South Korean find no ISP liability for infringing use

February 2005

Record Labels, Internet

The Seoul Central District Court (Appellate) has ruled that the two brothers – Yang Jung-hwan and Il-hwan – behind the South Korean P2P Soribada cannot be held responsible for any copyright violations by the service’s users. The P2P launched in 2000, attracting up to 8M users. The brothers were indicted the following year on charges of contributory infringement of copyrights. The free service closed in 2001 but quickly re-launched as a paid service. South Korea was listed as a ‘priority watch’ country by the US last year following growing concerns over lax piracy enforcement. The Music Industry Association of Korea may appeal the decision. The court accepted that those who use the service are infringing copyrights. But in a separate ruling on the same day, the Seoul High Court said Soribada helped site users infringe on copyright and ordered it to shut down its file-sharing software and its three computer servers, upholding a lower court’s decision. Eleven record companies had filed charges against the P2P music exchange website.


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