South Korea to Become 1st Country with “Three-Strikes” for File-Sharers?

National Assembly poised to pass bill forcing ISPs to disconnect repeat file-sharers for up to six months beginning as early as next week.

Earlier this month, South Korea’s National Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting & Communications (CCSTB&C) passed a bill to amend the country’s copyright law so as to include a so called “three-strikes,” or “graduated response,” system for combating illegal file-sharing.

The bill would give the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism authority to order ISPs to send warning letters to accused file-sharers, and to order them to suspend – for up to six months – the accounts of those who fail to comply.

It also gives the Minister power to suspend for six months those newsgroup bulletin boards that receive more than three warnings in as yet unspecified period of time.

The CCSTB&C passed the bill on March 3, 2009. During the deliberation in the Committee, the bill was modified. It originally allowed for permanent termination of user connections.

The modified bill was expected to be voted on in the National Assembly and passed the same day as it came before the CCSTB&C, but the bill was sidelined after the general meeting passed midnight.

It is now expected to be up for a vote as early as next week with it then taking effect immediately thereafter.

With France having pioneered the “three-strikes” response system for file-sharers it’s odd to hear that South Korea had quickly jumped to the forefront of countries expected to have a plan take effect.

The UK is still brainstorming on how best to approach the problem, New Zealand has decided to seek more public input, and France is still working to create the necessary regulatory enforcement framework.

So it appears that South Korea will soon have the distinction of being the first country in the world to disconnect file-sharers from the Internet.

I suppose it’s only fitting being that South Korea is the most wired country in the world.

Stay tuned.