Koreans step up piracy crackdown

Busts are up 38% over 2007

SEOUL -- Midway through a 100-day anti-piracy campaign South Korean police have arrested 238 people and already seized 38% more pirated CDs and DVDs than they did in all of 2007, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Wednesday.

The "Seoul Clean 100 Day Project," launched April 14, has seen police seize 106,913 pirated optical discs in 50 days, up from 77,126 units seized in all of 2007.

The campaign was launched by the Ministry together with the Copyright Protection Center, the Seoul Prosecutors Office and the police.

It began after word spread that South Korea would again make the United States Trade Representative's Watch List of countries with poor protection for intellectual property, released April 25.

"We think this is a significant change in enforcement," Chung Hong-taek, president of the CDC, told The Hollywood Reporter. "He hope that it will lead to a change in the piracy environment in Korea."

The Ministry report stated that 300 black market shops around the South Korean capital have been reduced to 50, although many are still open and are taking greater steps to appear legitimate.

South Korea has long had major online and offline piracy problems for all media -- not just music and movies, but also computer games, books and more.