South Korea Implements New Copyright Law; ISPs Ban P2P Ads; File Sharers Get Summary Trials
from the ch-ch-ch-changes dept
Looks like a bunch of things are happening in South Korea concerning copyright law there, as I keep seeing new (seemingly unrelated) stories pop up having to do with changes in South Korea. We’d already discussed how South Korea had agreed to a three strikes plan a little while, and how other oddities in the new copyright law were leading Google to forbid uploading any music to blogs for fear of running afoul of an incredibly, broadly-worded law.
It appears that Google’s not the only one. Basically any kind of copyright infringement can get you a “strike” — meaning all kinds of the typical “unintentional infringement” that people do every day that are really harmless can now get you kicked offline. So, all sorts of social networking sites are basically warning their users not to do anything potentially infringing. No homemade videos with music in the background. No mentioning song lyrics. On top of this, South Korean search engines have agreed to stop accepting ads for any sort of P2P file sharing service — even if it has perfectly legitimate uses.
About the only slightly reasonable thing we’ve heard is that South Korea is changing the rules for handling lawsuits against those accused of file sharing, basically shifting it from a full trial to something more akin to a small claims court, with the idea being that if someone is found guilty to give them a small fine, rather than the ridiculous numbers the industry usually requests. There was one interesting quote in explaining the reasoning why:
The police say targeting youngsters is unfair because the parents are usually unaware of the illegal activity, and then desperate to come up with the money, the kids resort to theft or other crime to come up with the settlement money demanded by copyright holders.
Nice work, recording industry: apparently you’ve been driving kids to real crime in your effort to stop file sharing. That said, now that the industry has a massively broad three strikes tool to use, it probably doesn’t even need to take as many kids to court. It can just kick them offline.
The crazy thing about this, too, is that the music industry in South Korea has actually been doing a really good job adjusting to the changing market. A huge percentage of folks in South Korea have broadband connections (by which we mean real broadband connections, not what they call broadband in the US), and smart entrepreneurs like JY Park have adapted by changing the business model, recognizing that selling music directly no longer makes sense, but there are plenty of other business models that do. And by embracing that, he’s been able to create some massive stars, and bring in a ton of money. So why do we need this drastic change in the law?