Live Streaming Breaking Bounds and Regulations
Live Streaming Breaking Bounds and Regulations
  • Reporter Gwak Jun-ho
  • 승인 2018.04.18 16:09
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▲1st Clean Internet Broadcast Association meeting held on March 18 to discuss on regulations of live streaming / News1
▲1st Clean Internet Broadcast Association meeting held on March 18 to discuss on regulations of live streaming / News1

Internet live steaming refers to the real-time delivery of various contents on live steaming platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Afreeca TV. Managed by individuals or groups, live streaming has constantly expanded its market since early 2000’s. In 2016, the domestic market size of internet live streaming reached 300 billion KRW. There are a significant number of Broadcasting Jackies (BJ), the individual runner of their own live streaming, who already have over a million fixed viewers. According to Korea Press Foundation’s 2016 statistics, about 25% of teenagers in their age of 10’s watch live streaming in Korea. Along with dramatic growth of live streaming in terms of social influence, there had been petitions as opposed to internet live streaming, for delivering inappropriate contents containing violence or lasciviousness. As a result, the internet live streaming is under practical regulations in Korea, such as restricting the daily amount of donations by individual viewers to the BJs to a million KRW.

However, the validity of such regulations still leaves several question marks. Go Yong-jin, the congressman from Democratic Party and a member of Korea Communications Commission, pointed out that “The yearly report for live streaming inappropriate contents is increasing and we are fully aware of them, but our monitoring faculty is yet too insubstantial to respond to every report.” The fact that the number of BJs is too substantial to be fully monitored by government faculties and platform managers is pointed out as the major drawback of current regulations on internet live streaming. As for this, several legislative proposals such as making a ‘BJ list’ consists of BJs who have potential to deliver provocative contents, and reinforcing regulations based on the list.

In addition to the validity of regulations, there are also comments that internet live streaming by individuals must be ensured with freedom to express; abundant regulations can violate basic rights of internet consumers and provider. Open Net body corporate criticized on recent reinforcements of regulations that considering how live streaming has settled itself as one of the major internet products, such restraints can ‘shrivel the entire internet market and discourage further development of internet associated technologies’.
Also, the current regulations are not comprehensive enough to be posed adequately to live streaming based on foreign platforms, such as Google (YouTube), Twitter, and Facebook. Those who do live steaming on foreign platforms are legally considered as foreign business operator and they are managed by platform managers from their own companies. Inevitably, the regulations on BJs from foreign platforms are much loose than domestic BJs, incurring reverse discrimination.

The growth of individual internet live streaming indeed deserves to be recognized as another paradigm of internet media, as it suggests new paths and possibilities as a source of entertainment. However, considering its easy accessibility, internet live streaming must be controlled adequately and sufficiently at which freedom of expression is not violated.

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