Publicity Rights/Portrait Rights in Korea: Entertainment Law Basics in Korea

The Seoul Central District Court delivered, in mid 2016, a decision ruling that an individual’s publicity rights (portrait rights) were violated by a person sharing an image on a public social media site.  The violators were sharing the images for commercial purposes and shared the images without the publisher’s consent (Seoul Central District Court 2015GaDan5324874).

Right to Publicity KoreaFACTS
Mr. A posted photos of himself on his Instagram Page.  Mr. B utilzed those photos on Naver’s Band without Mr. A’s consent. Band is a Korean social media site.

C company, also, posted the photos on Facebook without Mr. A’s consent.  Thus, Mr. A’s photos were re-posted from Mr. A’s Instagram Page and posted on Naver’s Band by an individual and posted on Facebook by a company.  Seemingly, the purpose of the re-posting was to promote the pages and products of Mr. B and Company C.  The attorneys for Mr. B and Company C argued that the terms of Instagram allowed the re-posting of the pictures, thus, Mr. A implicitly allowed the utilization of the photos.

Instagram notes in its terms and conditions of use that photos placed on Instagram may be shared freely. Nevertheless, the Seoul Central District Court ruled that Mr. A’s pictures may not be shared on any other person’s pages without the consent of Mr. A if the images are being utilized for commercial purposes.  Damages were awarded for the violation of the portrait rights of Mr. A.

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