South Korea announces plan for AI copyright and deepfake management

The South Korean government announced a comprehensive plan to reform its AI copyright system, Combat deepfake fake news, expand telemedicine, and protect digital rights, as part of 20 new policy initiatives aimed at addressing modern technological challenges.

 Logo, Flag, Korea Flag

The South Korean government announced comprehensive plans to restructure its copyright system for AI-generated content and address the spread of fake news created by deepfake technology. This announcement was made during a Cabinet meeting in Seoul, led by Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong-ho, who outlined 20 policy initiatives designed to tackle the pressing issues of the digital age.

Building on the Digital Bill of Rights introduced last September, the new policies aim to establish a digital framework that ensures the protection and advancement of digital rights. The Ministry of Science and ICT emphasized that these initiatives will be developed through extensive public consultations and policy research, with outcomes to be shared with the international community, including OECD member countries and the UN.

“The plan to establish a new digital order is based on the Digital Bill of Rights, and the policies will be made through pan-government efforts so that people can actually solve the issues we face in the digital era,” Minister Lee stated.

Among the 20 policy initiatives, eight key policy tasks have been identified: 

  1. Securing AI Safety, Trust, and Ethics by the establishment of frameworks to ensure the ethical development and deployment of AI technologies. 
  2. Addressing Deep Fake Fake News by mandating watermarks on AI-generated content.
  3. Reforming the AI Copyright System by revising copyright laws for AI-generated content to support the AI creative industry. 
  4. Responding to Digital Disasters and Cyber Threats by enhancing capabilities to address them effectively.
  5. Improving Digital Access and Securing Alternatives by ensuring all citizens have access to digital technologies and services, including alternatives where necessary.
  6. Stable Implementation of Telemedicine through the amendment of the Medical Service Act to establish a legal basis for telemedicine, creating a framework for non-face-to-face medical treatment.
  7. Protecting the Right to Disconnect
  8. Guaranteeing the Right to Be Forgotten by facilitating the removal of unwanted digital records

The government has prioritized the reform of the copyright system for AI-generated content. This reform is expected to be completed by the end of the year and is aimed at supporting the development of the AI-based creative industry. The Ministry highlighted the need to swiftly revise the AI copyright system to support the sector.

In a bid to counter the rise of deepfake technology, the government plans to mandate the use of watermarks on AI-generated content. Additionally, new laws will be enacted and existing ones amended to monitor and promptly remove deepfake content, particularly during election campaigns. The government is also promoting the development of advanced technologies to detect and automate the deletion of deep fakes.

Another major focus is the stabilization and expansion of telemedicine services. Although South Korea permitted remote medical activities among professionals with the amendment of the Medical Service Act in 2002, non-face-to-face treatment between doctors and patients remains restricted. The temporary allowances for contact-free treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for vulnerable populations, highlighted the need for permanent legal frameworks. The government will amend the Medical Service Act to solidify the legal basis for telemedicine, ensuring thorough communication with medical professionals, patients, and consumers throughout the process.

Further policies aim to foster a culture that respects workers’ right to disconnect from work-related communications outside of regular hours and facilitate the removal of digital records that individuals wish to erase from their online presence.

To promote these initiatives globally, the government will host a discussion session on digital rights protection at the AI Seoul Summit, held this week. Additionally, South Korea plans to establish a cooperative framework on digital protocols with leading universities and research institutes, including the University of Oxford and the University of British Columbia.