by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, copyright extension, free trade, korea

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?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    db0, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 5:52am


    I've just checked the article and it mentions 160 Billion, not 170 million.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Evil Mike, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:27am

    Re: Billion

    160 Billion Won ~= 170 million US $

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Jason Still, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Re: Billion

    The article said 160 billion won

    1 South Korean won = 0.001065 U.S. dollars

    so that comes out to about $170,400,000 USD

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:33am

    Re: Billion

    That is 160 billion won (the currency of South Korea).

    Exchange Rate

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    MadJo (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:35am

    Re: Billion

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:36am

    Re: Billion

    What the 3 guys above said.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Deserving Name, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Billion

    (quietly but arrogantly sticks pinky into mouth and chuckles as he mutters)

    1 Billion Won

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    db0, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Billion

    Oh, sorry. My bad.

    Back to lurking I guess :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    zcat, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 1:09pm


    By all means, keep quoting the cost at "160 BILLION" without mentioning the currency.. ;-) it's certainly no worse than what the MAFIAA do when they quote 'loss to piracy' by pulling large numbers from various orifices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    yamanin, Dec 23rd, 2007 @ 11:51pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    uri geller, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 12:38am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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