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Is Korean Law Driving Policy at Blizzard?

US customers of game maker Blizzard are up in arms tonight as news of a new policy is set to require all posts on the Blizzard forum to use their Real ID system. That means that every post is accompanied by the real first and last name of the user. People are unsure what to make of this and I haven’t seen any communication from Blizzard stating why they are making this change.
I’m going to make the suggestion that South Korea’s Real Name System [is a driving force behind this decision]*. In 2009 South Korea’s government created a law that was meant to curb online defamation by insisting that all users who comment on sites with greater than 100,000 users per day must use their real name. The first US company to feel the effects of this law was Google. South Korea insisted the Youtube comments require all users to post with their real first and last name. Google got around this law by forbidding anyone with a South Korean IP address from posting to Youtube. Recently South Korea backed down and exempted Youtube from the Real Name system.
Given these facts it might not make sense why South Korea might enforce the Real Name system on Blizzard. My guess would be that the government is very aware of the immense popularity of Starcraft in South Korea. Some have joked it is their national sport. South Korea even has professional SC leagues with sponsors and packed arenas. I don’t think Blizzard can take the Google approach here and just ban South Korean users from posting to their forums. The South Korean market must make a ton of profits for Blizzard and unlike Google they don’t have revenue coming in from other sources.

* edit: fixed that sentence

Musings on Cara Duckworth’s Post

Some opinions about the Tenenbaum case, for those interested:

OPINION: The RIAA stands for Recording Industry Association of America

OPINION: The RIAA has filed many cases against file sharers as civil actions and not criminal

OPINION: In the US, civil actions do not guarantee the defendant representation by an attorney

OPINION: The RIAA has compared copyright infringement to stealing many times in the press

OPINION: Copyright infringement and shoplifting are two distinct and separate crimes

OPINION: 30 average songs could be contained in 2 CD’s

OPINION: The average cost of 2 CD’s in a store is < $100

OPINION: In Massachusetts the fine for shoplifting under $100 is a fine up to $250 the first time

OPINION: There is a huge discrepancy between the punishment for shoplifting and infringing an equal amount of music