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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 07:24 GMT
S Korea promises piracy action
By Charles Scanlon
BBC, Seoul

Publicity shot from Lord of the Rings
South Korea is to tackle film and music piracy
South Korea has promised to fight the illegal copying of American films and music following criticism from the United States.

The South Korean government has been stung by allegations that it is a leading violator of American copyright laws.

The foreign ministry said it would continue to strengthen efforts to fight piracy.

The finance minister said laws drawn up in recent months would be implemented this year.

The United States has added South Korea to a priority list of countries subject to special monitoring.


It says the pirating of intellectual property robs Americans and other countries that rely on innovation and technology.

Pirated DVDs are sold openly in South Korean markets and street stalls for just a few dollars each.

Of even more concern is the widespread use of the internet to copy music. Seventy percent of South Koreans have access to broadband connections, the highest level in the world. It takes just a few seconds to select and start downloading the latest releases.

A spokesman for South Korea's own recording industry says it is a serious problem. Record sales have dropped by nearly 40% in the last two years as more and more people get their music for free over the internet.

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