Korean ISPs earn $1.7m from piracy

Six local Internet service providers made nearly 2 billion won ($1.7 million) by selling pirated copies of films and broadcast materials during the June-November period, a government report on a nationwide digital piracy crackdown has revealed.

South Korea, often criticised for its loose enforcement of anti-piracy laws, pledged to get tougher on digital theft following the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak government in February last year. Digital theft is blamed for an annual loss of more than 2 trillion won (about $1.5 billion) in South Korea, the world's most wired country, with nearly 20,000 files of copyrighted content circulating illegally last year alone, according to recent government data.

During the six-month crackdown from June, police nabbed 87 people on charges of posting and circulating bootleg files of copyrighted materials on local file-sharing sites, the culture ministry said.

The illegally made profit will be confiscated by the government under the state law on criminal proceeds, revised in March, the ministry said.

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