U.K. Magazine Sues Gangnam Language School for Piracy

The Economist has filed a lawsuit against an English-language school in Gangnam saying that the school made over W10 billion by using materials from the U.K. magazine without permission (US$1=W1,062).

According to the Seocho Police Station on Tuesday, the Economist filed a complaint with the Seoul Central Prosecutors Office in November last year accusing the school of profiting between W10 billion and W160 billion from 2009 to 2011 by using 54 articles from the magazine without permission.

The language school, which is headquartered in Daechi-dong, is a popular crammer for schoolkids and draws around 1,000 parents each time it holds a presentation on its teaching methods.

Around 20,000 students attend a dozen branches across Seoul.

The Economist submitted photos of the articles and columns used in the school's teaching materials and a media interview in which the school's head boasts of its annual revenues.

Police interviewed legal counsel for the Economist last year and the school's head on Jan. 12. 

In its complaint, the Economist calculated the amount of profit the language school made through illegal use of its materials not only in video teaching materials, but also in advertising, blogs and other media, a police spokesman said.

The language school admits using the materials but said it is not fair that it was singled out as the offender. A staffer told the Chosun Ilbo in a phone interview, "We printed and used the Economist’s articles without permission to teach our highest level students and sold teaching materials containing those articles." But the staffer claimed that is no more than any other language institute in Korea does.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 23, 2013 11:43 KST