Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More Facts on the Copyright Bill Come Out

Last month I mentioned a new copyright protection bill in the assembly. I gave it short shrift since I did not know if it was an actual bill, or simply some lawmaker grandstanding. Apparently the bill is gaining some traction. A new Korea Times story gives some more details on the controversial bill:

According to the bill initiated by ruling Uri Party lawmaker Woo Sang-ho, Internet companies, which provide services that allow ``reproduction’’ and ``sharing’’ of digital contents, will be able to introduce measures, such as anti-privacy programs, that control the access and distribution of copyrighted materials at the individual level. 

Furthermore, Internet companies could face punishment if they fail to shut down Web sites, including online communities and weblogs, or personal Internet diaries, that provide unauthorized access to copyrighted content. 

In one of its most debated articles, the bill authorizes the Minister of Culture and Tourism the power to erase unlawfully distributed content on the Internet. 

Under the bill, law enforcement authorities will also be allowed to investigate and punish individuals or companies that distribute content without authorization, even without a complaint filed by the copyright holder.

That last one is pretty suprising actualy. In most cases in Korea, normaly the holder of the intellectual property right has to initiate action to stop infrigemnent (normaly through a preliminary injunction or criminal complaint). The fact the Culture Minister can decide to delete things on the internet is also interesting. The article later mentions that the decision to delete will first be subject to a review by a panel within the Ministry.

The article concludes with the usual suspects complaining or supporting the measure. I do not mean to be dismissive, but you can guess or click the above to read the article.


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