Six companies form Webtoon Illegal Distribution response council. This includes Webtoon, Lezhin Entertainment, Ready Co., Ltd, Kakao Page, Topco and Tomics which formed a council responsible for the eradication of illegal distribution of webtoons.
[Disclaimer: the following excerpts are translated using google translate. Accuracy may vary]
From Google Translate:
Webtoon, Lezhin Entertainment, Ready Co., Ltd., Kakao Page, Topco, and Tomics (in alphabetical order) held an agreement ceremony for the’Webtoon Illegal Distribution Response Council’ (hereinafter referred to as the Council) at the Korea Copyright Protection Agency on the 14th. It was held and decided to take legal action to eradicate illegal distribution of webtoons.
This is in response to the growing copyright infringement and decreasing profits among the distribution companies. Hence, the joint response was formed last October of 2020.
According to the webtoon industry, while hundreds of illegal webtoon distribution sites are constantly being mass-produced, copyrights of creators are infringed and profits of distribution companies are decreasing. Accordingly, the council decided to engage in legal joint response between distribution service providers for effective response.
Joint cooperation was also discussed with interpol and national police agency as stated.
“In order to respond to illegal distribution, which is gradually changing intelligently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is also strengthening monitoring of illegal distribution with the Korea Copyright Protection Agency, while conducting joint crackdowns with the National Police Agency and interpol cooperation, etc.
The council was formed in order to increase the response time for piracy with full support from the Korean government.
“If the right holders form a direct council and collaborate on information sharing and legal countermeasures for pirates, it will be possible to respond more easily. The government will also actively support areas in need of assistance.
The act is a response to the scale of copyright infringement centering on distribution sites like Tunco, Funbee, Buzztoon, New Rabbit and Adult-i.com
The following briefing on the scale of copyright infringement announced that as of October 2019, mass domains were being created around the representative illegal distribution sites, Tunco, Funbee, Buzztoon, New Rabbit, and Adult-i.com.
The illegal distributors were also found to have been profiting from it through gift certificates (majority of methods in 2019) and overseas credit cards (majority in 2020) which prompted the joint cooperation.
In addition, the majority of payment methods for copyright infringers were gift certificates (53%) in 2019, while payments through overseas credit cards (90%) accounted for the majority in 2020.
Sites such as Chestnut Rabbit, Uncle and and adult-i.com were already in 2018.
According to the webtoon guide data, it was found that the actual webtoon distribution sites accumulated 258 as of 2020. This is more than doubled compared to 2017 (about 110). In 2018, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the National Police Agency closed 19 sites such as Chestnut Rabbit, Uncle, and Adult-i.com through a joint government crackdown.
The closure of the sites however did nothing to stem the financial damage. The cumulative damage caused by illegal distribution was said to have amounted to 1.86 trillion won, alarming authorities.
The problem of site repetition continues. In addition, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the cumulative damage caused by illegal copying from January 2017 to August 2018 was estimated to amount to 1.86 trillion won. In this atmosphere, each of the contracting companies revealed that they are collecting and monitoring evidence of copyright infringement on 77 illegal sites that have been identified so far.
Due to the nature of such distributions and the scale of financial damage, they deemed it appropriate to cooperate with international authorities and give appropriate legal penalties.
In addition, it plans to respond to illegal distribution through wide exchange and cooperation with private organizations such as the Webtoon Industry Association, copyright committees, relevant authorities such as the police, and writers’ associations, and proceed with legal penalties for those involved.
What this means for the future of manga and how the council hope to address the demands of Korean manga and webtoon overseas remains to be seen.
Quotes were translated through Google translate from: