In a landmark case for South Korea, Seoul Central District Court has convicted three people of pirating CJ Entertainment’s tsunami blockbuster Haeundae.
This summer while the film was still in theatres, pirated files of the film popped up on the internet, prompting CJ Entertainment to carry out a swift and extensive investigation.
An employee of a welfare facility for the blind, Kim (only family names are made public in such cases in Korea) had made an illegal copy of a Haeundae DVD after receiving it for sound enhancements for the blind.
Kim then took the copy to China to view with friend and beautician Goh, who then gave it to a student called Kim (likely no relation), who copied and uploaded it to the internet this past August.
The Seoul Central District Court announced a verdict of 18 months in prison with two years’ suspension of sentence on probation for the welfare facility employee Kim and beautician Goh, while the student Kim was sentenced to two years in prison with three years’ suspension on probation.
The court stated: “Illegally copying the Haeundae DVD and taking it [all the way] to China, the defendants caused great repercussions for the film industry”, thus the court pronounced: “prison sentences to strike the alarm against the practice of copyright infringement through illegal copying.”
Yoon Je-gyun’s Haeundae opened locally July 22 and took over 11.2 million admissions. The film also sold to a slew of overseas territories including UK (Optimum), Germany (Splendid) and Hong Kong (Edko).