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Top court rules sharing pornography torrent file same as distributing porn

South Korea’s top court ruled that sharing torrent files that contain only metadata about pornographic videos and not the video content itself can be taken as the act of distributing such videos, and is thereby subject to punishment.

Torrent files contain metadata for files and folders, and users tend to share and download videos and other files through such torrent files found in directories and widely circulating on the internet.


The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court’s ruling of a one-year jail term for a defendant who had disseminated thousands of torrent files containing the metadata leading to obscene videos.

The convicted man in his 50s, identified only by his surname Roh, had claimed that sharing a torrent file should be taken differently from the distribution of the associated video.

However, the court considered distributing torrent files of pornography as bringing about the same result as sharing the videos, enabling unspecified individuals to download such videos.

Roh was indicted for sharing 8,402 torrent files via a server located in the United States between November 2017 and September 2018.

By Choi Ji-won (