The Real Cost Of Copyright Extension In Korea: $170 Million

from the ouch dept

Earlier this year, we pointed out how ridiculous it was that the US was forcing South Korea to extend the length of copyright in the name of free trade agreements. After all, copyright is the opposite of free trade — it’s about monopoly protectionism, and that’s very costly. Now we actually have an idea of just how costly. William Patry writes about the history of copyright extension, highlighting how it’s really just a game of leapfrog, where Big Copyright holders use the differences in copyright law to continually extend it out further and further — completely going against the purpose of copyright law. However, the real key to Patry’s writeup is to point to a report from South Korea talking about just how much damage copyright extension is doing to local publishers. That’s quite a statement, since copyright extension supporters always talk about how it’s designed to help publishers. Not so. Publishers are complaining that the new rules will limit how many books they can publish, and the government is being forced to hand over approximately $170 million to keep the publishers happy. So, for all the talk of how copyright extension is necessary to protect the publishing industry, in South Korea, it seems to be costing taxpayers at least $170 million — while making sure that fewer books are published. How is that possibly aligned with the stated purpose of copyright to encourage more content creation?

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Comments on “The Real Cost Of Copyright Extension In Korea: $170 Million”

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yamanin says:


I live in South Korea, and most of the coverage of the FTA and the protests against it have focused on things like importation of American beef and rice (which would actually be a good thing for the majority of the population as it would lower food prices) or the screen quota that protects the Korean film industry (which no longer needs it now that they’ve started producing quality films instead of the low-budget crap that was churned out by the bucketful in the 70s and 80s.) I personally would find the idea of forcing Koreans to accept the US copyright “standard” that was put in place to ensure a work-free living for Sono Bono’s grandchildren (though not with Cher, since Chastity is a lesbian) far more disturbing than reducing the price of bulgogi at my local restaraunt. I’ll see if I can’t get a protest organized; not hard to do around here.

uri geller says:

copyright extension

Facts be known, western companies cannot do business in Korea – or they be driven out by how/where they are situation, put in impossible locations logistically. Copyright is just one small piece. Western internets refuse to allow access to Korean internet or email because of Korean internet behavior. Trademarked brands are really really important parts of Intellectual Property that allow that consumer products companies to achieve distinction and quality / variety differentiation taking many years to achieve. Copyright theft refers to stealing copyrighted things such as written and recorded information. Trademarks are a little vague but you know it when you see it – logos, names, distinct combination of shape and colors etc. Walk into any e Mart or Shinsegai and you see it – but being used by Korean company. The theft of Starbucks brand by Korean firms and then have it upheld in court and you understand where Korea is on the development curve. It dropped from 20th to 40th on the World Bank developed country ranking because of this kind of crap – along with the b.s. of chaebols CEO criminals behavior – thugs and petty criminals being convicted of serious crimes and then told it is ok you can go home now. Grow up Korea.

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