South Korea Wants To Allow Its Copyright Protection Agency To Block Sites Allegedly Holding Infringing Material — No Judicial Review Required

from the Chinafication-of-the-Internet dept

These are dark days for freedom on the Internet. As Cory Doctorow wrote in a recent post on Boing Boing: “We are witnessing the realtime, high-speed Chinafication of the western internet.” Country after country is adopting laws that undermine freedom of speech, usually in the name of “enforcing” copyright, which is apparently more important. Add South Korea to that list of shame. The government there is proposing to give its existing Copyright Protection Agency the power to cut off access to Web sites that it says have infringing material. A new campaign, “Stop Internet Censoring“, has been launched to fight the plans:

The censoring proposal is a move to strengthen the Korean three-strikes-out rule and implement the “website shutting down” obligation under the US-Korea FTA. Governmental measures to block, without any prior judicial scrutiny, access to foreign websites that host illegal information is not new. For several years from 1990s, the communication authorities have blocked and filtered contents deemed illegal and violating social norms, including those violating others’ copyright. But the proposed bill is new in that the copyright protection agency holds a power to block website access.

The campaign notes that the idea of giving South Korea’s Copyright Protection Agency this new power is fundamentally flawed. Blocking would be handled by a body whose mandate is biased in favor of the interests of copyright industries, rather than on striking a balance between protection and dissemination of works under copyright. Moreover, the new blocking measure would not be limited to Web sites hosting allegedly infringing materials:

It also covers any information that can infringe any right protected under the Copyright Act, which may include hyperlink and search result. It further includes computer programs or information that may help circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs).

The bill is currently waiting for the approval of South Korean government’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee, the final hurdle before a final vote in the country’s parliament. The campaign urges people to contact the committee members, and provides links to their social media accounts as a way of doing that.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.

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Comments on “South Korea Wants To Allow Its Copyright Protection Agency To Block Sites Allegedly Holding Infringing Material — No Judicial Review Required”

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Horace Ontal-Rule says:

Re: "And EU scientists found a black hole."

Actually, they came up with way to process data to give the appearance of what they expected. That imparts no information, it’s just a trick to justify the expense of the EHT. No one ever has nor ever will directly see a "black hole". The images of dim objects are computer-collated at best.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "And EU scientists found a black hole."

viewing via inference … a tried and true method

Ever played with a spectrometer? It infers what the material composition is based upon measurement of how the material reacts.

btw, black holes occasionally do emit radiation …. but you do not want to see that. Now that I think about it, I doubt you would see it coming.

Horace Ontal-Rule says:

Good. The principle in no way harms any NON-pirate.

Have you kids checked Torrent Freak lately and seen how you’re uniformly LOSING with legislation closing up your loopholes that allow you to steal other people’s work?

The Pirate Bay and other sites will be blocked from India, because the simple bedrock principle world-wide is that those who produce content have Rights, and you who steal it do NOT.

You little fiends are simply breaking the law, all the while shrieking how you’re oppressed because don’t get FREE content, then when legislation comes, you shriek about that.

Copyright as such, others owning what they’ve made, has yet to bother me, but the inevitable reaction that you thieves cause creates real problems. — Your only use for the "collateral damage" is to shriek that you should be allowed to steal.

And this on site where Masnick once claimed to "support copyright"! HA! That was and is a lie: his only intention is to destroy all copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Good. The principle in no way harms any NON-pirate.

You are most definitely the one who puts your fingers in your ears and sings "la la la la la la I can’t hear you la la la la" as everything you just said has been debunked so many times to you in so many ways by so many people that the only way you can still come in and say those things is because you pretend not to hear the people debunking you.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:


Your only use for the "collateral damage" is to shriek that you should be allowed to steal.

Hi there. Let me show you a video:

10 Cool Directing Tricks in Evangelion

Now, under the auspices of this new copyright law, access to that video could technically be blocked in South Korea because it infringes upon the copyright held by Gainax¹. The fact that the footage from Evangelion is used under the principles of Fair Use would seemingly not matter, since this law — like our DMCA takedown system — appears to work under a principle of “guilty until proven innocent”. Under such systems, an accusation is enough to warrant a takedown of the content even if it would be protected by Fair Use because it technically does infringe upon someone else’s copyright.

I can see how you think such a thing is fair; you have long decried the concept of due process (for criminals of all kinds). But for the average person, having to prove your own innocence is far less fair than having the “prosecution” prove your guilt.

¹ — I think Gainax still owns that copyright…

Anonymous Coward says:

and this is the only country, is it? the whole planet is going to be doing the same thing! it started with courts allowing the entertainment industries to pursue whomsoever they wanted, getting sites shut down as they wanted, people jailed as they wanted and even causing the deaths of some people, all because there was no desire to do anything other than stay in complete control of everything possible, just as they had for the last 50+ years! now that has spread so that the people cant find out or pass on information about the rich, the famous and/or the powerful, including politicians, law enforcement heads, judges etc, enabling them to keep what they are up to secret but at the same time knowing everything about everyone else! slavery at it’s best!

Anonymous Coward says:

As a significant contributor[*] of public-domain and/or authorized content to several culturally-important archive sites, I’m more aware than most people of the problems caused by the copyright gestapo. I have seen real copyright thieves. They claim copyright on works that they did not produce. They accuse honest law-abiding people of "piracy" (by which, they mean infringement of their often falsely-claimed property.) They automatically generate HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of false accusations of infringement every DAY. And now, just three of those false accusations can shut down any website from being viewed in Korea. If those false accusations were evenly distributed over all websites at that rate, the copyright thieves could shut down every website on the internet in approximately 6-12 months.

Korea’s agency will do nothing to prevent any of those kinds of copyright theft. But it’ll do everything to empower these copyright thieves to make it more difficult and expensive for free people to lawfully exchange free information.

Now, I am not and never will be a fan of the Grateful Dead, and am willing to believe that any Grateful Dead concert would be illegal by any reasonable "public nuisance" law. But no sane person would confuse public nuisance with terrorism. No matter: no "copyright enforcement" agency has EVER been accused of sanity, and so the internet archive, which also contains such socially-unacceptable content as my father’s dissertation (an analysis of stress-cracks in metal plates), will probably be blocked in Korea almost as quickly as in France.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Dead also allowed the bootleggers if I’m not mistaken, or maybe did something after a while.

Yes, the Grateful Dead explicitly gave permission (and technical support) to their concert customers, to tape the concerts and share the tapes. It’s deceptive to call those fans "bootleggers" because what they did was unquestionably within their lawful rights.

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