YouTube Cripples Own Site to Evade Korean Law


YouTube has decided to cripple its Korean site rather than comply with a new law which would force it to publish the real names of all contributors and commenters on the site.

An amendment to a “cyber-defamation” law recently went into effect, requiring websites which have more than 100,000 unique users per day to list their real names and national identification card numbers.

What prevents users from falsely supplying these is not clear, but sites have no choice but to comply.

In response to the law, YouTube Korea, in consultation with Google, its US-based parent company, has disabled the ability of its Korean user base to upload videos or make comments on existing videos.

YouTube Korea in its current form can now only be viewed, but not interacted with, by its primary user base. It seems likely that this will pose problems to the growth in Korean language content on the site.

Google justified the maiming of its Korean site by citing its selectively applied “Do no evil” principles. Rachel Whetstone, Google’s vice president of public affairs, posted the following justification on Google’s Korean blog:

Google thinks the freedom of expression is most important value to uphold on the Internet. We concluded in the end that it is impossible to provide benefits to Internet users while observing this country’s law because the law does not fall in line with Google’s principles.

Google’s adherence to its principles runs directly contrary to the intent of  the cyber-defamation legislation. The law’s proponents have argued that removing anonymity would curtail much of the savagery springing from the Korean Internet community.

Korean Internet users have a well deserved reputation for thuggish behavior. Numerous and well publicized incidents of mass cyber bullying have lead to real life confrontations, loss of reputation and significant financial losses for their victims.

The most egregious incident led to the suicide of famed actress Choi Jin-sil. Choi was apparently driven to suicide after a series of online rumors viciously attacked the actress’ financial dealings and character.

At times this aggressive online character also spills out onto overseas sites, typically motivated by nationalist indignation.

Korean reactions to the changes made by YouTube have been mostly indifferent. Google itself publicized a workaround where a Korean user could switch their preference setting to a country other than Korea, bypassing the limits set within the Korean site.

Also, Koreans accessing the site outside of Korea and non-Koreans (assuming they do not use the Korean language version) living in Korea have not been affected.

Unlike its presence in the West, YouTube Korea has a much smaller profile, so such a muted reaction is not altogether unexpected.

Via Hani and PC World.

The application of the cyber defamation law seems rather uneven. Popular game forums such as those belonging to Korea’s World of Warcraft, which presumably falls under the amended legislation, still allows for the use of anonymous Internet pseudonyms.

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    Avatar of Kitsune9Tails
    Comment by Kitsune9Tails
    21:45 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Major props to Google. I've always liked them as a company, mostly because they don't cave to BS like this (or RIAA/MPAA in the US).

    Comment by ferro
    20:35 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    WTF real names????Korea is the Internet's IRL final boss!

    Avatar of Wincest
    Comment by Sigh
    11:02 21/04/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    "Google thinks the freedom of expression is most important value to uphold on the Internet."

    Bullshit. Contreversial videos about current politics are taking down all the time, especially videos against Islam. Even if people flag a video for no good reason, if they get enough flags, youtube take it down.

    Comment by Anonymous

    "especially videos against Islam"

    How is taking down these type of videos can be a bad thing?

    Comment by Jashin
    00:33 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Why the fuck are we going to put private datas on the internet?

    Koreans kill people who mess with them in MMORPGs... If we put in our names in youtube and accidentally offend these Koreans... They'll hunt us down...


    Avatar of tB
    Comment by t//B
    02:10 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    You didn't read the article, did you..

    Comment by Jashin
    01:39 16/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I did read it all... And I really hate these extreme morons...

    They've done nothing but ban these and that whine here, rally here, protest there and make stupid laws that don't actually help the economy or environment. They should make laws that actually help people...

    That is why laws are made... So that people would follow a rule that would make things better...

    As for the loli bans and the hentai bans and the youtube things... FUCK THESE LAWS AND THEIR MAKERS!

    Avatar of tomoemami
    Comment by yaku
    12:57 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    He pretty much tl;dr

    Comment by au
    23:43 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    koreans are just plain stupid that it!!!!

    Comment by Algester
    23:28 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    the easy way around this law is simple create a site filed with anons <_< its the most logical loophole in their law and still avoidable haha

    Avatar of Aeromax
    Comment by Aeromax
    04:50 17/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    *slow clap*
    Well done, Google. It's nice to see a private enterprise grow some balls and tell the government to suck one every once in a while.

    Comment by L
    02:52 17/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Kudos to Youtube for making a stand against pathetic laws posted by an even more pathetic government. I think it's safe to say that pretty much the entire world is fed up with North Korea's bullshit, and it's about time someone showed them that the world doesn't revolve around their joke of a dictator.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:02 19/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Are you fucking stupid? It's South Korea...

    Well I'm not expecting much here anyways; it's pro-Japan to the teeth.

    Avatar of 21149315
    Comment by unicogirl
    01:56 21/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    when did Korea become China?

    Comment by Anon
    10:15 24/05/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Finally, they can end these
    anon fgts

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:56 14/02/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Good for youtube!

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:06 23/02/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Shit I'm Korean and I'm embarrassed at the backwardness of my country's Gov. Guys, please don't think badly of Koreans--its mostly the shitheads who are doing governmental work nowadays =w=...All they do is to street fight in the hall.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:24 05/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    and its damn good watching when its on our news channels in Aus

    Avatar of TheBeast
    Comment by TheBeast
    14:20 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    korea and china's government have no tact. they are a fucking embarassment. korea wants everyones personal information and china wants everyone's source code. they are like a bunch of kids in a playground, trying to get things to line up.

    Comment by Newprimus
    16:08 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    People in Korea have committed SUICIDE from cyber-bullying. I do not want to make light of these deaths, but they, this law, and google's response would not have happened if Koreans as a culture actually had a skin to speak of. Not just for the victims themselves, but for everyone who actually took these cyber-bullying acts seriously and thus turned what could've been just trash-talk spoken from anonymity by a group of losers on the net into real damage to reputation and lives for these victims. These people just cannot find it in themselves to see the trolling for what it is and just IGNORE, and just have to let themselves get worked up to the point of actual damage.

    Comment by Bounce
    09:33 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    haha Korea, youtube's got a new video for ya, entitlted: fuck you

    Comment by Visssss
    07:12 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Go Youtube go!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:59 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Good for Google. Much of this article sounds like its siding with the Korean lawmakers just to spite the obnoxious Korean online community. They may be bad, but internet without anonymity is like toast without butter.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:25 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I like my toast without butter.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of b0122
    Comment by b0122
    16:56 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    i'm impressed, for a company to stand up against a nation, that's some balls.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    It's the other way round which should surprise you.

    Avatar of b0122
    Comment by b0122
    22:43 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    well~~~~ that too yea. but nations have missles, internet companies only have porn supply sanction <: 3

    Comment by heyjey
    01:52 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    11:56 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    the internet is more dangerous, i would think

    Comment by numpang lewat
    17:10 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I dont care with the news, I just care about the image.


    Comment by Freedom III
    18:19 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Although I care (read: am laughing at) the news, I'd agree with you that the image is pretty thing that gets me, though, are the eyes (well, I guess 2 things >.>)...they don't seem quite right...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:21 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's about time for Koreans to buck up like the rest of us and learn to take e-criticism from e-thugs so they don't hurt their e-feelings too much. Christ, look at people like Chris-chan, he's pretty much known as a freak throughout the interwebs, and he hasn't killed himself yet.

    If your country as a collective isn't as tough as some borderline retard, that's rather pitiful.

    Comment by Otakumanichiwa
    17:11 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I can't see the point of the Korean government..

    I agree that Youtube MAY have some issues with copyright holders but making all Korean IN South Korea youtubers (god, why should I always point what Koreans I'm referring to) exposed to their true identities is...already an invasion of their privacy...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:25 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    No duh, have the government officials are friggen commies.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:39 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This isn't about communism. Thank you VERY much, but this is happening over in the United States, where most of our politicians are nowhere near communists, on either side of the aisle.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:55 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    No, it's statist and concerned with conserving social norms. Put the two together. Quit trying to sound clever while demonstrating your own lazy indoctrination. Socialists are statist in the economic sphere; intervention in the social sphere has always been a favourite hobby of the right, that is unless you accept tired, cold-war distortions of what socialism is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:00 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I believe the proper term for such policies is "Socialistic" which, btw, is just a stone's throw away from communism. Stop being so ignorant and open your eyes - guess what, your gov't doesn't always tell you the truth.

    Comment by numpang lewat
    17:14 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't care about the news, I just care with the good image :D

    *fap fap fap

    Avatar of b0122
    Comment by b0122
    18:08 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    tshh! noob... i fap to the texts, challenge that.

    Avatar of mix
    Comment by mix
    18:19 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    i fap to your avatar. now BEAT THAT!

    Avatar of b0122
    Comment by b0122
    22:43 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Avatar of tomoemami
    Comment by yaku
    16:24 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's one of the most retarded stunts Korean Gov. could do. Real names on youtube? whatever the hell for? besides that's just asking to get hacked on a silver platter.

    If they wanted to prevent moronic stuff like the Hetalia incident happening, this is hardly the solution (if a solution at all); trolls are everywhere and posting IDs won't stop them, it just cripples and endangers the regular innocent user.

    Avatar of Vesper_nova
    Comment by vesper_nova
    07:10 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    agree privety laws are supose to protect the user, not the overway arround. Beside who says you have to read that stuff.

    Comment by Lost
    15:44 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    well thats one way of doing it, dont know why they just didnt completly remove it altogether

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:32 05/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Probably so the whiny Koreans wouldn't bitch about not being able to get on Youtube totally.

    Comment by SaruDa
    15:40 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bravo Youtube, bravo Google!

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Otakumanichiwa
    15:40 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    now I really thank God that I'm not Korean...firstly, because of their hatred to Japan and youtube??? how can I post my shows if I am a Korean...tsk tsk...gud luck Koreans with your awesome laws!

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:17 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe you should try reading the article again.
    Obviously they have video sites other than YouTube which are more popular and widely-used in the country, because they sure don't give a lot of shit about what happened.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:06 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm I really thank God that I'm not an uneducated nincompoop that makes accusations based on what the media pumps into the population. You think all Koreans hate Japanese and vice versa? Oh then you must think All Americans are gun toting trigger happy rednecks? Not to mention then you would think that all black people like grape juice and chicken? Get out of your room, turn off your computer, go outside and check out the real world, talk to people. Most importantly, get educated, and LEARN. You'll find that such stereotypes and racist comments are not always true.

    Comment by Otakumanichiwa
    17:17 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    *face palm*

    again...I am referring to Koreans who hate Japan and their stuff, I am not generalizing that all Koreans hate Japan and besides correct me but is this also the government who banned Hetalia?

    anons are sure annoying...

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:07 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    End this stupidity, please, this hating business goes both way. Either way your attempt of trolling doesn't benefit anyone here.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:59 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What are u talking about?
    All black people i know love chicken.

    Avatar of mechwarrior
    Comment by mechwarrior
    07:47 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    And all Italians are in the Mafia. Its common knowledge.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:22 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm pretty sure all the anons will agree that you've not made any clarification on your initial comment to allow the readers to distinguish that you were referring to Koreans and Japanese who hate each other.

    Like how I don't like your obnoxious attitude that lacks complete respect for the other individual, but hey, it's the internet. Who gives a shit I guess. It's a dog eat dog world here, the weak will perish.

    Comment by Otakumanichiwa
    17:29 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    yah, I admit that my initial comment has too many loop holes or double meanings but nah, I'm sure they'll understand...

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:12 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    And to answer your question, how about a korean living in the states or some other god damn country where they can post videos! omfg...I didn't know being a certain ethnicity prohibited you from doing certain shit.

    I'm just glad I'm not korean with your brains...because I think I wouldn't be able to post videos on youtube.=[

    God damn I hate koreans who make these stupid f**king law..and hate the god damn country too.

    Comment by Otakumanichiwa
    17:03 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    c'mon anon, isn't it too obvious to you that I'm referring to Koreans IN South Korea...

    stop being a poser leet, god! you can correct if this article is not about Koreans IN their country...

    Comment by Cheoro
    02:52 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You only know korea from Sankaku. That's not exactly south korea, yknow.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:48 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Kill yourself.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:54 15/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    O noez! If you had to post your real name and national id, you'd never post comments like that, anon! D=

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:00 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Unlike its presence in the West, YouTube Korea has a much smaller profile, so such a muted reaction is not altogether unexpected."

    Most Koreans don't use YouTube.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:39 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    if you read the article, there is an easy way around it.

    Comment by Otakumanichiwa
    17:44 14/04/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


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