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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 17:34 GMT
'Korean Wave' piracy hits music industry
Pavement vendor in Malaysia selling pirated CDs and videos
The US has tried hard to persuade other countries not to allow bootlegging of CDs and videos
The success of Korean music, film and fashion across Asia may be changing the country's attitudes towards bootlegging.

As the 'Korean Wave' in pop culture sweeps across Asia, lax copyright laws in the region are no longer just hurting the big names from the West.

'Korean Wave' is the term used to describe the sudden success of Korean music, film and fashion throughout the region, particularly China.

But the cost of illegal copies of CDs and videos to the country's industry is now substantial - one industry group says illegal copies cost domestic software developers more than 2bn won ($1.5m) in lost sales in October.

"All agree that bootlegging is a problem in Asia and although the Korean government feels it is doing a good job combatting it, the industry doesn't", Burke Josslin of the Korea Herald told the BBC's World Business Report.

Video pirating

Sources at the American Chamber of Commerce told the Korea Herald that while the government had made displays of cracking down on intellectual property theft, both domestic entertainment companies and American companies are unsatisfied with the results.

"Copyright infringement has always been a problem. But with the Korean Wave things have gotton a lot worse", a senior marketing manager at Taewon Entertainment told the Herald.

But the intellectual property rights division at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism argues that while copyright infringement is serious, there were no data to suggest a link to the Korean Wave.

Last month police in Korea broke up a major video pirating operation, signaling that the domestic entertainment industry was under the same threat from copyright violations as foreign companies.

"The illegal distribution of Korean movies will eat away at market reputation and competitivness, which has made great progress in line with the ongoing boom in Korean pop," Yoo In-taek, president of the Film Producers Association in Korea said.

While the US has long criticised Korea over concerns about intellectual property, Burke Josslin says now that Korean companies are seeing their goods disappear into the black market, hard questions are likely to be raised.

Burke Josslin, Korea Herald
"More & more Korean goods are being pirated and sold across asia"
See also:

12 Jun 01 | New Media
Sharp rise in music piracy
10 May 01 | New Media
Rise in seized pirate CDs
07 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
Legal challenge to US piracy law
03 Aug 00 | South Asia
Indian music piracy crackdown
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