The old and the new
It has been common practice among Korea’s popular Internet content providers, or portals, to recklessly edit news articles from traditional media and rank them according to their tastes, without taking into account the consequences of their actions.
The Korean Association of Newspapers recently turned to the administration and the legislature to seek their cooperation to root out rampant misuse of works by traditional media by electronic content providers.
We believe its list of suggestions have both insight and solutions to the problem of unauthorized and irresponsible news aggregation practices by Web sites.
In short, the newspaper body is seeking two key actions.
First, it demands enforcement of the law and punitive measures to prohibit Internet portals from arbitrary editing of news articles from print media. Second, it calls for tougher action to protect their copyright to published news articles.
The ruling party and other National Assembly members have already started to look into strengthening laws to make Web portals take greater responsibility for the social repercussions they help to create from their abuse of information.
A court recently ruled that portals should take the blame for the spread of false news and malicious comments on the Web.
Internet portals should stop making excuses that they are not the media, but mere providers of news.
Naver.com has said from January it will stop its editing practice when posting articles provided by news organizations. This is not enough. It should follow the example of foreign Web portals where posting of articles is automated. This method can rule out subjective re-publication.
Along with law enforcement on portals, we believe the copyright laws overall should be overhauled as well. Current intellectual property laws protect music and computer software-related rights, but aren’t clear about news items. Articles, photos, illustrations and computer graphic works from print and electronic media also need protection from wholesale piracy.
With distinctive legal grounds, we can stop violation of copyrights in the no-man’s land of unauthorized use of news on the Web.
We ask for laws on Internet portals, not for restrictive purposes, but for fairness.
Portals and news are already inseparable. We therefore must define respective roles and rights so that they can work together.