Seoul man accused of pirating 10,000 movies

SEOUL — A warrant for the arrest of a suspect in online pirating was issued Wednesday by the Seoul Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, marking the first time in Korean history that action has been taken against an uploader of illegal movies.

The prosecutor said the man pirated more than 10,000 movie files and submitted them to online storage services and P2P companies for profit. Between September 2006 and April, he allegedly earned almost $100,000 from the online companies.

Using highly sophisticated systems Korean online service providers charge millions of Internet users as little as 23 cents to download movies. To major uploaders of pirated material the companies pay 10% of revenues.

The Prosecutor’s Office began investigating online movie piracy after film industry lobby body the Assn. for the Prevention of Illegal Downloading filed a lawsuit in April, against several ISPs. More than 35 film companies and orgs including the Korean Film Producers Assn. have joined the lawsuit.

“We have asked the ISPs to halt copyright infringement activities on many occasions, but illegal movie piracy and circulation problems have scarcely improved. Ordinary users who paid for the services are also becoming criminals, due to the indifference of the companies,” said an anonymous film producer.

The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating many others. “We’re proceeding with strong investigations into the relevant companies and uploaders, but it’s not easy to enlarge our investigation to general users. This warrant shows that judicial power can be exercised in cases of copyright violation,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

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