Obama’s order may prohibit Pororo

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Obama’s order may prohibit Pororo


Pororo, the beloved star of “Pororo the Little Penguin.” [JoongAng Ilbo]

The U.S. yesterday implemented a new set of sanctions against North Korea, and Pororo, a cute blue cartoon penguin loved by children around the world, may be one of its victims.

Executive Order 13570, which was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in April, states that “the importation into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services or technology from North Korea is prohibited.”

The order, now in effect through the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, bans all exports from North Korea, including products made with parts from North Korea exported from another country.

The ban endangers Pororo, the penguin star of “Pororo the Little Penguin,” a popular Korean animation series. The series was launched in 2003 with the help of a North Korean software animation company, Samcholli General Corporation.

Total revenues from the series were estimated at 383.9 billion won ($357.4 million) last February by the Seoul Business Agency, a public organization that supports the growth and marketing of small and medium sized businesses in Seoul.

“The reports have been greatly exaggerated,” said Kim Jong-se of Iconix Entertainment, producer of the series. “We have not received any news yet over the order or even whether the U.S. will deliberate over the episodes.”

Three 52-episode seasons of the show have been made. Samcholli helped with the animation for 18 episodes: 12 from the first season and six from the second.

“The work [Samcholli] did accounted for less than 10 percent of the total work on the episodes,” said Kim.

He said Samcholli was responsible for key frame animation, rendering and synthesizing images. Kim also said Samcholli was a subcontractor and was given $10,000 per episode for season one and $7,500 per episode for season two.

The idea to hire Samcholli wasn’t Iconix’s, but that of Hanaro Telecom, which was acquired by SK Telecom in 2008. Hanaro Telecom had been involved in joint inter-Korean projects in the early 2000s and proposed North Korea take part in animation from 2001 to 2005.

Kim said Pororo has been available in Spanish and Chinese on cable stations in the United States from 2006, but exports there have accounted for only a fraction of their total sales from the series.

Pororo is a joint project between ICONIX Entertainment, Ocon Co.,

SK Broadband and the Education Broadcasting Service.

The order implemented in the U.S. yesterday didn’t go into detail about what goods would be banned from the United States. But it will include all products manufactured in the newly opened Hwanggumpyong economic zone, a joint complex set up by North Korea and China to boost production in the North, and the Rason free economic zone.

The fate of products from Kaesong, the joint industrial project between South and North Korea established six years ago, is uncertain.

Dick Nanto, a specialist in trade and foreign affairs with the Congressional Research Service, said during a forum in June that the word “indirect” had been added to the order to specifically keep Kaesong-made products from the U.S.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
뽀로로 ‘블랙 리스트’ 올랐다?…“로열티 한번 지급한 적 없는데 그럴리 없다”

한국 애니메이션 ‘뽀롱뽀롱 뽀로로(이하 뽀로로)’가 미국 대북제재 리스트에 올랐다는 일부 보도에 대해 정부가 확인 작업에 나섰다.

미 재무부는 새로운 대북제재 행정명령을 구체화한 시행령을 최근 관보에 게재했다. 미 자유아시아방송(RFA)은 22일 “시행령엔 북한 인력이 참여해 만든 남북합작영화 등이 미국에 수출되기 위해선 별도의 심사과정을 거쳐야 한다”며 “뽀로로도 북한의 삼천리총회사가 제작에 참여했기 때문에 규제 대상에 포함된다”고 보도했다.

그러나 뽀로로 공동제작사 ‘오콘’ 김일호 대표는 “북한이 2002년 시즌1 제작에 참여한 것은 맞지만 저작권ㆍ방영권 등이 없고 로열티를 받아간 적도 없다”며 “시즌2ㆍ3, 그리고 현재 제작 중인 시즌4에는 전혀 관련되지 않았다”고 밝혔다. 대북제재의 목적이 북한으로 흘러가는 자금줄을 막는 것인데 뽀로로는 그렇지 않다는 것이다.

당시 삼천리총회사는 캐릭터들의 움직임을 표현하는 컴퓨터 그래픽 작업을 했다. 김일성종합대학, 김책공대 출신 등 우수 인재 20여 명이 모여 10개월 정도 작업했으며 이는 시즌1 전체의 5분의 1에 해당한다.

현재 정부는 뽀로로가 대북제재 기준에 포함되는지 확인 중에 있다. 문화체육관광부 김종률 문화콘텐트산업실장은 “외교부와 협의해서 관보에 게재된 제재 기준이 무엇인지, 뽀로로의 제작 과정을 미국이 상세히 알고 있는지 등에 대해 알아보고 있다”며 “만약 뽀로로가 포함된다면 재심을 요청하는 등 정부 차원에서 조치를 취할 것”이라고 말했다. 뽀로로는 전세계 110여 개국에 수출돼 인기를 끌고 있다.
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