Friday, May 18, 2007

Korean Piracy? Whadda’goin’do?

The recent BSA survey on global software piracy supports an answer I give to a common question on IP in Korea, "If Korea's IP regime has changed so much in the past few years, why are violations of copyrights still common?"
One feature of the Korean system is that a rights holder has to take a large role in getting the law enforced (in fact this is true with a lot of Korean law). Companies have to sacrifice the time, effort, and money to protect them. The problem is the payout is rarely worth it when it comes to things like copyright infringement.
For example the BSA report, as the Chosun Ilbo writes:
According to the study, Korea's software piracy rate was 45 percent, which is one percentage point less than in 2005. But Korea's piracy rate is still 10 percentage points higher than the global average, ranking it 77th among 102 nations.
So piracy in Korea's piracy problem is worse than average (or better depending upon your perspective). However consider the following figures for the value of piracy in the BSA study:
US $7,289(mil)           
Japan 1,789           
Germany  1,642
China             5,429
UK              1,670           
France            2,676                       
Italy                1,403           
Spain                 865                       
Canada             784                       
India              1,275                       
Brazil             1,148                       
South Korea     440                       
Mexico              748                       
Russia            2,197                       
Australia            515                       
Netherlands      419                       
Switzerland       324                       
Belgium             222                       
Turkey                314                       
Sweden             313                       
(note: countries selected and ranked by the top 20 global economies based on this Wikipedia page)
As you can clearly see Korea's $440 million worth of piracy is not even in the top ten. So I ask you, if you were in charge of allocating resources to enforcement efforts in the World, how much money would you dedicate to Korea?


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