Netflix’s Global Hit ‘Squid Game’ Spurs Lawsuit Over Internet Traffic Surge in South Korea

The runaway streaming hit from creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk has generated near-constant commentary on Twitter and elsewhere in recent days.


Image via Netflix


Squid Game, a runaway critical and commercial megahit for Netflix, is at the center of legal action taken by a Seoul-based telecommunications company.

The suit focuses on the surge in traffic spurred by the Hwang Dong-hyuk series, with another Netflix hit—Han Jun-hee’s D.P.—also receiving a mention. According to a Reuters report, internet service provider SK Broadband has sued the streamer in an effort to get them to cover costs from increased network traffic “and maintenance work” due to a boom in viewership.

In a statement to Variety on Monday, a rep for Netflix reaffirmed their aim of a “collaborative relationship” between content providers and ISPs.

“We are investing heavily in bringing great K-content to our audiences around the world,” a spokesman said. “Despite ongoing litigation, we will continue to seek open dialogue with SK Broadband so consumers can continue to enjoy high-quality content streaming at fast speeds.”

Previously, a court in Seoul determined that Netflix should provide something in exchange for network usage. Additionally, lawmakers in South Korea have been critical of those who don’t pay for such usage when their content is resulting in a traffic boom.

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Complex has reached out to a rep for Netflix for additional comment and will update this post accordingly.

Squid Game centers on a deadly survival game in which desperate contestants in need of money face off for the chance to secure a financial windfall. The increasingly massive streaming blockbuster stars Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, and more. Less than a month ago, all nine episodes of the equally unsettling and addictive series hit Netflix accounts.

In a recent interview with Korea Times, Hwang Dong-hyuk—who created, wrote, and directed Squid Game—detailed its years-long journey to the screen. The initial idea for the show first came to him way back in 2008, but—due to its central “bizarre” concept—it took more than a decade for the ball to get rolling.

“The world has changed into a place where such peculiar, violent survival stories are actually welcomed,” Hwang said. “People commented on how the series is relevant to real life. Sadly, the world has changed in that direction.”

Hwang previously praised the team at Netflix for giving him creative freedom to tell the story as he wanted to tell it, adding that—years prior to the successful Netflix pitch—the idea felt “unfamiliar and violent,” not to mention “a little too complex.”

Squid Game is available now via your Netflix account. Last week, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the show’s worldwide popularity when speaking at Vox Media’s Code Conference. 

Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure,” Sarandos said. “It’s only been out for nine days and it’s a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever.”

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