Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Targeting the webcasts?

An article or two of note:

Lee warns of the evils of the Internet
Lee stressed that he is convinced the Internet, if adequately utilized, can greatly contribute to resolving many problems facing mankind, including energy shortages, climate change and aging societies.
Don't forget changing lead into gold! I have a feeling "adequately utilized" should have been "properly utilized. " Another article:

Afreeca head accused of pirating
The arrest of Nowcom head Mun Yong-sik has stirred up the already angry masses who have been staging protests against President Lee Myung-bak for the past month. Prosecutors arrested Mun Monday night on charges of illegally distributing pirated films through online storage services that Nowcom operates. The storage services, PD Box and Club Box, have 9 million and 8 million registered members, respectively.

Nowcom also operates the self-broadcasting Web site Afreeca (, which has become one of the most popular Internet forums for protesters to get information on rallying points and riot police presence. Demonstrators also use the site to upload footage from the anti-U.S. beef rallies that they recorded with camera phones and camcorders.
This Korea Times article, which looked at the webcasting of the protests, gives some figures on the number of viewers:
According to Korean Click, an Internet media research firm, the number of visitors to Afreeca and OhMyNews has more than doubled over the last one month. They had an average of 600,000 visitors per week before, now almost 2 million.Another company Rankey's research showed that 720,000 people watched the rally through Afreeca over the night from May 31 to June 1 ― more than double the figure two weeks before on May 18.
The Joongang Ilbo article continues:
Some say [the webcasting] is what’s really behind Mun’s arrest. “The arrests naturally make us question whether the government authorities are conducting this probe with a politically motivated intention to prevent the expansion of candlelight vigils,” the company said in a statement posted on
I'd assume that if this was about piracy, the prosecution would be told to back off for the moment and not arrest the head of a popular webcasting company at this rather sensitive time. Which tends to make me think the arrest is entirely political. [Or I may be totally wrong about this].

The prosecution disagrees:
Prosecutors said is not the target of the investigation. “The film industry has been filing lawsuits against online storage services since March,” said Koo Bon-jin, a senior prosecutor at the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office. “Our investigation is focused on how these storage services are involved in circulating pirated films.”

He said that users are offered free storage services, but the services charge them by the number of bytes they download. This, he said, amounts to illegal distribution of pirated films. He also said the probe found that there were up to 9,000 pirated films stored in Mun’s service.
I'd suggest bittorrent as an alternative, but decentralization and Korea go together like ketchup and cupcakes.

Mmmmm. Cupcakes.


Anonymous said...

Well, the Korean government has been cracking down on piracy (online and offline) for a couple of months now. Plenty of seizures and arrests for offline merchants of black market CDs and DVDs. And there is a major lawsuit(s?) happening against the nine biggest "webhard" piracy systems, with Korea's various entertainment associations urging the government to do more.

Point being, the arrest of Nowcom's Mun is hardly out of the blue.

matt said...

Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn't known about the government's crackdown on piracy. Not my area of focus at all.

I always spend way too much time researching posts, even ones that are quite short, and being annoyed at myself for taking so much time. I didn't do that for this post, and see what I get? Oh well.

Mark Russell said...

Don't worry about missing the crackdown. Your blog is great and regularly explores issues in much more detail than can be found anywhere else.