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It's always enlightening to see other countries take a different approach to the efforts by copyright holders to bypass the courts and extract as much "settlement" money from accused file-sharers as possible. In South Korea, the Daejeon Jungbu Police have done just such a thing and started recommending summary trials for young file-sharers so that they can have an affordable means of fighting copyright infringement charges against them. Summary trials usually handle misdemeanors subject to fines of less than 200,000 won ($146 USD). The police say targeting youngsters is unfair because the parents are usually unaware of the illegal activity, and then desperate to come up with the money, the kids resort to theft or other crime to come up with the settlement money demanded by copyright holders. “About 10 such complaints are filed every day,” a police officer of the Dongdaemun Police in Seoul said. “We have no time to do other tasks. And it becomes even more serious because the youngsters commit crimes to come up with settlement money.” “We have struggled to find a way to stop the abuse of the justice system,” said Hwang Un-ha, Daejeon Jungbu Police chief. “So we decided to exercise the right of police to refer cases for summary trial. It was a solution to save kids.” The first kid to benefit from the new policy was an 18yo high school student who illegally posted some music files on her blog. A law firm representing the copyright holder said all would be forgiven for the low, low price of 1 million won ($725 USD). The students family couldn't afford it, so the police finally decided to recommend the case be handled by a summary trial. The police argue that lawyers have made a lucrative niche market for themselves that preys upon the young who aren't trying to profit from copyright infringement. “Law firms even hired part-time staffers to track down copyright violators on the Internet,” said an official of the Daejeon police. “And then, they contacted the copyright holders to notify them about the cases and volunteered to represent them.” Copyright holders disagree slightly, not blaming file-sharers for the problem per se, but rather ISPs. “We agree that the law firms’ abuse of litigation is inappropriate,” said Yu Hyeong-seok, legal affairs team head of the Korea Music Copyright Association. “But the fundamental problem is the portal sites, which turn a blind eye to the kids’ copyright violations while raking in enormous profits. The companies that host blogs and other Internet communities must be held accountable.” So if that's the case, then it readily acknowledges that suing young file-shares has no tangible effect on illegal file-sharing. All it really does is extort money from poor families struggling to make ends meet. At least the South Korean police understand this.