|Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Bo-gyoon, fourth from left, speaks at a meeting of officials from the ministry and the ruling People Power Party on countermeasures against illegal distribution of Korean cultural content, at the National Assembly, Seoul, Monday. Yonhap
Gov't to cooperate with international police to combat unlawful activities
By Lee Min-young
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Monday an initiative to eliminate unlawful distribution of K-content as it impedes the industry's expansion. This plan involves partnerships with the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Korea Communications Commission and the National Police Agency. The initiative follows President Yoon Suk Yeol's directive to devise a comprehensive government-backed strategy to eradicate illegal content distribution.
The K-content industry, encompassing K-drama, K-pop, K-webtoon and other fields, has gained worldwide popularity and become a driving force for the Korean economy. In 2021, content exports reached $12.45 billion, surpassing that of household electronics, secondary batteries and display panels. As of 2022, Korea was ranked the seventh most culturally influential out of 85 surveyed nations, thereby underlining the potent allure of K-content.
However, behind the global popularity of K-content, the growing shadow of illegal distribution of K-content domestically and abroad has threatened the growth of the industry.
"K-dramas like 'Extraordinary Attorney Woo Young-woo' and 'The Glory' have experienced pirated viewership via illegal streaming sites like 'Noonootv', causing damage estimated at 5 trillion won ($3.9 billion) to the industry," Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Bo-gyoon said during a meeting related to illegal K-content distribution between government, the ruling People Power Party and the public held on the same morning. He stressed the need for proper compensation for creators and a continuing commitment to investment, necessitating the eradication of illegal content distribution.
In response, the government has devised a four-tiered SCSC strategy aimed at eradicating the illegal distribution of K-content. This strategy leverages international alliances, interdepartmental collaboration and private sector resources. The SCSC strategy encapsulates four essential elements: Speed and Strictness, Cooperation, Science, and Change.
The Speed and Strictness strategy aims for a rapid and decisive response to illegal content distribution. This entails enhancing the detection and blocking processes of unlawful sites through an interdepartmental approach. The strategy encompasses swift blocking of copyright infringement sites, implementation of an automatic detection system for illegal platforms, strengthening of penalties for copyright infringement and the promotion of a whistleblowing system.
Moreover, the plan seeks to boost international collaboration to counter illegal content distribution. The government will fortify its cooperation with various countries, including the United States. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will sign agreements with foreign institutions to form joint investigation teams and share information about copyright infringement.
The initiative also involves amplifying the scientific investigation capabilities of those engaged in combatting copyright infringement. To this end, the Ministry's investigation team will be transformed into a Copyright Crime Forensic Investigation Team, focusing on the analysis of digital evidence and the formulation of investigative strategies.
The Change strategy seeks to modify the societal understanding of copyright, advocating for the principle that fair compensation is warranted when using K-content. This strategy encompasses campaigns aimed at transforming public perception of copyright protection and enlightening younger generations about the significance of copyright.
An official from the government stated, "This robust measure will significantly curb illegal activities exploiting content creators. It will reinforce our societal values of fairness and common sense. The government is firmly committed to eradicating illegal K-content distribution by implementing these strategies across all departments."