Korean govt orders suspension of online accounts of Copyright infringers

MUMBAI: On 3 November, 2010 Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) ordered the suspension of 11 online accounts of known copyright infringers.

This follows the publication in the Government’s Official Gazette on 4 October of the names of 11 individuals who had three Corrective Orders issued against them for copyright infringement. They had a window period of 24 days in which to challenge the Orders which none of them filed. In accordance with the regulations, an Official Order of Suspension was issued against their Online Service Provider (OSP) accounts within which the three infringements were found to be associated.

Under the Korean Law the suspensions only apply to an infringer’s OSP accounts, not their entire Internet account. In the event any OSP refuses to implement any government ordered suspensions, they too could face penalties under the law.

Korea’s Copyright Law has undergone a number of amendments in recent years to provide greater protection of content online, of which provisions on account suspensions after three orders are perhaps the most notable.

"We take illegal online infringement very seriously. If internet users think that they can violate copyright online despite repeated warning, we will have no choice but to cut off their means of access through their OSP accounts. We are hopeful that the account suspensions will make users appreciate the need to act responsibly," said MCST deputy director T.K. Choi. "We are very encouraged by these suspensions and hope that they will serve as a wake-up call to Korea’s online community. Kudos to the Korean government for taking the lead in this issue and being the first worldwide to take such action. Exposing individuals for copyright infringement by cutting off their OSP connections shows that the authorities do not tolerate illegal online infringement. However, we do hope that the authorities will build on the success of these initial cases to increase the pace of their actions, and in particular to automate their infringement monitoring, identification and notice processes," added Motion Picture Association (MPA), Asia-Pacific Region president and managing director Mike Ellis.

MPA’s local program, the Korean Content and Technology Alliance, has been supporting the MCST and the Korea Copyright Commission (KCC) following the implementation of the new provisions to the Copyright Law.