Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has decided against bending to a South Korean law that could require it to hand over to the government the identity of people who upload videos to YouTube Korea. To get around the regulation, the company will no longer let South Koreans post videos or comments on the site, according to a report in the Korean paper Hankyore.
By limiting uploads and comments, Google could potentially lose some share in the online video market in South Korea because it will be more difficult for people there to interact with the site. But The Korea Times notes that South Koreans can easily get around Google's restrictions by changing their "country preferences." Also, it's not like Google has that much share to lose: It is still in fourth place in the online-video market in South Korea, according to KoreaCrunch. Google's decision will definitely win it some points among those who fear that the company's "don't do evil" mantra has fallen by the wayside in other markets, particularly China.
Google had wrestled with how to comply with the new law. Late last month, a Google spokeswoman told paidContent.org that the company had not yet decided how to respond. "Google Korea has ... always (taken) the stance that Google respects local law/regulation but at the same time we continue trying to promote freedom of speech on the internet," she said.
By Joseph Tartakoff