Korea I (eng)
Last week I was in Seoul, Republic of Korea. I had been invited by two representatives of the Korean NGO IPLeft to discuss and talk about the Pirate Party, our role in European governance and the possibilities or outlooks for an Asian Pirate Party movement along the lines of what we see in Europe.
Korea is a quite different place from Europe. Real name registration (providing your real name, social security number and address) when uploading content to an online portal is mandatory, for one. In Europe, the closest counterpart I can think of is the Hungarian proposal to impose mandatory registration of blogs. And while Korea, as Japan, separated the infrastructure owning from the service provision for both mobile phone operators and broadband (fibre), the Korean government has had no qualms about prohibiting non-licensed VoIP providers. ”Three strikes” repercussions or threats thereof are no longer uncommon after the South Korea/US free trade agreement. The Korean situation with regards to ISP liability has even been of concern to European citizens, who fear the EU/South Korea agreement may interfere with the commonly accepted principle of non-liability applied here. OpenWeb.or.kr focuses on making Korean public institutions provide platform independent homepages. Internet Explorer essentially constitutes a monopoly on the Korean market.
I met up with JinBoNet representatives, who run hosting and web services for social movements in Korea. JinBoNet is listed as having been involved with some protests around information society laws around 2000 by Kyoto Journal, and I heard in Seoul that around this time many Koreans were very upset about the then suggested changes in copyright law that would have brought Korea en par with the TRIPS agreement. The JinBoNet logs are in Korean, though, so I can’t browse their archives too efficiently (someone else?). Also met with Creative Commons Korea and listened to a music performance, no doubt unlicensed, by a choir and musicians from a local youth community.
During the Creative Commons meeting, and at talks at Korea University and Hanshin University I heard several times that young people in Korea download without thinking about copyright. An equal number of times I said that that seems very reasonable considering the way human beings in general relate to culture or the sharing of the same (see copyriot.se 2010-10-12 for a brief account of music bloggers not thinking about copyright either). I found Korean young people feel they have a lot to fight for, and see a lot of things they find wrong but without, perhaps, having a place through which to channel their skepticism of the copyright dogmatism and resistance to openness of the web. I would argue that a political party with targetted campaigns and as much fun as we have in Sweden is a way of standing up against the political establishment. If we’re looking at a way of changing the current policy streams, we’re essentially going to have to show that there is a broad lack of support for the currently enforced policies. I said as much.