February 23, 2009 12:26
Prosecutors have decided to give teenagers a one-time reprieve if they are caught violating copyright by downloading movies or music files for free on the Internet.
The Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office on Sunday said that from March 1 of this year until Feb. 28 of next year, Koreans under 19 years of age will have their charges dismissed if caught violating copyrights for the first time.
Prosecutors said many teenagers are charged indiscriminately after downloading movies or music files without knowing that their actions are criminal offenses. They added that measures are called for, since some law firms are receiving hundreds of thousands of won (US$1=W1,506) in settlement fees from parents of teens who do not want their children to have criminal records.
In 2006, 611 teenagers were indicted on charges of copyright infringement, but the number soared to 23,470 in 2008, a 38-fold increase in just two years. Of the 23,470 who were indicted last year, 207 ended up being prosecuted, with most of them settling the dispute through a payment.
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