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Kakao Entertainment and Naver Webtoon to fight illegal websites

Webtoon “Charlotte and Her 5 Disciples” is participating in a campaign against illegal websites. (Kakao Entertainment)
Webtoon “Charlotte and Her 5 Disciples” is participating in a campaign against illegal websites. (Kakao Entertainment)
As Korean webtoons enjoy new heights of popularity, being turned into drama series and films, the Korean webtoon industry is seeking to take down illegal websites featuring pirated webtoons.

Seven leading webtoon platforms -- Kakao Entertainment, Kidari Studio, Lezhin Entertainment, Naver Webtoon, Ridi, Topco and Toomics -- announced Tuesday that they would take collective action to fight the illegal distribution of webtoons. The companies seek to protect the authors’ desire to create original contents, protect copyrights and promote webtoons on the global stage.

The campaign, which kicked off Tuesday, revolves around the authors and illustrators presenting their popular characters with messages calling for stopping illegal distribution.

According to the 2020 annual report on the state of the webtoon industry, released by the Korea Creative Content Agency, the damage caused by illegal websites is estimated at 6.6 trillion won ($6.6 billion), 10 times more than the market size of the local webtoon industry.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has joined the campaign, hoping to raise awareness that the web comics should be appropriately paid for like other creative content, such as dramas, music and film.

Webtoon “Incomplete Life” is participating in a campaign against illegal websites. (Kakao Entertainment)
Webtoon “Incomplete Life” is participating in a campaign against illegal websites. (Kakao Entertainment)
“Illegal distribution is a serious issue that hampers the growing webtoon market. We will put our utmost effort to protect the local webtoon platforms and encourage the creativity of the authors with various activities, including this campaign,” Kakao Entertainment said in a press release on Tuesday.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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