Prosecutors said the defendants were earning between $50,000 and $150,000 per month by distributing hardcore videos through search engines such as Yahoo Korea, Daum and Naver.
Three of those under indictment were employees in charge of adult content at the search engines. The others allegedly distributed the material in question via adult shopping malls and chat sites.
Defendants contended that that they were not doing anything illegal. They claimed the videos cited in the indictment had been edited to meet the country’s content guidelines and approved by the Korea Media Rating Board as acceptable for viewing by adults 18 and older. They also asserted the videos could be viewed only after credit card age verification.
“It would be wrong if a child were looking at these materials, but these are for adults who pay to look at them,” one webmaster said.
But prosecutors countered that many of the videos could be accessed without age verification and that some had been restored to their original, more explicit state after ratings approval.
While all of the videos cited in the indictment reportedly involve only adult performers, one of the videos was advertised as featuring an adult women having sex with a friend’s underage son.
Prosecutors have promised upwards of 100 additional indictments on similar charges by mid-April.