As in most of the world, copyright laws in South Korea have been steadily improving in the past several years, especially as they relate to artists’ rights. Indeed, the country’s system has been praised as one that actually works, with Village Roadshow’s Co-Chief Executive Officer Graham Burke referring to its approach of using education, pricing, and availability incentives as “critical” to defeating piracy in a recent forum on the topic.
In 2010, publication The Economist further explained the system in South Korea:
“A year ago South Korea tightened copyright laws and allowed media firms to demand that warnings be sent to people who flout them. If they ignore three such warnings, their broadband connection can then be cut. This provided the model for “three strikes” laws subsequently passed in France and Britain. New figures from the South Korean branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) suggest the pioneering law has had an effect. Music sales rose by more than 10% in 2009, to $159m. In the music business any trend other than a decline is noteworthy.” (Source)
The “three strikes” works this way: every time a South Korean is discovered to be sharing files illegally, he or she is sent a warning message; if after three “strikes” the filesharing continues, their internet connection is disconnected for up to six months.
Before the system was implemented, South Koreans were named number two in the world for music piracy, a report that is widely credited for bringing about the stricter legislation.
Things in North Korea are a different story. Because of government suppression, access to the internet is not as readily available to them as it is to their Southern neighbors, and most people share files the “old school” way: by manually sharing them on DVDs, CDs, drives, or flash drives. Of course, the situation in both Koreas differs from the rest of the world, with even the “modern” South Korean government being accused of suppressing uncomfortable news such as that of the Vietnamese comfort women who claim to have been victimized by Korean military during the Vietnam War.
And the most popular files that people in both North Korea and South Korea share? K-pop music and videos, and soap opera recordings.