A 32-year-old YouTuber, well-known by his alias Doldi, abruptly announced an indefinite suspension of his online activity as of Feb. 14.
In his last video, Doldi said, "I won't be able to upload contents for a while or even for a long period of time, because I got a problem at my job from YouTube(ing)."
The YouTuber, who mainly dealt with investment and finance, neither uploaded content about his career nor shared secret information related to his company's business. He did not start his YouTube channel with the aim to make a big fortune either, which violates regulations at most major firms here.
But his company argued that Doldi's "hobby" could tarnish its reputation and told him to either quit his job or stop his YouTube activity.
Doldi's case sparked controversy among young office workers here, many of whom think about having channels on online platforms. In a survey by the country's biggest e-commerce website Gmarket last week, 35 percent of its 875 customers answered they were interested in starting or are already operating their channels. The ratio jumped to 45 percent for those in their 30s.
Many office workers find YouTube an attractive platform, in particular, as it is easy and free for anyone to start their own channel and share information about their interests. It also pays good advertisement bonuses when a channel has more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of viewing time achieved.
One real estate investor in his 40s, who started his YouTube channel to share his knowledge and information last June, revealed that he earned 3 million won when 10,000 people subscribed to his channel and 5 million won with 30,000 subscribers. Now he has nearly 184,700 subscribers.
Most large local companies such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, CJ Group and AmorePacific do not regulate their employees' own online media activity, but they do not encourage it either.
Samsung Electronics sees YouTube as one of many social media and it does not have a particular rule banning its employees from enjoying the online activity.
"Of course, their hobby as a YouTuber should not disrupt their work during office hours and the content they upload online should not cause any ethical problems in society," a Samsung Electronics official said. "Other than that, running an online channel at home after work is fine."
LG Electronics took a similar stance in that it allows its employees to act as YouTubers as long as their online activity does not break company rules.
"We do have rules banning employees from taking a second job. But we don't see doing YouTube at home as a second job; we see it rather as a hobby. So far, there has been no case where the company has regulated an employee from doing it after work," an LG Electronics official said.
Major conglomerates CJ Group and AmorePacific also agreed that their employees can work as YouTubers in their leisure time as long as they do not damage the firm's reputation or leak business secrets.
"We don't recommend our employees do YouTube as a second job. But there is no company rule that bans them from having it as a side job. We allow staff to create content and upload it online if it helps with their original job here," an AmorePacific official said.
Lawyer Paek Sung-moon of the Ariyul law firm said working as a YouTuber was no problem for office workers, just like they could publish a book or make music as a second job without violating company regulations.
"It is hard to see YouTube as a second job ― that most company ban here. Also, local companies regulate their employees from pursuing side jobs for profit but you can hardly say people can for sure make money by uploading content only on YouTube," Paek told The Korea Times. "Even if one started his channel with such a purpose, there is no guarantee they will make a profit from it.
"If the person has leaked his company's business secrets or talked about his company online. That can be regulated with different types of crime charges such as defamation," Paek added.
source: The Korea Times