Anti-graft law may threaten K-pop concerts
Live Events , Regulation / November 2016

CORPORATE REGULATION Live events sector   The new “anti-graft” law (the Kim Young-ran Act) could have profound effects on live music in South Korea – something already seen in the classical music sector as conglomerates have moved to reduce or discontinue their support for concerts to avoid corruption charges – meaning symphony orchestras and concert organisers will lose the main buyers of bulk tickets, with concerts relying on corporate sponsorship for about half of ticket sales with the companies often using the tickets VIP customers as part of marketing promotions. “Orchestras are desperate for funding but it’s always difficult to find a patron. The new law will discourage companies even further from sponsoring orchestras,” said a public relations (PR) official for a renowned Korean orchestra, declining to be named adding “Companies will find it harder sending out invitation tickets and some are considering ditching sponsorship. I heard that one company has pulled out of sponsorship entirely.” Major domestic companies said they will cut their sponsorship of various cultural events as the anti-graft law mean companies cannot give out tickets to customers with one telecoms company saying “The ridiculous law will practically outlaw the sponsorship of classical concerts by big companies, taking a toll on…

Concert fraudster gets two years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2016

CRIMINAL Live events     CRIMINAL: A man who defrauded people out of more than $1 million by falsely claiming he could help book a Pharrell concert for a South Korean steel company – and also by targeting women in online dating scams – has been sentenced to two years in prison in the USA. Billboard reports that Sigismond Segbefia, 29, a native of Ghana who lived in Silver Spring, Maryland at the time of the frauds, was arrested in New York and prosecuted by federal authorities in Pittsburgh because one of his biggest dating scam victims was a Pennsylvania woman he defrauded out of more than $222,000 by using the name and address of an unwitting Pittsburgh-area postal worker. Segbefia, who pleaded guilty in December, must pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution. He has agreed to be deported after serving his prison term for aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. In pleading guilty to the dating scams, Segbefia acknowledged his role in the unrelated crime of defrauding Dosko Co. out of $375,000 by pretending he could arrange to promote a show by Pharrell Williams. Nobody else has been charged in that scheme, though Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci told Senior…

New South Korean licensing law puts venues at risk, and Prohibition era state laws ban alcohol at US event
Licensing , Live Events / September 2015

LICENSING Live events sector     The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety was warned that venues risk being shut of they don’t apply for the correct licence. One high profile example is the Night & Music club in Hongdae and many other venues in that neighbourhood have an uncertain future due to a revised law that takes effect on February 19th, 2016. The new regulations include a clause on establishments which are registered as “ordinary restaurants”and which will ban customers from singing and dancing as well as the venue using a sound system. Previously, the law stated that restaurants can cook and sell food along with alcohol, but did not specifically state that singing or dancing was prohibited. To host singing and dancing, such establishments will have to register as “bars” under the new law, which is a more lengthy process with more restrictions on location,  and attracts a 30% uplift in tax. “The existing law did not include details on how to penalize those who violate business license regulations,” a ministry official said. “With the revision, local authorities will be able to better carry out the law and crack down on violators.” Under the revised law, a first-time violator will…

Korean teen stars face new legislation
Artists , Employment Law , Live Events / August 2014

EMPLOYMENT LAW Live events sector, broadcasting, artistes   Teenage Korean ‘K-Pop’ stars are facing new legislation put in place to protect young people  from onerous work schedules. Two provisions of a new law will affect pop performers in particular: Firstly, performers under the age of 15 won’t be able to work more than 35 hours a week, and those between 15-18 won’t be able to work more than 40 hours. The devil is in the detail (as ever) – and the question remains what “work” is defined as, with Music Times asking: “Does doing publicity count?” and “Does being present at a concert venue prior to going onstage count?” The legislation does allow that “exceptions can be made for projects requiring long-distance travel.” Minors will also be barred from practicing their craft between the hours of 22.00 and 06,00 which may provide ;ogistical huredles for the live events sector and live T. That statute can be waived of parental permission is granted The second provision affecting young performers is the section preventing minors from wearing skimpy outfits or performing “suggestive” dance routines – but again critics say the provisions are ill defined. The strength or weaknesses of the law aside,…

Research says that French “three strikes” law has no deterrent effect
Copyright , Internet / February 2014

COPYRIGHT Internet   The effectiveness of graduated-response anti-piracy systems that have now been implemented in France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and the USA has always been debated, and new research from American and French researchers, based on a survey of 2,000 internet users in France, has found that the so called 2009 ‘three strikes’ system in France (the ‘Hadopi’ law) has not deterred individuals from engaging in digital piracy and the system does not reduce the intensity of illegal activity of those who did engage in piracy. The researchers from the University of Delaware Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the Université de Rennes I – Center for Research in Economics and Management also noted that for those internet users with closer links to the piracy community – a classification based on the piracy chat in said users’ social networks – the introduction of three-strikes in France, which targeted exclusively P2P file-sharing, pushed file-sharers down other routes to accessing unlicensed content.  More than a third sampled —37.6 percent—admitted to illegal downloading, with 22 percent using P2P networks and 30 percent using “alternative channels.” About 16.4 percent of those who had engaged in the downloads received a warning from Hadopi, the government agency with the…

Japan introduces new download sanctions
Copyright / October 2012

COPYRIGHT all areas Illegal downloaders in Japan now face prison terms of up to two years and fines of nearly 2 million yen (U.S. $25,679) from today. The Japanese government says that the move is aimed to protect the film industry and stop falling music sales in the World’s second largest music market, where record industry officials estimate only one in 10 downloads are legally purchased. The Recording Industry Association of Japan says the legal download music market shrank 16% in 2011, the second consecutive year of decline. The slide comes despite global sales of digital music increasing 8% last year to $5.2 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and Japan content owners hope the new regime will mirror the success of the ‘three strikes’ legislation introduced in South Korea which the IFPI says warns off 70% of infringers after the first notification and France where according to the IFPI Peer-to-peer piracy levels declined by 26% in France in 2011 after the implementation of the law Hadopi.

Music Business Tunes for Next Copyright Fight
Copyright , Record Labels / February 2012

COPYRIGHT Record labels                                        ARTICLE LINK:  A useful update on the recorded music sector’s current position on piracy and its presumed wish list for legislative and other change

Jackson clan face cancellation claim from 1990 tour
Contract , Live Events / August 2010

CONTRACT Live events industry A new lawsuit, specifically targeting Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson, is being brought by a South Korean newspaper called The Segye Times in relation to a Jackson family tour that never happened back in the early nineties. The Segye Times is owned by the Unification Church, often referred to as the ‘Moonies’ after the church’s founder, Sun Myung Moon. It seems that in 1990 the Church had the idea of putting the whole Jackson family back on tour for the first time since 1984, and used their Korean media firm to negotiate a deal. The original plan involved Michael Jackson, though he never actually agreed to take part. Because of this refusal the whole project collapsed, but not before the Church, via their media firm, had paid out considerable advances which they claim $5.5 million, to Katherine, Joe and Jermaine Jackson. Michael Jackson settled a specific litigation against him in 1992, but the rest of the family failed to negotiate a deal so the whole dispute went to court in 1994. According to reports in the US, Katherine and Joe Jackson ignored the litigation, and therefore a judgement was made against them to the tune of…

Despite piracy, digital sales now represent 27% of label’s revenue
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2010

COPYRIGHT Internet, record labels The IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2010 shows that global digital music trade revenues reach US$4.2 billion, up 12% in 2009 are representing over a quarter of all recorded music revenue worldwide. Over over  400 services are licensed worldwide. The Report outlines how music companies are diversifying their revenue streams, offering new ways for consumers to buy and access music. These include: subscription services; music services bundled with devices and broadband subscriptions; streaming services with applications for mobile devices; advertising-supported services that offer premium services; and online music video services. However the IFPI says that despite the continuing growth of the digital music business –illegal file-sharing and other forms of online piracy are eroding investment and sales of local music in major markets.  In particular, three countries known for the historic vibrancy and influence of their music and musicians – Spain, France, Brazil – are suffering acutely, with local artist album sales or the number of releases plummeting. The IFPI say that governments are gradually moving towards legislation requiring ISPs to curb digital piracy but adds that progress needs to be much quicker.  In 2009, France, South Korea and Taiwan adopted new laws to address the label’s crisis. Other…

South Korea, Ireland and, errm Hull, take action over illegal downloads
Copyright , Internet / August 2009

COPYRIGHT Internet South Korea has passed new legislation setting up a ‘three strikes’ copyright law within a summary trial based system which has prompted Google to forbid uploading any music to blogs in the country for fear of running foul of an incredibly, broadly-worded law which includes unintentional downloading – a number of social networking sites are also warning their users not to do anything that might potentially infringe and fall foul of the system. In Ireland Eircom, the largest Internet service provider (ISP), will be rolling out a trial phase of a new “three strikes and you’re out” approach to first delay, and then deny, Internet service to people who use filesharing networks to illegally download music. First-time offenders will get a warning on their bill; a second offence will see service “throttled,” which means that download speeds will be reduced to a snail’s pace, and a third offence will cause disconnection. It had seemed that Ireland was first in reaching a voluntary agreement and not requiring that an ISP have a court order to disconnect but then the BBC Radio Humberside revealed that that Karoo, the sole ISP in the British city of Hull had unilaterally announced their own internet cut off policy for copyright infringers. Whilst both the Korean and Eircom announcements…

Nokia takes a bite out of Apple as the west finally catches up
Copyright , Internet / October 2008

COPYRIGHT Internet ARTICLE:  By Cassandra Williams postgraduate student at the College of Law Two new digital music services have just been announced, each potential threats to the dominance if Apple’s iTunes. Firstly MySpace announced that it would allow artists to stream as many tracks as they like from their MySpace site, funding the costs through advertising, and also announced that it would also compete with iTunes in selling downloads if users wish to keep tracks (on their computers or MP3 players) with a 79p per track offer. All four major labels (Warners, EMI, SonyBMG and Universal) have signed up to the service which will first launch in the US . But this article looks at a different platform – the mobile phone – where a new threat to Apple is perceived. That said, the combination of phone and music player only really took off with the iPhone. 5 million have been sold this quarter according to Information week. However there are drawbacks to Apple’s system: iTunes only offers music on a song by song basis; the tracks are all M4A and thus cannot be easily transferred to other devices; and record label executives are also known to be dissatisfied with the deals…

The copyright industry tightens the screws on illegal peer-2-peer file swappers, swapping sites and software that facilitates file swapping

COPYRIGHT Record labels, music publishers, internet Following on from the success of the MGM v Grokster case in the USA (Law Updates August2005) and other successes against peer-2-peer websites offering illegal download files (including cases in Australia, Korea and Taiwan) there have been a rash of recent news stories reinforcing the improving position of record labels, music publishers and film companies – although all still against a background of heavy piracy in illegal downloading and file swapping. iMesh has becomes the first of the ‘illegal’ P2P service to go legal (although UK based already offered a legal swapping service to its subscribers). iMesh’s new software blocks any music with a copyright from being downloaded. The service will charge using the subscription model, charging users $6.95 per month. However the real challenge will be to tempt the 5 million users of the old version that allowed free sharing to pay. In the week preceding the announcement the old version of the software was downloaded over 1.5 million times. In Hong Kong a magistrates court has convicted a man of attempting to distribute film content over the BitTorrent P2P network. Chan Nai-ming, from Hong Kong, received a three (3) month jail sentence after being…

Korean online music operator guilty of violating copyright laws

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet A Seoul criminal court has found the operator of an Internet music site guilty of violating copyright laws. Park Sung-hun, chief executive officer of Bugs Co., the country’s most popular online music site, was given a sentence of 18 months in prison with a three-year suspension, and his company was fined 20 million won (US$19,460). Park distributed tens of thousands of music files on the Internet without permission from (musicians and recording companies). Seoul Central District Court judge Lee Han-sup suspended his prison sentence in light of the fact that Park can potentially solve the dispute with the recording companies that filed the lawsuit. The court said Bugs’ free music service violated “copyright neighboring rights,” the right to distribute copyrighted materials owned by musicians and recording companies to the public. The court ruling was another blow to the online music service industry. In January two developers of the free online music file-sharing site Soribada were ordered to pay 19 million won in compensation to the Korea Music Copyright Association, an umbrella organization of recording companies and musicians. The court blamed the online operators for “overlooking” free file sharing between Internet users. Korean has a…

South Korean find no ISP liability for infringing use
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / February 2005

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet The Seoul Central District Court (Appellate) has ruled that the two brothers – Yang Jung-hwan and Il-hwan – behind the South Korean P2P Soribada cannot be held responsible for any copyright violations by the service’s users. The P2P launched in 2000, attracting up to 8M users. The brothers were indicted the following year on charges of contributory infringement of copyrights. The free service closed in 2001 but quickly re-launched as a paid service. South Korea was listed as a ‘priority watch’ country by the US last year following growing concerns over lax piracy enforcement. The Music Industry Association of Korea may appeal the decision. The court accepted that those who use the service are infringing copyrights. But in a separate ruling on the same day, the Seoul High Court said Soribada helped site users infringe on copyright and ordered it to shut down its file-sharing software and its three computer servers, upholding a lower court’s decision. Eleven record companies had filed charges against the P2P music exchange website. See:

BUGS Back Online in Korea After Agreement With Labels
Copyright , Internet , Record Labels / October 2004

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Internet South Korea’s largest music streaming site will have up to 20,000 songs reinstated on its service. Bugs Music said that it has reached an agreement with the Korean Association of Phonogram Producers (KAPP), the lobby group representing about half of the music industry, on long-standing copyright rows. This means Korean music enthusiasts will be able to enjoy 20,000 songs, of which the KAPP retains copyrights, at Bugs’ Web site. Currently, Bugs is prevented from providing some 40,000 songs to its users. The KAPP holds copyrights for around 50 percent of the titles, with non-member recording labels owning the remaining half. The KAPP and other recording labels brought Bugs to court last year citing the firm’s unauthorised use of copyrighted songs with the court proposing a settlement of 2.22 billion won. The music industry initially opposed the mediation, saying Bugs earned much more by using their songs but the KAPP later changed its stance and accepted the proposal. However, non-KAPP member firms remained steadfast in rebuffing the offer, claiming the compensation amount should surpass 100 billion won. According to local Internet market research firm Metrix Corp. Bugs was the fifth most visited site in Korea with…

Korean Government Sets Up Novel Solution to Phone Download Licence
Copyright , Record Labels / May 2004

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Telecommunications The dispute between MP3 phone handset makers and the music industry in Korea has been settled when LG Electronics agreed to a government-mediated proposal. The Korean Ministry of Information and Communication reported that LG accepted the arrangement of allowing its customers to download and listen to free music files on the MP3 phones for three days. As a result, MP3 phone holders will be able to download any music files from their PCs and play them without charge. The files are programmed to stop working after the agreed time span. In two months, mobile carriers will be required to provide music services for their customers, although at a low-quality sound less than 70 Kbps (FM radio level) in a move to stop downloading but provide music content. Initially the local music industry voiced strong opposition to the new phone features, and refused to co-operate with MP3 handset owners, preventing them from legally listening to music files. In an effort to iron out the difference, the government stepped in and masterminded the three-day free play suggestion for the two-month grace period, which was accepted by Samsung earlier this week. LG argued that the time span should be…

Chinese Rights Owners Seek Payment For Mobile Telephone Use

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Telecommunications The Music Copyright Society of China is seeking US$1.4 million, from China’s second biggest mobile phone operator, TCL Mobile Communication and its distributor, Beijing Digital Electronic Communication Technology, for installing 107 copyrighted Chinese tunes on 12 TCL models. TCL has offered to pay only about a quarter of the damages. A court ruling is pending after a hearing last week in Beijing. China, which is plagued by pirated CDs and DVDs which are on sale on street corners shortly after first release has vowed to crack down on copycats and strengthen intellectual property protection after the country joined the World Trade Organization two years ago. Chinese copyright laws do not specify how much cellphone makers should pay when they include copyright material. “Butterfly Lovers Concerto,” based on a Chinese tragic love story, and “Full Moon of the Fifteenth,” are among the most popular among Chinese cellphone users. China overtook the United States as the world’s biggest cellular market last year. With 244 million users at the end of August. The Chinese copyright owners have demanded 1.4 U.S. cents, for every tune installed on a phone and the dispute is really about how much TCL…

Copyright , Internet / August 2003

COPYRIGHT Internet Bugs Music, Koreas biggest online music service provider, has taken the upper hand in the initial stage of what is expected to be a long legal battle with prosecutors who are trying to draw a clear line on the copyright dispute between Internet music providers and the music industry. The Seoul District Court yesterday turned down a prosecution request for an arrest warrant for Park Sung-hoon, who heads the music provider. The Court said that as `his residence is fixed and there is no concern he will destroy evidence’ no warrant would be granted. Park was charged with copyright infringements as his online company provided music streaming services to more than 14 million members. Prosecuters will continue to investigate Bugs to determine future charges of copyright infringement. The lawsuit, which would serve as the conclusion of ongoing disputes surrounding Koreas online music service providers, was first brought up by a joint plaintiff of 25 local music labels and five distributors of foreign labels in February asking the court to shut down the online music site on charges of infringement of reproduction rights. Bugs Music has admitted that they are partly at fault. However, they are arguing that their…