Cheong Wa Dae bypasses YouTube Korea’s upload limitations

Posted on : 2009-04-14 11:35 KST Modified on : 2009-04-14 11:35 KST
While S. Korean users’ comments are subject to censorship and uploaded only by changing their country designation

While YouTube has restricted South Korean users from uploading video clips and posting comments on its Korean-version of its Web site since April 9, the Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) keeps posting public relations (PR) videos of President Lee Myung-bak on the site by registering its ID as a foreign user from another country. Internet users criticize the Cheong Wa Dae of undermining the intention of its real-name system.

YouTube, the world‘s largest video-sharing Web site, voluntarily shut down some of it’s functions for users who designate their country location as South Korea, in lieu of complying with South Korea‘s Internet real-name system, which requires any Web site that has more than 100,000 users per day to confirm users’ personal information such as their real names and resident registration numbers when they want to post comments or upload content. The government revised the Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and User Protection on April 1, expanding the scope of sites subject to the real name registration system, originally only pertaining to those with 300,000 users per day. However, Cheong Wa Dae said on its Web blog site on April 10 that there was no impact on operations of its Cheong Wa Dae channel on the YouTube site (

“The Cheong Wa Dae channel of YouTube was designed to promote public relations overseas, so its channel was originally set for ‘worldwide’ not ‘South Korea,’” an official at the Cheong Wa Dae said. “Regardless of YouTube‘s measures, we are uploading PR content and broadcasting them worldwide as usual.”

Although there is no restriction on users on watching video clips of President Lee on the Cheong Wa Dae channel of YouTube, users who want to post a reply message on the site cannot do so if they set their location to South Korea. If users select other nations, they can post messages. However, reply messages can only be posted after administrators of the Cheong Wa Dae site of YouTube approve them. YouTube’s Korea unit says, “The approval of reply message isn‘t done by YouTube, but by administrators of each channel and then they are published.”

The remark by Cheong Wa Dae that there may be no restriction in uploading video clips on YouTube if users change their country code establishes a precedent in bypassing the Internet real-name system. Furthermore, local Internet portals and other Web service operators who have complied with the real-name system could follow YouTube by offering their services without having to comply by allowing users to select the country code.

Hwang Cheol-jeung, an official in charge of Internet network policy at the Korea Communication Commission, says, “There is no plan to punish either users who upload content on YouTube by setting their location in another country instead of South Korea, or Google Korea which facilitates such a route.”

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