in other countries when its services clash with local laws

    Though I normally do not quote the Hani, one article there notes:

    . . . The company plans to reorganize its site beginning April 1 so that subscribers in South Korea must confirm their real names before posting materials or replies on YouTube Korea. Concurrently April 1 is when the amendment to South Korea’s Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and User Protection will go into effect. It expands the scope of sites subject to the real name registration system to those that have at least 100,000 users per day. (link)

    The only other country that has tried to impose its own rule of law over youtube is China, thus this places South Korea in an odd position as being not quite a democracy but not quite a authoritarian regime, but somewhere in between and with little regards to due process as defined by more than a few countries.

    So, just *when* does a cucumber become a pickle and how deep is this barrel?

  • KrZ

    If you are participating in a torrent posted on a public tracker, and I download that torrent, your IP will be revealed regardless of what port your incoming connections are on. The only way to completely obfuscate your IP is through a proxy or something even more secure such as TOR, which has such low available bandwidth it’s virtually unusable for BT.

  • Pingback: Three Strikes Bill is Destined to Fail in South Korea : Easy Idiot - get better knowledge()

  • Pingback: The Changing Reality of Internet Use in Korea | The Marmot's Hole()

  • Pingback: Internet freedom being curtailed in SOUTH Korea? UPDATED (9 Apr 2009) » Chris in South Korea()