By Chung Ah-young
While more and more foreigners are enjoying Korean television shows, films, music and games, the content creators are failing miserably to protect their intellectual property, a government survey showed Friday.
People in developing nations are frequently accessing Korean cultural products through illegal Internet downloads and pirated copies. In countries like Brazil, India and Malaysia, around half of consumers appear to access Korean cultural content through unlawful methods, according to a Korea Copyright Commission survey.
The commissions report was based on a survey of about 1,000 people in countries where hallyu or the Korean Wave is newly gaining popularity.
About 57.1 percent of those surveyed in India said they were accessing Korean content illegally, while 56.2 percent of respondents in Malaysia and 48.8 percent in Brazil replied the same.
This is the largest survey done by the commission so far, which shows the consumption behavior of Korean cultural products in developing nations. We plan to expand these surveys, which we believe will help us develop more sophisticated ways to strengthen the protection of intellectual property, said Nam Sung-hyun, an official of the commission.
Among the respondents who said they were accessing Korean content illegally, 70 percent of them were mostly interested in cartoons and other items related to animation. Television dramas and games were also popular.
Predictably, the Internet seems to be the most common source of illegal downloads. About 89 percent of Brazilian respondents who access Korean content unlawfully said they do so through illegal download sites or peer-to-peer networks. About 84.7 percent of the Malaysians accessing unauthorized content were relying on the Internet, although the proportion was lower among Indians at 58.6 percent.
The interesting thing about the Indian market is that most of the illegal content seems to be moved through retailers or rental shops, said Nam.
The survey also shows that the online sites which offer unauthorized content are found to be operated in English showing the far-flung influence of hallyu in the world. In Malaysia and India where English is widely used, the frequency of the access to unauthorized English sites is much higher than that of Brazil.
The survey is expected to raise the awareness about copyright infringement of Korean cultural content as hallyu continues to gain popularity from various parts of the world particularly after Psys international viral hit Gangnam Style. It will help the relevant institutions come up with measures to prevent copyright infringement, said Nam.