Thursday, June 07, 2007

Korean Police comment on Enforcement

The Korea Times has a very vanilla piece on an impending OCED report on IPR infringement worldwide. No comment on what specifically it will say about Korea however. The article does have this last little part which I guess "localizes" the piece:

But regulators of counterfeit businesses say that buying and selling fake goods within the local market have sharply declined recently.

"Those in the business are realizing that the risk isn't worth it because once they get caught, the penalty and other punishment is far too harsh compared to the profitability,'' said an officer at the Yongsan Police Station.

Itaewon and Dongdaemun, which are well known as hot sports for abundant knockoffs, are less frequented by shoppers, he added. 

At least the first part is true, overall fake goods have declined overall. I beg to differ with the "officer at the Yongsan Police Station" however, penalties really have not changed much in the period of the decline (unless of course he means something ridiculous like over the last 30 years). What's really changed is more companies are making the police act, before all they did (and still do unless prodded) is sit and ask for the Korean equivalent of another doughnut. (and don't get me started on actual penalties handed out! I could rant forever).

Also the two things together bring up something interesting. While the fake problem may have alleviated (and thats a big MAY) in Iteawon and Dongdaemun, its says nothing about the recent growth in Namdaemun, Myongdong, and guerilla operations. Moreover, the fact that Yongsan Electronics Market (under the obvious jurisdiction of the quoted police officer) is still a huge market for counterfeit media and some electronics.


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