[Reporter Shin Young-eun, Daily Economy Star Today]
Kakao Page (CEO Lee Jin-soo) took the lead to protect the rights and interests of creators from illegal webtoon distribution. Kakao Page won the first trial lawsuit against three operators of ‘Adult.com’, an illegal webtoon distribution site, and received a ruling in compensation of 1 billion won.
The 62nd Civil Affairs Department of the Seoul Central District Court illegally downloaded a total of 413 works and 26,618 times serialized on the Kakao Page and Daum Webtoon from June 2017 to May 2019, and uploaded them to’ Adult.com’ without permission. It acknowledged the liability for damages to Kakao Page for infringing the manuscript’s copyright (copyright, distribution right).
The total amount of damage in the webtoon market due to the proliferation of illegal webtoon distribution sites is estimated to be at least 190 billion won. (June, 2019, from Webtoon Guide) Considering the difficulty in calculating the amount of damage in detail, the actual damage is much more It is expected to be large. However, it is a reality that it is difficult in terms of cost and physical for CP companies or writers to respond individually to such massive damage.
Kakao Page is not just a platform, but as Korea’s leading IP company, it has kept its industry leadership through continuous investment in the webtoon and web fiction industries. In addition, as a company that grows with creators, it has systematically made efforts to eradicate illegal webtoon distribution sites and establish a healthy industrial ecosystem. ‘Adult.com’ claim for damages is also the result of Kakao Page’s initiative.
Kakao Page also works with the Copyright Overseas Promotion Association (COA) to block illegal webtoons and URLs exposed through search engines. In addition, for a more effective response, we are focusing on reducing the influx of illegal site users by investigating the status of webtoon copyright infringement through a service contract with a professional company that monitors and handles illegal webtoon distribution, and constantly monitors and deletes copyright infringement posts.
Furthermore, in October of last year, Kakao Page actively formed a ‘webtoon illegal distribution countermeasure committee’ with domestic webtoon companies to seek joint responses to illegal distribution. In the future, the council will proceed with a lawsuit for damages against illegal site operators as a joint plaintiff if necessary.
The support of writers continues in efforts to eradicate the distribution of illegal webtoons on Kakao Page. Writer Park Gyeong-ran, who serialized the webtoon ‘Imitation’ on Kakao Page, said, “Illegal webtoon distribution has a big impact on income for some authors because authors do not pay a fair price for their difficult creations. Not only writers, but also readers who purchase and enjoy webtoons in a legitimate way are all victims. Starting from this, we think that if more platforms actively participate, eradication of illegal webtoon sites will not be unrealistic anymore.”
Yoo-gi, who published the webtoon ‘Girl Shop’, also said, “I think that Kakao Page’s ruling of victory is a good example of the crackdown on illegal webtoon distribution sites that have been tacitly prevalent. Thanks to the example on Kakao Page, it has had a positive impact on not only the authors whose works have been leaked, but also the readers who purchase and view the works, and even the webtoon market. I would like to express my gratitude with joy.”
Hwang In-ho, CFO of Kakao Page, who is dedicated to eradicating the distribution of illegal webtoons, said, “I thought that Kakao Page’s job was to protect the creators and implement justice for them. We deeply sympathize with the pain that creators suffer from the endlessly mass-produced illegal webtoon distribution, and we try to respond firmly without condoning any more. This victory is a result of our efforts so far.” “I hope that government ministries and related organizations will actively join forces so that the K-Story industry can continue to grow as the future food industry in Korea. There is also a limit to the company’s response, so I believe that continuous and persistent approach and collaboration between companies and governments are essential to eradicate illegal webtoon distribution.”
Photo providedㅣKakao page
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