Netflix is being sued for Squid Game: what it did

The popular TV series Squid Game has cost Netflix a lawsuit from South Korea: here's what's going on

The TV series Squid Game is having a great success on Netflix and for this very reason the streaming platform will have to face a legal trouble. Copyright violations, however, have nothing to do with it: the issue is rather about the amount of traffic generated by Netflix, which has a negative impact on the stability of the Internet.

Squid Game has won the first place among the most watched series in South Korea and in the world and many are already talking about a success potentially equal or, even, greater than that of Bridgerton or The House of Paper. The boom in viewers, however, congests the Internet so much that the Korean telephone company SK Broadband has sued Netflix. The request to the streaming giant is to pay a fee for the use of local network infrastructure. A complaint that comes after a Seoul court ruled in favor of SK Broadband, arguing that the streaming platform should contribute to the expenses necessary to operate and maintain the network's infrastructure.

Netflix vs SK Broadband: the Seoul ruling

The legal battle between Netflix and SK Broadband began in 2020, when the streaming platform filed a lawsuit over whether it should pay a fee for using the network to SK. According to Netflix's position, the platform's obligations end with content creation and accessibility to its subscribers.

The Seoul court in June ruled against Netflix, however, in a ruling that emphasized that SK Broadband provides a service that comes at a cost and called it "reasonable" for the streaming platform to pay something in exchange for using the network.

The South Korean body estimated Netflix to pay a fee of about 27.2 billion won, nearly 20 million euros, just for using the network in 2020. The streaming platform has appealed, claiming that it has made its contribution by creating 16,000 jobs in South Korea with investments of 770 billion won (more than 500 million euros), but now SK Broadband raises again with the new complaint. All that remains is to wait for the court's decision: the appeal process begins in December.

Netflix and SK Broadband's increased data traffic

Internet service provider SK Broadband has recorded an increase in data traffic for users' access to streaming platforms since May 2018. Specifically, data traffic generated by Netflix is estimated by the South Korean entity to have increased 24-fold from May 2018 to September 2021, totaling 1.2 trillion bits of processed data.

Behind this increase is the success of several South Korean Netflix productions, including the TV series Squid Game and D.P. Especially Squid Game is having great success in recent days and, for this reason, SK Broadband has taken Netflix to court.

But Netflix is not the only streaming giant that SK Broadband requires to contribute to the expenses for data traffic generated on the Internet network. Other streaming content providers such as Apple, Facebook and Amazon are already paying a network usage fee in South Korea. The only ones among the big boys not contributing at the moment are Netflix and YouTube.