Thursday, July 28, 2011

Copyright: Do people know it exists?

RECENTLY, I have been interested in intellectual law, especially about copyright. Here is a conversation with an artist, of course with some fiction added.

"Hey, I saw your painting on TV the other day. It was some kind of a soap opera, you know Korea is full of TV drama these days."
"Really? What painting?"
"Your painting, you know your work!"
"Perhaps, some painting I have sold a long time ago."
"Didn't you know that painting will be broadcasting?"
"No, well, it was purchased by a bank, perhaps someone rented it from the bank."
"What was the condition for sales?"
"I don't know, I just signed whatever the contract they gave me."
"Hmmmm......"

     The beginning of the copyright could have started to prevent rival competitors or to offer bounty for artists to support their next production in early stage, about 1500s. However, I  believe this function subsists.
    In Korean copyright law, there is no specific category for curating, yet this issue related to debate on copying a curating idea has occurred in the past. It's not only about artists' artwork and their copyright, but also about curators' curating and 'our' copyright.
     I haven't seen any long contract which includes the date of possible exhibition in public days out of year, allowance for rent or lease, or responsibility of keeping artwork in a safe condition yet in Korea. Most of the case, the sale contract was just as short as one page which says who bought whose what, sometimes even shorter than a shopping receipt from a supermarket. This seems that people usually forget that purchasing an artwork includes a lot of rights; copyright, consumers' right, as well as dealers' right. 
       Several years ago, Bugslife lost a big time against all the musicians in Korea about distributing music source for free. Now we all know that we pay for musicians' effort to create such a music we listen to. Youtube is another story, though. Yes. as Tim Wu mentioned, everyone hates copyright in 21st century, yet Korean art scene is not aware of this copyright yet, but it might be imminent to recognize soon in the market, since they believe they are in the center of capitalism in the world.

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