Company implicated in Internet piracy case

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Company implicated in Internet piracy case

A popular online content company has been accused of selling illegally uploaded media content on its site, and other companies are suspected of contracting with the same Internet pirate. Industry sources say that cases in which companies deliberately hire someone to upload content to which they have no rights is very rare in Korea.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday arrested a man surnamed Kwon, 37, and charged him with uploading media content, including TV programs and films which had been illegally copied, onto the Internet. Prosecutors also indicted seven others, including a man surnamed Im, 50, the head of a popular online content company identified only as I, without physical detention.

According to Wui Jae-cheon, head prosecutor for the case, “The online content operators systematically maintained close ties to well-known illegal uploaders by paying them” a total of about 372 million won ($323,600). Wui added the office intends to put a stop to uploaders providing illegally copied content. Prosecutors said Im gave Kwon around 12 million won every month from June 2007 through last December to upload films, TV dramas and other shows, all of which had been copied illegally, onto his company’s site. Kwon then created a club on I’s content-sharing site and offered the illegal uploads for sale.

During the time in which Kwon worked for I, Im’s company made around 6.8 billion won in sales, much of which came from selling the illegal content, prosecutors said.

Kwon’s club was large-scale, with around 300,000 members at the time that prosecutors learned about the case. Prosecutors said at first, Kwon downloaded the illegal content by himself, but eventually he hired two employees to help him copy and upload more content.

By Hong Hye-jin, Cho Jae-eun []

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