Global Intellectual Property Center

IP Rights and Broadband Development in South Korea

IP Rights and Broadband Development in South Korea

Over the last several years, South Korea has built a vibrant Internet and communications environment that many countries around the world view as a paragon of broadband technology. The country ranks fifth globally when it comes to broadband access, and the number of users on the peninsula continues to grow. The path Korea took to get there, however, has not been without its bumps and turns. Most notably, the lack of intellectual property (IP) rights protection in Seoul’s broadband build-out early on hampered the growth of IP-intensive industries including the motion picture, recording, business and entertainment software industries as Internet piracy skyrocketed. This has forced the government to revisit its broadband policies in an effort to address copyright infringement and other IP vulnerabilities that were—and still are in some ways—harming Korean creativity, job creation, and economic growth.