Cyworld “To the family of the deceased, including photos and diaries”… Controversy over ‘post inheritance’


Cyworld has decided to start a service that inherits posts such as photos and diaries of deceased members to the bereaved family. However, controversies continue over how far to disclose, for example, whether it is possible to inherit a privately written diary, and to whom in the family the inheritance will be made.

Correspondent Kim Do-hoon.


These are the consumer terms and conditions created by Cyworld.

Article 13 of the Terms and Conditions stipulates that ‘if a member dies, the copyright of the postings posted on Cyworld will be inherited without a separate procedure’.

It is also said that if the heir requests it, a separate copy of the published post will be provided.

It explains the so-called ‘digital inheritance right protection service’ that delivers the posts of the deceased member to the bereaved family.

However, there is an explanation that there are exceptions for posts of a nature that only a deceased member can have and cannot be passed on to other people.

This means that we exclude posts that infringe upon the secrets of deceased members or are inappropriate to inherit.

There are other prerequisites as well.

Requests from all heirs must be made, and related documents and explanatory materials must be submitted.

However, in Korea, there is no legal basis or regulation on how far the digital heritage will be viewed and who will be considered the heirs.

In response, Cyworld explained, “We have completed a legal review so that the terms of use can be applied, and we will request the National Assembly and other legislative bodies to prepare a bill for digital inheritance.”

Experts say the priorities have shifted.

It is said that the first step is to explain the concept of inheritance to current users, obtain consent through it, and clearly define the scope of disclosure.

[김승주/고려대 정보보호대학원 교수 : ‘어떤 것들은 나는 공개하기 싫다’ 이런 게 있을 수 있잖아요. 고인은 원하지 않았는데 그것이 공개되는 문제가 발생할 수도 있거든요. 신중하게 접근할 필요가 있다.]

Rather than rushing to enact legislation right away, many point out that it is necessary to thoroughly review foreign digital heritage inheritance cases.

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