There is something very hot on YouTube recently, Vlogs. A Vlog is a compound word combining video and blog, and refers to leaving a record of everyday life in a video. Many people have joined in the wave of Vlogging because they can share their daily lives with others through it, while earning advertising revenue from the number of views (for channels which achieve more than 4,000 watching hours and 1,000 subscribers). Especially, in Korea, many Vlogs of law makers become popular due to the specialty of their jobs. This trend, however, could lead to legal problems. For this reason, it is urgent to enact a law on the law makers' YouTube profits.
Many legal problems arise from Korean lawmakers’ profits earned through YouTube. As mentioned above, a YouTuber who has met a certain standard can generate revenue based on the number of views. However, civil servants are not allowed to engage in any work other than public service under Article 64 of the National Civil Service law. Only a limited number of concurrent positions are allowed with permission of their chiefs. However, it is also not allowed if their duties could be disrupted. In the case of lawmakers, it becomes stricter. Under Article 29 of the National Assembly Act, a lawmaker is not allowed to hold any position for private profit, excepting the head of the National Assembly. The lawmakers could argue that the profits via YouTube are legal as their videos are related to their civil services. However, YouTube is a private corporation, and not all videos from their channels are related to their services. However, it is legally subject to sanctions, as the revenue earned on YouTube corresponds to private revenue.
Despite the situation, however, no measures have been drawn up by the National Election Commission (NEC), which monitors lawmakers for violating the National Assembly Act. Recently, many YouTube channels, like Hong-ka-cola of Hong Joon-pyo, a former leader of the opposition party, and Park Yong-jin TV of the ruling party, who want to influence the public via YouTube, have already retained tens of thousands of subscribers. However, the NEC does not give any authoritative interpretation on the lawmaker YouTubers, except giving sanctions on Hong-ka-cola TV, which gathered donations during live streaming. The attitude of NEC has made a lot of disputes among the lawmakers.
As the influence of YouTube is growing bigger across generations, YouTube continues to be one of the most effective media for lawmakers. However, the more this trend continues, the more the problem becomes controversial. Consequently, many lawmakers have stopped taking profits from YouTube on their own channels and asked the National Election Commission for related regulations. Amid such fast-changing trends, the National Election Commission needs to respond to it as soon as possible.
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