South Korea prepares to nuke its technological competitiveness with a three-strikes copyright rule

Joe sez, "South Korea is arguably one of the world's most internet-connected countries. Regrettably, the corrupt dinosaurs in the Korean National Assembly have just passed a bill in-committee to use a "three strikes" law against ISP connections there. The law awaits approval by the legislature. New Zealand recently defeated similarly-worded ISP laws. A brief prediction from someone who lives in Korea. Korea is like a high-tech ocean miles-wide and one-inch deep. Once the implications are understood, look for this law to collapse under its own bureaucratic deadweight, or to otherwise morph into the usual scofflaw behavior. Consider the following:"
1. Currently, under Korea's copyright law, there are broad classroom exemptions for educational use of material, without compensation to rightsholders. (Chapter 2, Section 4, Subsection 2, Article 25 ) Look for universities and other public schools to become hotbeds of exemption challenges.

2. PC Bangs (internet cafes) might try to put each other out of business using the new laws. This could result in some cafes using advanced black-box anonymizing services to protect themselves and their customers (not necessarily a bad thing).

3. Korean "netizens" might otherwise protest the new system by seeding government BBS and official websites with infringing links and material, and then use the reporting process to overwhelm the system.

4. This proposed law will push internet services into greater black-market criminal activity. Pirated software can be found everywhere, including software commonly-used by government employees. 99% of Korean software is Windows-based. Korea uses active-X controls for practically everything, meaning the entire country is already prone to security problems.

5. Additionally, the use of the internet for organizing civil protest in Korea has been highly effective: the recent Mad-cow Disease protests (while factually incorrect) reached hysterical proportions, delaying implementation of the US-Korea Free-Trade Agreement. Korea still has national security laws against criticizing the government. Online K-blogger Minerva was arrested because he brought to light the Korean government's economic manipulations. With an unstable currency and an undercurrent of restlessness among its populace, the government has been greatly embarrassed. Look for this law to be the perfect tool for Korea to once-again shoot itself in the foot.

Three Strikes, Movie Copyright and The Mad Cow Coming Home to Roost (Thanks, Joe!)


  1. Crossing to another part of the world, India has one of the most entrenched bureaucracies. An Indian friend claims the only reason computers and IT caught on and became big business in India was that the government was slow to regulate.
    Korea is a very vital high tech country. They picked up and ran with DTV while Japan ignored it. They make many of our memory chips.
    My advice to them on copyright is that they should accept cases on their court calendar but not permit injunctions. When the case finally comes to trial in the next century both litigants will be faint memories.

  2. Don’t these governments/people GET IT? It makes me want to copyright a file (my idea, mind you, don’t steal it now) that just says, NONSENSENONSENSENONSENSE” ad infinitum. Almost a “GOTO 10″. I want to feed these people illegal files from the back end, whether they want them or not, just to prove my own crochety point.

  3. How hard can it be to get those politicians’ IP addresses, then complain three times to their ISP that they violated your copyright in some way? Same goes for every other country contemplating this kind of law.

  4. “Takun” makes a good observation too; law does not work quite they way we would think back in the states. The five notions Cory makes above are pretty shrewd IMHO because they are likely.

  5. I haven’t been here in a while. I consider Boing Boing to be essentially entertainment. I have to remember that it’s also sometimes a great source of news.

    ** Down with corporatocracy! **

  6. Apparently the Korean Government is also going to try to get youtube (Google) to require its citizens to post video or comments with their national ID number and youtube would be compelled to hand over registration material on any posting as well. This would place South Korea in the same league as China in terms of imposing local laws upon Google:

    I also note that there has been no coverage of these issues in the three big newspapers in South Korea as well, all of which have intimate ties to the conservative political party that is in power currently.

  7. everything people living outside Korea can do to help people in Korea post anonymously keeps back the day when their own government will do the same to them. Web freedom and neutrality is EVERYONE’S business. Indeed, it might even be the first human right and freedom ever that actually is universally enforced. Ironic, but your right to free web speech would be realized before your right to clean water

  8. All I care is that this doesn’t keep people from uploading Korean TV shows. Right now, those Korean uploaders are lightning-fast, with shows downloadable just a couple of hours after they originally aired. Depriving the rest of the world from seeing their awesome television shows would be a crime in itself.

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