[CON] Blaming the producers
Is pre-rating of music videos desirable?
*The Korea Media Rating Board started a pre-rating system for music videos last month. Because many music video files circulated through the Internet have sexual or violent content, concerns arose that they are having a negative impact on Korean youth. The pre-rating system, therefore, was based on the revisions of relevant laws last December . The music community resisted the system by calling it outdated and unrealistic. Different opinions by a parents’ group and the music community are presented below.
It is a regulation that is unfit for the borderless Internet era.
No one can turn down the argument that we should protect the youngsters who are the hope of our country. I would like to ask whether they can be protected effectively through the pre-rating system for music videos.
Because of the reinforced law on privacy protection, there is no way to limit the viewing through a technological method by using personal information such as a person’s resident identification number. That is why overseas Internet sites such as YouTube, which require no authentication, and portals that are not music sites are not restricted. Furthermore, individuals can create video files and post them on the Internet easily.
In this situation, it is possible for a debate to arise that the law is applied unfairly to punish the producers, distributors and online music service providers of Korea.
The Internet is without borders, and the pre-rating system is like an attempt to dodge the sun by creating shade with the palm of a hand.
The Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection states that distributing obscene video material will be punished with a less than one year prison term or a fine of up to 10 million won ($8,930). That shows the problem more evidently.
The Promotion of the Motion Pictures and Video Products Act said distributing music videos that are not rated in advance will be punished with less than two years imprisonment or a fine of 20 million won. The music video producers are punished more severely than the distributors of obscene materials.
Recent surveys showed that the most desired professions of teenagers are singers or idol stars. That shows the youngsters’ envy for the K-pop idols who achieved their dreams with endless practice and passion and a change of perception in our society.
The effective way to protect youngsters is not a pre-rating system of music videos, which is a product of a dusty bureaucracy. It is a leap of logic to say that music videos are harming the youngsters.
Protecting youngsters is an issue that needs to be addressed with a more fundamental reconsideration of social perceptions. The pre-rating system should also be reconsidered to allow youngsters to have the capability to protect themselves and to use their better judgment based on their reasoning.
The United States and Japan already have rating systems to protect the youth. But they are different from the Korean system because the music producers and distributors voluntarily warn the youth when they contain harmful content for a teenager’s viewing.
Recently, the singer Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video was viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube. Since it made its debut only in mid-July, the record became a topic of sensation at home and abroad.
The music industry is proposing to find a more effective method to protect the youth and promote the K-pop wave at the same time. Without an effective policy and regulation, we cannot expect any positive outcome.
Fortunately, the National Assembly is now considering another revision of the relevant laws. I hope the revision will allow the government to present more practical and specific guidelines by taking into account the cultural acceptance abilities of youngsters.
The social responsibility of protecting our youth while also further developing K-pop can be achieved at the same time when the music industry continues its creative activities based on proper guidelines - not the pipe dream of some pen-pushing bureaucrats.
Translation by the Korea JoongAng Daily staff.
*The author is a music producer.
By Kim Chang-hwan