17 UCLA Pac. Basin L.J. 276 (1999-2000)
Copyright Law in the Republic of Korea; Youm, Kyu Ho

handle is hein.journals/uclapblj17 and id is 284 raw text is: COPYRIGHT LAW IN THE
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Kyu Ho Youm
Copyright has been recognized as a right in the Constitution,
statutes, and by custom in the United States and many other
countries in the West for centuries.1 By contrast, South Korea's
experience with copyright has been limited. Professor Jeon
Young-pyo, an authority on copyright in Korea, stated recently:
The copyright history of our country is very short. A copy-
right act was enacted in 1957, but it was like a dead law be-
cause it was almost never enforced. It was not until the
copyright law was wholly revised in December 1986 and it
went into force on July 1, 1987, that Koreans started to be
aware of copyright.2
The wholesale revision of the Copyright Act in 1986 reflects
the Korean government's efforts to respond to social and eco-
nomic changes that have taken place in the meantime, as well as
to international practice relating to copyright protection.'3 The
impact of the Copyright Act has been significant. Chong Sang-
jo, professor of law at Seoul National University, noted that since
1986 copyright has undergone more important changes in Korea
than any other field while Korea has transformed faster than
other countries.4
A case in point is the explosive increase in the number of
copyright complaints that were submitted to the Copyright De-
liberation and Conciliation Commission (CDCC) and of copy-
right suits that were filed in courts in Korea during the past 10
1. For a discussion of the history of copyright in Europe and the United States,
see S.M. STEWART, INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT AND NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS
§§ 2.01-2.20, at 13-27 (2d ed. 1989). For the historical foundations of copyright in
England and the United States, see PAUL GOLDSTEIN, 1 COPYRIGHT § 1.13, at
1:26-39 (2d ed. 1997).
2. JEON YOUNG-PYO, CHULPAN MUNHWA WA CHAPJI CHONOLRIJUM [BOOK
PUBLISHING AND MAGAZINE JOURNALISM] 504 (1997).
3. Paik Syeunggil, Republic of Korea: Revised Copyright Law Comes into Ef-
fect, 21 COPYRIGHT BULL. 44 (1987).
4. Chong Sang-jo, Reflections on Copyright Decisions of 1994, 35 SEOUL
TAEHAKYO POPHAK [SEOUL LAW JOURNAL] 238, 238 (Dec. 1994).

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