Ask Korea Law

Published by Chung & Partners Since 2008


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Court Rulings on the legality of Internet-Based TV Recording Service and Time/Place-Shifting Device Hosting Service – Korea, Japan, Singapore and the U.S.

There exist growing needs for consumers to watch TV broadcastings from any place and by any way they want.  In response to these needs, several new business models have come into; for example, an Internet TV recording and/or streaming service, RS-DVR, SlingBox and any other place/time-shifting devices hosting services.  But the problem is that copyright holders, the TV broadcasting companies, are fiercely objecting to these new business models contending they are infringing their copyrights.  It is quite interesting for an IP lawyer to see how the courts from various countries have found the answer to this legal issue.

Lets’ start with the situation in South Korea, where I’m practicing the law.  Actually there have been two cases related to this issue; Ental TV case and MyTV caseEntal TV was an Internet-based TV recording service.  The registered users paid some amount of fees to the service provider and the service provider recorded TV broadcastings on its server at the request of the individual users with its automated software program, then converted it into the PC file format and sent the file to the user via Internet.  On April 30, 2009, the Seoul High Court ruled this Ental TV service infringed copyright of the TV Broadcasters.  The court found that it was the service provider, not an individual user, who recorded and copied the TV program, because the service provider owned and managed all the facilities used in recording the TV program.  Also the Court added that even though it was the individual user who copied the TV program, the very act of copying Continue reading


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Seoul Court Ruled Uploading 15-Second Video of Toddler’s Dancing to a Famous Singer’s Song Is Not a Copyright Infringement and the Copyright Holder Who Sent an Unjust Take Down Notice Is Liable for a Monetary Compensation

There have been an increasing conflict between the free expression and the copyright protection in relation to the matter of a UCC, a user-created content, posted on the internet site.  For example, in the United States, there was a legal dispute concerning a 29-second YouTube video clip of a toddler dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”. In that case, the copyright holder to the Prince’s song alleged the YouTube video clip explicitly infringed the song’s copyright.

Almost the identical lawsuit had been filed in South Korea. In Korea, a father uploaded to his blog operated by Naver, the largest Internet portal site, a video capturing his 5 year-old daughter singing and dancing to a famous Korean female singer(Dambi Sohn)’s song, titled “Crazy” – what a coincident that two cases even had very similar song titles, “Let’s Go Crazw” and “Crazy”.  Just soon after the video clip was uploaded, it was taken down by the portal site operator upon a request from the copyright holder to the song alleging the video is a copyright infringement as it was used without permission. Then the father filed both a declaratory lawsuit claiming that uploading the video did not constitute a copyright infringement and a monetary compensation lawsuit for mental distress which he suffered from the unjust take down of the video he’d made.

On February 18, 2010, the Seoul Southern District Court sided with the father. The court ruled that uploading a video at issue did not constitute a copyright infringement because it fell within the scope of “the quotation from works made public” under Article 28 of the Copyright Act, which Continue reading