AsiaMedia | 29 May 2007
KOREA: No more free downloads of music after FTA
Korea-U.S. free trade agreement tightens copyright regulations on books, music and movies
The Korea Times
Sunday, May 27, 2007
By Yoon Ja-young
The Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) means a lot more than the simple scrapping of tariffs. The full text of the pact released by the government showed that the strengthened protection on intellectual property rights will affect our daily lives.
Photocopying of books
Korea and the United States agreed to prevent illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted works on university campuses and provide effective enforcement against book piracy in a confirmation letter promoting protection and effective enforcement of copyrighted works on university campuses.
Though it was illegal, it was very common for Korean students to photocopy foreign books used as class materials. The copied ones were available at the photocopy shops around the campus, for approximately one-tenth of the original price.
They will now have to buy books in the bookstores, however, as Korea has promised to enhance enforcement activities with respect to underground book piracy operations, and to promote the use of legitimate materials. It will develop campaigns to raise general awareness among the public sector of illegal book printing activities as well as commercial scale operations of illegal reproductions of copyrighted works.
Crackdown on movie downloads
Film industry and record firms have been damaged as an increasing number of people download movies and music. The two parties agreed to shut down Internet sites that permit the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or transmission of copyright works.
Korea also agreed to shut down Internet sites that permit the unauthorized downloading of copyright works, including so-called Webhard services, and provided for more effective enforcement of intellectual property rights on the Internet, including peer-to-peer (p2p) services.
The Korean Alliance against KorUS FTA said portals like Naver and Daum may have to shut down the sites following the measure, however, as unlike previous agreements, it went a step further to shut down the sites.
Most of the movies downloaded illegally from the Internet were taken with a camcorder in movie theaters, but those taking camcorders in to record movies will be punished for their attempt to do so. Currently, only the ones who film and distribute the movies illegally are punished.
The pact also has it that the service provider should expeditiously disclose the alleged infringer to the copyright owners, even without a warrant. The move has Korean portals, which haven’t requested copyright consent for their Web content, concerned, as it would have to provide the personal information of the Korean infringer to the American copyright owner even without a warrant.
llegal DVD sales on street
Many Koreans are used to buying DVDs from vendors on the street, at a price of 10,000 won for three or four movies. It’s a deal that can’t be beaten. These copyright infringers will have a hard time, as they will face stiff penalties including imprisonment if they continue to sell copyright protected materials illegally. The authorities can initiate legal action without the need for a formal complaint by a private party or right holder.