TV networks, government in So. Korea lead crack down on copyright infringement

According to a story in Korea Times, Korean television networks and the government are going to institute a new law that will allow the government to close websites and even to take away individual Internet accounts. While this might seem fair, the problem is that the definition of what is copyrighted content, is open enough that it would be easy to censor sites and users. This could be a threat to the democracy in So. Korea, where emotions are running high in the aftermath of the suicide of former President Roh Moo-hyun.

The reaction of the large crowds who gathered to mourn  former President Roh Moo-hyun to current President Lee Myun-bak’s appearance at Roh’s funeral was hostile, suggesting there might be those whom Lee would like to silence. A Buddhist altar in Roh’s hometown, Bongha, which was constructed according to tradition  as a Buddhist rite “49-je” and remains in place for 49 days to accomodate the soul of the deceased before reincarnation, was torn down by police, and though it has been rebuilt. The police plan to disperse mourners and may tear down the altar again if they believe the ceremony is turning into an anti-government demonstration.

…the country will enforce a new anti-file sharing provision that allows regulators to shut down Web sites after a third warning over copyright infringement, regardless of whether or not the copyright holders complained about it.

Internet users accused of illegally sharing copyrighted content will also be subject to the “three-strikes” rule, having their Web accounts severed. Critics argue that the new law could be abused as a censorship tool, due to its loose definition of “copyrighted content,” which could be anything from music and movies to news stories and blog postings.

via The Korea Times.

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