By Lee Hyo-won
South Korea put stronger anti-piracy rule into practice Thursday in a move to tighten its grip on copyrights on the occasion of the launch of the Korea Copyright Commission.
Interent users accused of illegally sharing copyrighted content are now subject to the "three strikes" rule, and their sites transferring videos, music and text, may be shut down for a maximum of six months. The government said the new provision targets those who engage in sharing a large volume of copyrighted content for commercial gains ― rather than average Internet users.
Regulators are rewarding those protecting cultural content. Soribada (www.soribada.com), a music content Web site, became the first online service provider (OSP) to be officially designated a "clean site" by the authorities.
Soribada was chosen for having functions that protected copyrighted content, including a filtering system that blocks the transfer of illegally copied material to other sites.
Once labeled clean, OSPs are able to enjoy a variety of benefits including exemption from governmental monitoring and supervision. But it can maintain its clean status when it passes the re-examination every six months. Visit www.cleansite.org for more information.
The Korea Copyright Commission merges together two former copyrights organizations. Through a congratulatory letter, Yu In-chon, minister of culture, sports and tourism, said he hopes the commission will boost South Korea's status as a cultural power.
But netizens in one of the most wired countries were wary of the new government regulation, with some scrambling to delete content from their blogs.
"When the Wonder Girls came out with 'Nobody,' netizens uploaded video clips of their versions of the song. The Wonder Girls themselves loved the clips that greatly helped the song gain wider popularity. From now on that will be illegal.
"It's illegal because any second-hand creations will have to have permission from the original source," complained one netizen.