Copyright law

Chapter 1.General provisions

Article 1 (Purpose)

The purpose of this Act is to protect the rights of authors and the rights neighboring on them and to promote fair use of works in order to contribute to the improvement and development of culture and related industries.
<Amended by Act No. 9625, Apr. 22, 2009>

Article 2 (Definitions)

The terms used in this Act shall be defined as follows:
<Amended by Act No. 9625, Apr. 22, 2009; Act No. 10807, Jun. 30, 2011; Act No. 11110, Dec. 2, 2011; Act No. 14083, Mar. 22, 2016>

  1. 1. The term “work” means a creative production that expresses human thoughts and emotions;
  2. 2. The term “author” means a person who creates a work;
  3. 3. The term “public performance” means to present to the public works, performances, phonograms or broadcasts by acting, musical playing, singing, narrating, reciting, screening, playback or other means, including transmission (excluding interactive transmission) made in the connected premises in the possession of one and the same person;
  4. 4. The term “performer” means a person who gives a stage performance by expressing works through acting, dancing, musical playing, singing, narrating, reciting or other artistic means or by expressing things other than works in a similar way, including a person who conducts, directs or supervises a stage performance;
  5. 5. The term “phonogram” means the medium in which the sound (referring to voice or sound; the same hereinafter) is fixed (including a digitalized sound): Provided, That excluding the sound fixed along with images;
  6. 6. The term “phonogram producer” means a person who makes an overall plan and takes charge of producing an original phonogram;
  7. 7. The term “public transmission” means transmitting works, stage performances, phonograms, broadcasts or database (hereinafter referred to as “works, etc.”) by making such available to the public by wire or wireless means so that the public may receive them or have access to them;
  8. 8. The term “broadcasting” means, among the public transmission, transmitting sound or image, or sound and image so that the public may receive it at the same time;
  9. 8-2. The term "encrypted broadcasting signal" means electronically encrypted broadcasting signals originated by a broadcasting organization or a person who has obtained consent from a broadcasting organization for the purpose to prevent or hinder from receiving broadcasting (limited to broadcasting by means of radio or satellite communications) without authorization;
  10. 9. The term “broadcast organization” means a person who engages in broadcasting business;
  11. 10. The term “interactive transmission” means, among types of public transmission, to make works, etc. available for the public so that the members of the public may have access at the time and place of their own choice, including transmission to be done accordingly;
  12. 11. The term “digital sound transmission” means, among types of public transmission, the transmission of sound in the digital form initiated at the request of the members of the public for the purpose of having the public receive simultaneously among the public transmission, excluding interactive transmission;
  13. 12. The term “digital sound transmission organizations” means a person who engages in digital sound transmission business;
  14. 13. The term “cinematographic work” means a creative production in which a series of images (regardless of whether accompanied by sound) are recorded, and which may be played by mechanical or electronic devices to be seen, or seen and heard through a reproduction;
  15. 14. The term “producer of cinematographic works” means one who plans and takes responsibility for the whole in the production of cinematographic works;
  16. 15. The term “works of applied art” means the works of art that may be reproduced in the same shapes as article, and whose originality may be recognized apart from the articles used for reproduction. And designs, etc. are included;
  17. 16. The term “computer program work” means a creation expressed in a series of instructions or command which are directly or indirectly applied within devices having a capability of processing information, such as a computer (hereinafter referred to as “computer”), in order to obtain certain results;
  18. 17. The term “compilation” means the collections of works, symbols, letters, sounds, images and other forms of data (hereinafter referred to as “materials”), but shall include the database;
  19. 18. The term “compilation works” means the compilations which are of creative nature in terms of selection, arrangement or composition of their materials;
  20. 19. The term “database” means compilation whose materials are systematically arranged or composed, so that they may be individually accessed or retrieved;
  21. 20. The term “producer of database” means one who has made a substantial investment in human or material resource for the production of database, or for the renewal, verification or supplement of their materials (hereinafter referred to as “renewal, etc.”);
  22. 21. The term “joint works” means the works jointly created by two or more persons, and of which the part of their contributions may not be separately exploited;
  23. 22. The term “reproduction” means the temporary or permanent fixation of works in a tangible medium or a remaking of works by means of printing, photographing, copying, sound or visual recording, or other means; in cases of architectural structures, it includes carrying out construction of works in accordance with the models or plans for the relevant construction works;
  24. 23. The term “distribution” means a transfer by assignment or lending of the original or its reproduction etc. to the public for free or at charge;
  25. 24. The term “publication” means a reproduction and distribution of the works or phonograms to meet public demand;
  26. 25. The term “making works public” means to make the works open to the public by means of public performance, public transmission, or exhibit and by other means, and to publish the works;
  27. 26. The term “copyright trust service” means a business which continuously manages rights on behalf of the holder of economic rights of author, an exclusive publication right, publication right, or neighboring right or a person who has the right as a database producer, and which includes the case of a general agent regarding exploitation of works;
  28. 27. The term “copyright agency or brokerage service” means a business which acts as an agent or a broker on behalf of the holder of economic rights of author, an exclusive right of publication, publication right, or neighboring right or a person who has the right as a database producer, regarding exploitation of works;
  29. 28. The term “technological protection measures” means either of the following measures:
    1. a. Technological measures taken by a right holder or a person who has obtained the said holder’s consent, in order to effectively prevent or control the access to works, etc. protected under this Act, in relation to the exercise of copyright or other rights protected pursuant to this Act;
    2. b. Technological measures taken by a right holder or a person who has obtained the said holder's consent in order to effectively prevent or restrict an act of infringing copyright or other rights protected pursuant to this Act;
  30. 29. The term “rights management information” means any of the following information or the numerals or symbols representing the said information, where each information is attached to the original or copies of the works, etc. protected by copyright or other rights protected pursuant to this Act, or is accompanied with public performance, implementation or public transmission thereof:
    1. a. Information to identify the works, etc.;
    2. b. Information to identify a person who has copyright or other rights protected pursuant to this Act;
    3. c. Information relating to the methods and conditions of the use of works, etc.;
  31. 30. The term “online service provider” means either of the following persons:
    1. a. A person who transmits, designates a route of, or provides connections to the works, etc. selected by users to deliver such works, etc. without any modification of their content through the information and communications networks (referring to the information and communications networks under Article 2 (1) 1 of the Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, etc.; hereinafter the same shall apply) between the points designated by users;
    2. b. A person who provides the services to allow users to access the information and communications networks or reproduce or interactively transmit the works, etc. through the information and communications networks, or who provides or operates facilities therefor;
  32. 31. The term “work made for hire” means a work made by an employee of a legal person, organization or other employers (hereinafter referred to as “juristic person, etc.”) during the course of his/her duties and on the initiative of legal person etc.;
  33. 32. The term “public” means a large number of unspecified persons (including a large number of specified persons);
  34. 33. The term “authentication” means to verify the justifiable holder of right for authorization of use of the works, etc.;
  35. 34. The term “decompilation of program code” means to reproduce or convert computer program work code in order to obtain information necessary for compatibility of independently created computer program works with other computer programs;
  36. 35. The term "label" means a sign to be attached, enclosed or added, or a sign devised for such purposes, to tangible copies, packages or documents of works, etc. in order to indicate that such copies have been produced with legitimate authority;
  37. 36. The term "movie theater, etc." means movie theaters, premier theaters or other places to screen cinematographic works to the public, the entrance to which is controlled by a person who screen such works.

Article 2-2 (Formulation of Measures for Protection of Copyright)

  1. (1) The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism may formulate and execute the following measures to achieve the purposes of this Act:
  1. 1. Matters concerning a basic policy for the protection of copyright and creation of an environment for fair use of works;
  2. 2. Matters concerning education and publicity for raising public awareness of copyright;
  3. 3. Matters concerning policies for the rights management information of works, etc. and for technological protection measures thereof.
  1. (2) Matters necessary for formulation and enforcement of policies pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.

<This Article Newly Inserted by Act No. 9625, Apr. 22, 2009>

Article 3 (Foreigners’ Workss)

  1. (1) Foreigners’ works shall be protected in accordance with the treaties which the Republic of Korea has acceded to or concluded.
  2. (2) The works of foreigners who permanently reside in the Republic of Korea (including stateless persons and foreign legal persons whose principal offices are located in the Republic of Korea), or foreigners’ works which are first made public in the Republic of Korea (including works made public in the Republic of Korea within 30 days after their making public in a foreign country) shall be protected under this Act.
  3. (3) Even when foreigners’ works are to be protected under paragraphs (1) and (2) (excluding foreigners who permanently reside in the Republic of Korea and stateless persons; hereinafter the same shall apply in this Article), if the relevant foreign country does not protect the works of the nationals of the Republic of Korea, their protection under treaties and this Act may be correspondingly restricted.
    <Amended by Act No. 10807, Jun. 30, 2011>
  4. (4) Even in cases of foreigners' works protected pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2), where the period of protection has expired in the relevant foreign country, the period of protection under this Act shall not be recognized.
    <Newly Inserted by Act No. 10807, Jun. 30, 2011>