Korean court convicts man for illegal file-sharing

Was surprised to come acorss this story on a decision by an appeals court here to uphold the conviction of a man charged with uploading movies onto the internet for proift. The decision comes as the movie industry here has been in a tailspin, in large part due to the high volume of downloading. All the people I know here do it, and it’s so damn easy. Not even five minutes and you’ve got the latest releases for pennies. In line with the last post, the decision reflects a shifting social landscape here.

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Korea’s court rulings reflect changing society

S. Korean court rulings

S. Korean court rulings

An interesting piece in the Korea Times reports that to mark the 60th anniversary of South Korea’s Supreme Court, the judicial body is selecting 12 “rulings of the era,” decisions that have radically altered the social and legal mores of Korean society.

Included in the list of rulings are several decisions affecting gender equality, including one that involves the recognition of the fact that gender transcends physical traits and involves an individual’s “mentality and social attitude,” opening the door for more legal protection of LGBT’s.

Another selction dealt with Korea’s patriarchal family system that once denied certain rights to female family members, including the inheritance of property and other forms of wealth.

A friend here whose mother had divorced once told me her name had been stricken from the family’s census record, as was the case for all of Korea’s divorced women. I am not sure whether this law still exists, but it was a shock to learn, because a woman’s name is also taken off their own family’s register once they are married. So essentially, after divorce, they cease to exist. Or so it seems.

Anyway, reading this reminds me of Martina Deuchler’s work on the Confucian transformation of Korean society beginning in the 16th century. In it, Deuchler plumes the numerous legal precedents that were established over the course of the Chosun Dynasty that ultimately shaped the countours of Korean culture and society.

In a similar vein today’s rulings are helping to redraw the map of Korean life, establishing precedents that will, over time, trickle through to all layers of Korean society.