About a month ago the Korean government finally got around to banning Napster type websites in Korea. Up until now people could download movies and songs and pay maybe 50 cents for a movie.
Thats a pretty good deal, but highly illegal, even under Korean law. So it is good to see the governement enforcing copyright law in a sensible manner.
Alas, I spoke too soon
Uri party lawmaker Woo sang-ho is hoping to introduce a bill which ?¢‚Ç¨?ìforces Internet companies to supervise file transactions between their users, and to delete or stop them when the contents are copyrighted materials such as music or video files. The bill also says that the companies would be punished for up to 50 million won in penalty.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù
Korean ISPs are obviously not happy at such a heavy handed approach ?¢‚Ç¨?ì`It is a na?É¬Øve idea that would kill the emerging Internet industry,?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ said the association in a statement. “even if there can be a short-term effects in protecting digital rights. But in the long term it will not benefit the contents?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ owners, let alone the Internet users and service providers.?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢
The problems with this sort of approach are the assumption that you can ban something by trying to stop people doing it. Remember the hugely successful war on drugs. After tens of thousands of deaths, billions of dollars spent, it is nearly impossible to buy drugs ? Oh, wait I must have been smoking something
Potential problems with this bill are:
1. Who pays for the added costs of monitoring file transfers?
2. What happens when you have a legal file with a name similar to some copyrighted material?
eg a home ?¢‚Ç¨?ìStar Wars?¢‚Ç¨¬ù video
3. If a file is mistakenly stopped is there an easy way to complain and get it working again?
Potential ways of avoiding the law
1. Use of Encrypted P2P. If a file is encrypted then the ISP can?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t know what it is.
It probably is only a matter of time before P2P networks become encrypted. When this happens how will an ISP know what is being transferred? Will they then ban encrypted P2P networks because of the law or relax because they can’t supervise encrypted traffic.
Fortunately “Instant messaging services such as MSM Messenger, Web mail and portal services will not be subject to the new law. Only peer-to-peer service and Web hard service will be forced to take actions on the illegal file transactions,?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ said Woo?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s aide Park Seung-nak.