A “Tasty” Exclusive Agent Agreement for Artists & Entertainers in Korea: Entertainment Law Basics in Korea

The Fair Trade Commission of Korea (FTC) created a sample standard-form Exclusive Agent Agreement for Entertainment Agreements, in Korea, that was, recently, challenged by the Chinese Band Twin Duo “Tasty.” The Chinese band filed a lawsuit against the Korean entertainment company – SM C&C – in order to invalidate a 7-year exclusive agent agreement – claiming that because of major differences with the Korean entertainment company, the relationship between the parties was frustrated.  SM utilized a standard-form agency agreement that was developed by the FTC. In 2015GaHab19327, the Seoul Central District Court ruled, among other things, that: The FTCs standard-form agency agreement is presumptively valid in the entertainment business in Korea. The Seoul Central District Court, further, noted that the intent of this exclusive agreement was not to bind the entertainers to long terms, thus, the FTC made the standard-form exclusive agency agreement term at seven years in order to

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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). FACTS 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

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English-speaking Korean lawyers and International Lawyers at International Law Firm in Korea discussing issues of Korean Law

IPG Legal is a leading client-focused international law firm with offices in Korea that is, often, selected over the ubiquitous Korean Law Firms when success is essential and success depends on nuanced street-smart advice, proactive  and unconflicted representation. Our attorneys are, intentionally. different from the crowd.  From our retired judge partners to our junior associates, we are all trained with an intense focus on client success, lawyer proactivity, and to understand the nexus between your commercial and legal needs. Our attorneys shall never push to you useless memos, non-nuanced legal advice or get you into litigation without an honest assessment of the merits and shortcomings of the matter. We are  – intentionally different from the crowd.  Globally Experienced – Locally Connected.  We are IPG.  Korean Legal Practices Korean Antitrust, Competition & FTC Arbitration, Int’l & Domestic Korean Civil Litigation Korean Criminal Defense Korean Corporate Law & Compliance Korean Employment, Labor &

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Searching Trademark & Service Marks in Korea: Register your Trademarks/Service Marks Prior to Doing Business in Korea

Prior to marketing products, services or a business in Korea do a thorough search for like trademarks/service marks in Korea, then, have your trademarks/service marks registered in Korea – if you don’t want the added cost of litigating a matter at a Korean court.  If you have patents, don’t forget to, also, register your patents and other intellectual property. Your U.S. and E.U. trademark, service mark and patent filings are not enough. These “international filings” only gives you a grace period to file outside of these jurisdictions.  The Korea Intellectual Property Organization has a website, in English, that has a decent search system.  Regrettably, not all of the information on the site is in English.  This search is not the end of the matter.  You should, obviously, also hire a professional to assist. Upon filing, also, make sure you develop at strategy to protect your Intellectual Property.  Your strategy should,

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Korean Talent can Increase your Brand’s Exposure in the West by Dan Gardner

Football does funny things to people it, even, makes men cry. You can’t put into words the hollow feeling a Liverpool fan feels when losing to Manchester United fan – the feeling is akin to a death in the family. The transfer season in football is a stressful time for most football fans. Player transfers can generally make or break your team’s season, star signings by a manager can generally mean glory for fans and commercial bonanza for teams. A member of your national team is like the birth of a child in the family. Work stops and strangers come together to celebrate. Commercial strategies have become more apparent with each transfer season, with team’s now focusing on the commercial potential of the Asian fan base. The ‘shirt seller’ has become an important tool for European football teams. The ‘shirt seller’ has become a popular term coined by the big

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Korean Tax Laws on Entertainment Companies in Korea: Overseas Tax Deductions

Korean Tax Laws have been amended to tighten rules on exemptions for foreign and domestic companies and individuals.  I have reported on a number of this changes in this blog. One change that is having an impact on Entertainment Companies is the reduction in exemptions for companies selling movies and games overseas.  Additional information on this topic can be found at: The Korean Entertainment Law Blog. Before the amendment to this Tax Law, The Korean National Tax Service allowed Korean companies that sold movies or games overseas – tax exemptions on the taxes they paid to government overseas. However, the Korean government no longer grants such benefits; they only allow tax exemptions of 20% – 30% of the taxes that paid overseas. Korea exported entertainment contents worth over 5 trillion won last year.  The Korean Entertainment Industry is crying foul and we, likely, we see more aggressive lobbying by the

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Korean Tourism Infrastructure Improving: Special Act for the Expansion of Tourism Accommodation

The Korean Tourism Organization under the leadership of a German-born non-ethnic Korean is the greatest reason for the increase in the number of tourists in Korea.  The KTO has been transformed from a government black hole into a vibrant organization with a bold vision. One of the most significant issues for tourists visiting Korea, because of the drastic increase in tourism over the past few years, has been the lack of adequate accommodation. Seoul is notorious for having, during peak times of the year, a lack of adequate business class rooms.  The situation is even more dire in many of the more remote areas.  The recent implementation of the Special Act for the Expansion of Tourism Accommodation Facilities is intended to help resolve this issues.  The Act’s most significant benefits includes: Extending the maximum period for a lease of a hotel facility to 30 years from the present five years;

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How Sustainable is the Korea-Pop Music Phenomenon?

Among the many topics that have surfaced during the past two months as I traveled about Ireland and the US West Coast, I settled on the below, current report as I have been thinking for months of writing a column on just what the Korea Wave or Hallyu may actually be or not be. Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI) does a decent job in describing what are the results of Hallyu around the world.  The analyst provides a decent account of how these boy and girl acts succeed, but there is no real attempt to explain why Korean pop (K-Pop) has been so popular or at least appear to be so successful.  My initial impressions from many observations and discussions have provided me with some very tentative conclusions. The most obvious and least surprising success factor for any kind of adolescent or young adult phenomenon is sex appeal or the

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Status of Interns Under the Korean Labor Standards Act: Employees Entitled to Severance/Minimum Wage?

Interns in Korea may be considered Employees under the Korean Labor Standards Act, thus, entitling the interns to minimum wage, severance and the numerous other protections and benefits under the Act.   The matter is having an impact on franchises, entertainment companies, and other SMEs. The, incredibly vague, Employment & Labor Ministry Guideline 826 (April 7, 2009) notes, in part, that: If a person is considered an employee under the Labor Standards Act shall be determined by considering the subordinate relations with the employer collectively – with regard to the details of job, supervision by the employer, disciplinary actions, capability to ignore work orders and the type of wages paid, etc.  In cases when students provide work to an employer to gain academic credit with no promise to hire via a academic-industrial cooperation agreement, even though the agreement contains working hours, a stipend, social insurances, etc. the students are, generally,

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Second-Screen Legal Issues Addressed by Attorney Sean Hayes at MIPCOM in Cannes, France

The following article appears in MIPCOM. MIPCOM’s website may be found here. Primary Issues for Second Screen “The Second-screen format that enables viewers to interact with TV content via social media could be opening up a tangle of legal issues, concluded speakers at Second Screen – Legal Issues and Solutions. Organized by the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers, the speakers noted that viewers’ ability to access extra TV-related content on smartphones and tablets posed new legal challenges for broadcasters and advertisers hoping to monetize the experience.  For example, second-screen apps with digital-fingerprint and automated content-recognition (ACR) technologies are able to track viewing behavior via data collected during a show.  “But who owns your digital fingerprints or the collection of these fingerprints?” Asked Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, Dutch attorney-at-law at bureau Brandeis. “The collection of fingerprints forms a database. But while the European Union recognizes database rights, the US does not. The

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K-Pop Star Psy and Currency Swaps – Interesting Article on the Continued Ascent of “Brand Korea”

Reuters, in a new article co-written by Se Young Lee and Christine Kim, has made out yet another case for the impressive popularity of “Brand Korea.”  Korea’s government recently announced three currency swap deals worth more than USD 20 billion.  What makes things truly remarkable about all this is that Korea is able to couple its economic prosperity with cultural influence in Asia and, now, even North America. The result, as we know, is a booming situation on the peninsula where the impression is that everything is going to continue to get better. The article notes, amongst other things, that: “[Korea] can easily afford to match cultural diplomacy with economic muscle as it competes with Japan and China for influence. K-Pop icons such as Psy, whose ‘Gangnam Style’ hit went viral in 2012, and even Korean food are used by Seoul to build South Korea’s brand, while Samsung Electronics Co

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Sean Hayes Attends American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising

IPG has one of the leading practices in Franchise and Distribution in Asia.  Sean Hayes will attend the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising. From the event’s brochure: Welcome to the 36th Annual forum on Franchising at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida on October 16-18, 2013. Starting on Wednesday, October 16, highly-experienced franchise attorneys will present Fundamentals of Franchising, the finest course available on the basics of franchise law.  Two additional five-hour intensive programs will also be offered: an in-depth program on the theory and practice of mediating a franchise dispute, and Fundamentals of International Franchising, featuring experienced practitioners from both sides of the pond. On Thursday and Friday, twenty-four engaging, unparalleled workshops cover a variety of legal developments and business challenges facing the franchise industry.  Make sure to attend outstanding plenary sessions, including the popular Annual Developments, a survey of the key cases and decisions in

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‘Meet the Lawyers’ Session at MIPCOM Features Sean Hayes

Along with the speech by attorney Sean Hayes at MIPCOM on October 8, 2013 – Sean participated in a session entitled ‘Meet the Lawyers.’ Sean discussed, during the session, issues related to the clearing and acquisition of intellectual property in Asia.   In attendance were attorneys from Germany, Holland, Turkey, Korea, the UK and the US. Other articles that may be of interest that relate to MIPCOM: Sean Hayes Speech on Second Screen Legal Issues Reported in MIPCOM News October 9, 2013 Sean Hayes will be Speaking at MIPCOM on Second Screen Legal Issues You can visit MIPCOM’s website here. ___info@ipglegal.com (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. info@ipglegal.com.

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Sean Hayes will be Speaking at MIPCOM

MIPCOM promotional materials regarding Sean’s speech: As the popularity of second-screen apps and automated content recognition (ACR) grows, so do its legal and technical issues.  Do these apps have the rights to use content from television programs?  Who owns the digital fingerprints and who has the right to use them in conjunction with network programs?  Who owns the second-screen experience and the relationship with the viewer?  Our panel of experts will discuss the current law in the TV space and what the future holds. All legal seminars organized with IAEL are eligible for accreditation for The England & Wales SRA, the Dutch Bar Association, and the New York and California Bar Associations.  To claim such points, fill out your attendance forms at the event!___info@ipglegal.com (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. info@ipglegal.com.

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Business Opportunities in Korea for Entertainment Companies

I just read a blog post by my friends over at the China Law Blog that motivated me to write the following post.  Korea is an excellent testing ground to determine the feasibility of your business for other Asian markets such as China or Japan.  The country has, also, proven more profitable, for many businesses, than the often too hard to catch “Chinese Middle Class.” The following is a list of some industries that are successful in Korea: 1.  Franchises.  The franchise market in Korea is booming.  All major players are in Korea and most are doing very well.  Many of the lesser-known franchises have also succeeded.  2.  Education.  Koreans have a thirst for education that seems insatiable.  Much of the market, however, is closed to foreign competition.  3. Military Technology.  Korea is one of world’s largest purchasers of military technology.  All major players have a solid footing in Korea

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Enforcing your Trademark Rights in Korea: IP Protection Strategies for Korea

Please register all of your trademarks and other intellectual property in Korea.  Yes, your “international filing” is not good enough.  You must, before engaging in any additional consideration of doing business in Korea register your IP in Korea.  Don’t even read further.  Contact us and we will happily advise a good patent/trademark agent to utilize.  No need to get a law firm to do this for you – the agents are, typically, adequate for most non-complex filings.  After registering all your IP in Korea, please follow, at a minimum this simply advise.   Do a Comprehensive Intellectual Property Audit.  Form a team to audit all your intellectual property including your patents, trademarks, servicemarks, books, manuals, videos, software, know-how, and trade secrets.  The purpose of this Audit is to determine if all of your IP is registered and properly safeguarded.  This is discussed more at: Protecting Your Intellectual Property in Korea. 

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Ministry of National Defense Abolishes Entertainment Soldiers

The majority of Korean men have to serve two years in the Korean military.  Refusal to serve or attempting to avoid service, typically, leads to a jail sentence.   The situation, in the past, was a little less burdensome for the rich, connected and for entertainers (singers, actors etc.).  The situation is changing.  Many of rich and connected that have attempted to avoid military service have been prosecuted and now entertainers will, also, have to serve in a fashion typical to all other men in Korea.  Some Entertainers, previously, served in a special unit called, “Volunteered Public Relations of the National Defense (국방홍보지원대).”  The soldiers in this Unit are, often, referred to as “Entertainment Soldiers (연예병사).”   This “Military” Unit consists, mainly, of male celebrities whose purpose is to entertain other military units and sometimes the public.  However, with the recent scandals involving soldiers, the Ministry of National Defense decided to abolish

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Game Regulations being Enforced to Korean Children

Children in Korea, under the age of 17, are prohibited, according to a recent law, to be provided access to online games between midnight and 6AM. The law has forced online providers of games to shut their sites to children during these periods of time. A new law have been proposed restricting the use of video games by these children for more than two hours at one time and four hours in one day. The details and enforcement mechanisms for this proposed law in Korea are not yet known. Korea is one of the leading nations in sales of online and mobile games. The proposed law has led to a decrease in the stock value of some of the major Korean game companies. What should be the role of government in regulating the use of video games?______Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com. Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea

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Korean Business/Service Marks Protection under the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act

Supreme Court Decision 2008Do5897 delivered on January 30, 2009【Violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act】 Translation of Official Court Summary The appearance of a particular singer and unique actions of others are intangible and variable features close to an impression or image have little function as a fixed mark that differentiates a matter from another matter. If the particular appearance and action is to be regarded as a mark of a business and if the use of this is punished under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act’s purpose to protect one’s effort and investment in the mark of a business and achievement of making the mark well-known to the public from free riders that distort competitive order, therefore a particular singer’s appearance, unique action, etc, except the singer’s name shall not be a mark of business under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. Translations of Korean Court Entertainment Law

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The Violation of Right of Publicity in Korea: Badminton Player Park Ju-Bong’s Case

Seoul Central District Court Decision 2007Gahap2393 delivered on November 28, 2007【Claim for Prohibition of Using Analogous Trademark】 Translation of Official Court Summary  Where the economic value, which is created by the name and portrait, etc. of internationally well-known former player of the national badminton team, is recognized widely among advertisement businesses and related businesses, the action of infringing the value shall constitute a tort under the Civil Act. Within the above limit of protection, the above player’s exclusive control over the commercial use of one’s name, portrait, etc, shall be a sufficient right for publicity, thus it is an independent and separate property right from the player’s moral right, though the right is derived from the player’s moral right. Translations of Korean Court Entertainment Law Cases (Court Summaries) Korean Business/Service Marks Protection under the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act The Violation of Right of Publicity in Korea:

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