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U.S. Places Korea on Priority Watch List

Posted January. 09, 2004 23:11,   


On January 8 (local time), the United States Trade Representative (USTR) specified Korea on their Priority Watch List (PWL), finding fault with the illegal data sharing movement on the Internet regarding the songs and movies which have their own copyrights.

Although the U.S. has added 10 more countries onto their watch list, the conflicts in the Internet music sharing problems are unprecedented, stirring up furious complaints from the relevant industries in Korea. They contradicted this movement, saying, “An excessive pressure on trade.”

“Korea doesn’t grant any exclusive rights of transmission to the copyright holders. The illegal sharing of the movies are also continuing,” remarked the USTR, adding, “We include (Korea) on the priority watch list.”

As to this address, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) on January 9 announced, “The requirements of the U.S., which urges people to obtain permission from the copyright holder whenever they transfer songs and movies through the Internet and broadcast network, crosses over the normal level with which the international agreements deals.”

“The background of the law guaranteeing copyright on the Internet varies in accordance with the digital infrastructures in each different country. For that reason, the requirement of the U.S. is not fair,” added MCT.

“This measure seems to retaliate against the beef import ban which the Korean government recently set,” remarked the chief of the Korean Association of Phonogram Producers, adding, “However, we cannot deny that the popular illegal sharing movement on the Internet shows an aggressive confrontation from the U.S. side.”

Different from the Priority Foreign Countries (PFC) specification, with which the U.S. administration immediately starts inspection and negotiation processes, PWL does not impact any practical and direct influences on the relevant countries. However, as it can affect the PFC specifications, which is scheduled to be carried out this April, a countermeasure is necessary.

If Korea does not accept the requirement for copyright preservation, the U.S. will file a complaint to the WTO. If the WTO assesses the U.S. side’s assertion as reasonable, the U.S. will possess the right to set an embargo.

As a right to send a music album through the Internet, the exclusive right of transmission can be divided into two categories: “Right of Providing Utilization Authority” which sends the data on users’ demand, and “Right of Transmission” which scatters the data around without receiving any requests from the users, such as Internet broadcasting.

The U.S. urges Korea to provide both kinds of right to the copyright holders alike, but Korea is adhering to the position that only the “Right of Providing Utilization Authority” can be utilized through the revision of the related laws and ordinances.

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