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Korean Copyright Law on Playing Copyrighted Music in Public or Private Business – Starbucks Korea Case

A while ago, I posted an article, titled “Starbucks Korea Sued for Music Copyright Infringement“.  Under Copyright Act of Korea, “it is permitted to play any commercial phonograms or cinematographic works in public if no benefit in turn for the relevant public performance is received from the audience or spectators”.  However this shall not be applied to all the business place.  The Copyright Act does not apply this clause to certain areas of business, such as department stores, shopping malls, airplanes, golf courses and “any places of business regulated under Food Sanitation Act(FSA) where a part of its main contents of business is the appreciation of musical or cinematographic works, being equipped with special facilities to appreciate the musical or cinematographic works”.

The Starbucks coffee shop is regulated under FSA.  The party alleging copyright infringement is arguing “‘appreciation of musical works’ is a part of main Continue reading