Friday, August 21, 2009

The Korean Copyright Laws

One of the columnist in the Catholic Paper reviewed the copyright law that took effect July 23rd. It was necessary for persons have the right to protect their intellectual property: films, music, art works , pictures, poetry etc. and they are entitled to a proportionate remuneration for their work. Korea one of the finest Internet set ups in the world did have a problem with using materials without the copyright owner's permission. It was not only protection from distorting what was being copied but was demanding that the authors of these works give permission for their use and be entitled to remuneration for their efforts.

He than goes on to mention Jonas Salk the discover of the polio vaccine. Salk was hailed as a miracle worker. He endeared himself to the public by refusing to patent the vaccine. He had no desire to profit personally from the discovery, but merely wished to see the vaccine disseminated as widely as possible. Although he was tempted by many drug companies he refused.

The columnist who is also a professor mentioned how an older poet had planned to have a poetry exhibition accompanied by some pictures that he painted . After spending time and money to prepare the place for the exhibit he received a call one night from a poet , " why was he using one of his poems? Did he not know the copyright laws of the country?" After all was prepared he had to cancel everything.

The columnist does spend some time mentioning many who have even given their lives for others as a sign of love with no desire for pay back. He mentions again in conclusion the wonderful example of Jonas Salk who when asked to patent his discovery mentioned, "who has the patent on the Sun?"

There is a need for copyright laws but also there should be some leeway in their application. This new law in the eyes of many will hurt the Internet world of blogs and the vitality of what we have had. There was an example of a family that took a home video of their child singing a song that was copyrighted and was shown on one of Korea's most popular sites . The holder of the copyright asked the blog to block the 58 seconds of use .

This new law is causing a great deal of difficulty in what is allowed and and what is not. It will close down many websites on Korean cyberspace and many could move overseas. It will take away some of the freedom the bloggers have had and will cause a great deal of confusion and fear for many in the years ahead. There is hope that we will have some clarification in the months ahead on how the law will be implemented.

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