Resolving Illegal Distribution of Web Novels and Webtoons

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The PAGE Network is an online content theme park platform based on NFTs. The PAGE platform has three main goals. The first is to solve the distribution of illegal copies of IP content with NFT technology. Secondly, it will enable the direct exchange of content between content producers, consumers, and investors. Finally, it aims to establish a decentralized platform through a reward ecosystem based on a transparent settlement system.

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The size of the webtoon and web novel market has grown steadily and significantly in recent years. According to the Korea Creative Content Agency’s ‘Web Novel User Survey Report’, the size of the web novel market in 2018 was about KRW 400 billion, which has grown more than 40 times in 5 years. Illegal distribution is also increasing, so let’s check what alternatives are available.

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In 2018, the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency arrested the operators and employees of ‘Night Rabbit’, which was the largest illegal webtoon distribution site in Korea, and finally closed the site. In January 2021, through a lawsuit for damages, writers received a ruling to compensate the victim for 1.5 to 6 million won per individual.

Until these results came out, there was cooperation between platforms. In October 2020, six webtoon companies formed a ‘Webtoon Illegal Distribution Response Council’ to jointly respond to illegal content distribution. Representatively, RIDI, Naver Webtoon, and Kakao Page are participating.

In the second half of 2020, site A got access blocking through continuous monitoring and blocking requests. They continuously requested to block access with RIDI, Naver Webtoon, Kakao Page, etc. As a result, access has been blocked to these days, and regular monitoring is underway.

There is also the introduction of forensic watermark technology. In the case of webtoons, it is a type of content that is easy to introduce watermark technology into images, and more accurate tracking is possible by leaving a watermark in the form of invisible to the eye the information of the user who attempted to leak illegally and the record of the action.

Through these illegal distribution prevention alternatives, it is possible to protect the content ecosystem itself, prevent unfair profits, and protect the value of creators, publishers, and readers. Many platforms are tackling content piracy and distribution with more alternatives.

Although there are various alternatives, blockchain technology, NFT, is also a great alternative to prevent the distribution of illegal content. Encryption technology assigns a unique identification number to digital files such as pictures and videos, making it easy to track. Since it is uniquely identifiable and contains data on the underlying asset, it is possible to prove the originality and uniqueness of digital files, as well as proof of ownership and purchase history, which gives it rarity.

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