South Korean Supreme Court Relaxing Standards on Obscenity

SEOUL – The JoongAng Daily reports that South Korea's Supreme Court has broadened the definition of what are acceptable depictions of nudity aimed at adults.

Apparently, it all comes down to pubic hair and genitalia, judging from the court's recent ruling on the case of a man who was on trial for producing adult content he provided to South Korea's biggest Internet portals, Naver and Yahoo Korea.

The man, who was only identified by his surname, Kim, had been charged in 2005 with "creating a harmful environment for teenagers by producing materials that showed masturbation and sexual intercourse between strangers."

Lower courts said Kim's videos did not fit the definition of art and were filled with "disturbing groans."

However, the Supreme Court noted the videos were rated for viewers 18 years and older by the country's rating board and that the clips did not show genitals or pubic hair.

The JoongAng Daily reported that Judge Ahn Dae-Hee who led the court ruling, said, "Although the video clips delivered an impression of lewdness, they did not depict sexual activity to a level that defaces or distorts the dignity of a human being. We can't rule that it should be considered criminal when it does not directly depict the genital area."

Yeom Yong-pyo, a partner at the Yulchon law firm, said the ruling meant that the court is acknowledging the reality that Korea is opening up. Yeom noted, "The court made clear the border between legal adult material and porn."