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  • Writer's pictureOliver Walsh

SBS Korea Shuts Down Major Illicit Streaming Sites, Including Fanta TVCrackdown on Illegal Streaming

SBS has successfully shut down three major illegal streaming sites, including Fanta TV, in collaboration with Chinese authorities. This highlights the ongoing challenges and the need for enhanced international cooperation to protect Korean content.

In a significant move to protect intellectual property rights, SBS, one of South Korea's major broadcasting companies, has announced the successful shutdown of three key websites known for illegally streaming Korean content. Among them, Fanta TV (previously recognised as 'BLACK VOD') has been notably targeted due to its operations based on servers in China.

Joint Efforts Lead to Significant Takedowns

Last August, Fanta TV, Itaewon TV, and Cola TV faced an investigation when SBS collaborated with Chinese authorities to stop the unauthorised distribution of Korean shows and movies. As a result of this joint effort, servers were seized in May, rendering Fanta TV and its affiliates inoperable.

Tactics of Illegal Streamers

Operating from servers in China, Fanta TV gained notoriety for quickly uploading pirated Korean content, often within 24 hours of the official broadcast. This helped the operators attract a large audience and make significant ad revenue, bypassing legal broadcasting rights. Using offshore servers and constantly changing IP addresses and URLs has been a common tactic among illegal streaming services. This is similar to the approach used by Nunu TV, which became a significant concern in Korea in the previous April.

Continued Challenges and International Cooperation

As reported by AllKPop, a representative of SBS stated:

"This action represents a significant step in our efforts to combat illegal streaming sites operating from overseas servers. We hope it serves as a positive precedent."

The success of this operation emphasises the ongoing challenges and the need for continuous governmental focus and international cooperation to address these violations.

The Broader Impact on K-Content

The issue of illegal streaming services remains widespread, with many platforms constantly altering their digital footprint to avoid detection. The K-content industry, encompassing K-drama, K-pop, K-webtoon and other fields, has gained worldwide popularity and become a driving force for the Korean economy. A Korea Times article estimates that in 2021, content exports reached $12.45 billion, surpassing household electronics, secondary batteries and display panels. As of 2022, Korea was ranked the seventh most culturally influential out of 85 surveyed nations, thereby underlining the potent allure of K-content.

Korean Strategic Response to Piracy

In 2023, the Korean government established partnerships between the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Korea Communications Commission, and the National Police Agency. Subsequently, a four-tiered strategy to combat piracy of K-content was devised. This strategy involves forming international alliances, fostering collaboration between different government departments, and utilising resources from the private sector. The "SCSC" strategy emphasises four key elements: Speed and Strictness, Cooperation, Science, and Change.

The Speed and Strictness strategy is designed to address illegal content distribution with a rapid and decisive approach. This involves improving unlawful sites' detection and blocking processes through a collaborative effort across departments. Moreover, the plan seeks to boost international collaboration to counter illegal content distribution. The initiative also involves amplifying the scientific investigation capabilities of those engaged in combatting copyright infringement.

The Change strategy seeks to modify the societal understanding of copyright, advocating that fair compensation is warranted when using K-content. This strategy encompasses campaigns aimed at transforming public perception of copyright protection and enlightening younger generations about the significance of copyright.

An official from the government stated:

"This robust measure will significantly curb illegal activities exploiting content creators. It will reinforce our societal values of fairness and common sense. The government is firmly committed to eradicating illegal K-content distribution by implementing these strategies across all departments."

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