Netflix is bracing for another lawsuit, this time by South Korean internet provider SK Broadband who is suing the streaming giant over the cost of increased traffic and maintenance due to a surge in traffic generated by the popularity of ‘Squid Game’. The Korean-language series stars Lee Jung-Jae and Park Hae-Soo and has become a worldwide phenomenon since its release last month.
Reuters is reporting that South Korean internet provider SK Broadband is suing Netflix to pay for costs associated with the increase in web traffic, which has increased costs for the internet provider. SK estimated the network usage fee required of Netflix was approximately $23 million in 2020 alone.
Last year Netflix filed its own lawsuit to determine whether it had any responsibility to provide monetary support to SK for network usage. The streaming giant claimed that their role ends with creating content and leaving it accessible and that the expenses incurred were the ISP’s responsibility as part of their contractual obligation to their customers. However, in the United States Netflix has been paying a fee to Comcast for more than seven years for faster streaming speeds.
The Seoul Central District Court ruled against Netflix in June, claiming Netflix should ‘reasonably’ give something in return to the internet provider for its explosive network usage. Multiple South Korean lawmakers have spoken out against content providers like Netflix who refuse to pay for network usage despite generating enormous traffic. Netflix has appealed the ruling and proceedings will begin again in December, according to Fox Business.
Netflix isn’t alone, as ruling party lawmaker Kim Sang-hee said earlier this week that 78.5% of traffic comes from foreign content providers, and that, “Google-YouTube and Netflix that account for the majority turning a blind eye to network usage fees.”
Released Sept. 17, the nine-episode Korean thriller is poised to become Netflix’s biggest “non-English-language show in the world,” said Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
The show follows Seong Gi-Hun, played by Lee Jung-Jae, as he and hundreds of other desperate and indebted contestants compete in violent and often disturbing competitions for a large cash prize. Only one person can win the prize, and those who lose the series of games pay with their lives. The show has become widely popular due in part to social media. On TikTok, the hashtag #SquidGame has been viewed more than 22.8 billion times.
Netflix has said that they will review the company’s claim, and open a discussion to work to find a way to avoid SK Broadband users experiencing difficulties.
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