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Police to Hunt Uploaders of Copies of 'Old Partner'

2009/03/03 | 188 views | Permalink | Source

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By Kim Rahn
Staff Reporter

A producer of the documentary "Old Partner" ("Wonangsori" in Korean, meaning "cowbell sound") has requested police track down the uploaders of illegal copies of the film online.

It is the first time that an investigation has been launched into the digital piracy of an indie documentary, representing the unprecedented popularity of the film.

The producer, Koh Young-jae, lodged a petition with police Monday for the probe into the illegal uploading.

He claimed in the petition that illegal copies of the film have spread through several peer-to-peer sites since Feb. 27, demanding police find and punish the first uploader.

"Koh came to submit the petition, bringing video clips on the sites as evidence", a police officer at Gangbuk Police Station in northern Seoul said.

Police will identify the suspects by checking the log in records of the sites Koh spotted and apprehend them.

Koh said on the film's official Web site that he would sue every uploader. "The illegal copies have already been spread in the U.S. and Japan. We can't expect good export contracts. The fight against illegal uploading is a fight that we are supposed to lose, but we will fight to the utmost of our power", he said.

The unusual circulation of illegal copies of a documentary has come amid the unusual boom of low-budget, indie films in local theaters, where local blockbusters and Hollywood films usually dominate.

The film, featuring the loyal relationship between a cow and an old farmer, is breaking every independent film record ㅡ it ranked first in the domestic box office and hit the two million viewer mark Sunday, 46 days after its Jan. 15 release, more than fourfold the previous record set by U.S. indie film "Fahrenheit 911", which drew 450,000 viewers here in 2004.

The fame, however, has brought other trouble ㅡ the farming couple is under stress because since the success of the film, hundreds of moviegoers have visited their home in Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang Province, and taken pictures of them as if they were celebrities, disturbing their quiet life.

The provincial government recently said that it would run a tourist program including a visit to the couple's house and other shooting locations. It is being criticized for infringing on the couple's privacy for money.

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