A lot of netizens had used peer-to-peer (P2P) websites to listen to music, to gather information and to share music files. It led to the music industry's depression. From 2000 the widely used P2P service rapidly decreased the domestic record sales. To revitalize the stagnant record market, the government revised the Copyright Act last October and the revised law took effect from Jan. 16, 2005.......Ed.
Some time ago it was exposed that lawmakers were using files in their homepages without permission. The fact that almost of them who supported the revision were doing it stirred up netizens. Many people fell into confusion due to the vague standards of the new law. This triggered a second revision. The second reform is scheduled for early April. The government, the Authors' League and NGOs want to root out the problems for substantial amendments. The seminar related to the Copyright Law was held by lawmakers on Feb. 16 and public hearings to discuss the issue is due on March 8.
Main Issue of the Enacted Bill
There are illegal acts related to students.
Copying teaching materials
A lot of students copy materials to save money. Copying a few sheets is allowed. But copying a whole book is unlawful. Almost all copied books are foreign books. So, USA publishers are pressuring Korea to prevent copying.
Copying a report
When students write a report, they consult a book or other sources. In the process of writing, students quote from books or sources. It is permitted to cite them as long as students disclose the source; otherwise, the action is illegal according to the Copyright Act. But excessive citing is illegal.
Using digital library outside public library
Digital library is connected with each public library and each book's transmission is only one volume. So it is unlawful to utilize the digital library outside the public library.
Uploading creations on the web without permission
Netizens have put music files, poems and news on websites, homepages and P2P sites to collect and share with other people. This, too, is unlawful. The new revision has strengthened surveillance.
The Law Began in January
A lot of netizens are repulsed by the new measures, because authorities are clamping down on unlawful distribution. To avoid the new regulations, users are using music files through adroit methods. But copyright holders are disseminating fake files into P2P sites to confuse netizens. So netizens are moving to the Webhard, which is a website that can avoid the crackdown. But the authorities ordered Webhard to end its service. To avoid the regulations, some netizens are using foreign websites. The hide-and-seek between authorities and netizens is continuing.
Copyright holders have entered a lawsuit against the music websites. Bugsmusic, which offers a music streaming service, lost a violation of copyright suit and Soribada, a P2P site, lost a suit for aiding and abetting infringement.
However, netizens' opposition is gathering strength. They are campaigning against the new law through the Internet. They held a disobedience campaign against the copyright law and a campaign sending patriotic song to lawmakers. There was a one person demonstration, too.
Why are people against the law?
The Problem Related to Copyright Law
-Copyright holders stand
The copyright holders stated their position at the seminar on Feb. 16. Copyright holders raised an objection on reproduction for individual use. According to the law, it is hard to know what individual duplication is; so there is room for criticism. They indicated an indefinite standard about that and insist that private use must be establish definitely. Above all, it is necessary to change the users' recognition.
And for smooth appliance copyright deliberation & mediation the committee's role has to be strengthened. The copyright deliberation & mediation committee's authority is too weak, so the formation of a law-abiding spirit is not happening. This is the authorities' explanation for the measure to settle the new order.
Civil organization's stand
The users and civil organizations take account of repression related to liberal communication. They insist that the authorities would permit open use if there were not a financial loss. In addition, the holders want to persuade the netizens to recognize the Copyright Act. By respecting the law the users appear to be law-abiding.
It is also illogical that the law speaks for only the rightful authorities. "If it didn't contributed to cultural development, it would guarantee the rights of users," said Yang Hui-jin, Board Member of Intellectual Property Left.
A lot of countries have tried to solve copyright piracy problems. But an infringement of copyright became an inevitable problem with improved Internet service.
The government and civil groups are to hold separate public hearings in March. Netizens must see both sides of an issue and keep the law. On the other hand, the copyrighters should consider the users' rights to contribute to cultural growth and provide a suitable system of payment. Ahead of the re-revised Copyright Act, the government has to examine the situation closely.
Interview with Yang Hui-jin, Board Member of IP Left
"Ironically, if there is no limitation, we wouldn't have to recognize an author at all. It is essential to limit the copyright. The Copyright Act will protect both users and copyrighters rights. An apt regulation is just. University students have to utilize and share information within legal limits. This process will lead to cultural development. The Copyright Act is needed to protect both copyright holders and users. In the situation, copywriters and netizens need to modify their positions to find their rights."
Park Nu-ri email@example.com
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