The Economic Contribution of the Copyright-based Industries in Korea

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JONG, Sang Jo

Issue Date
BK 21 law
Journal of Korean Law, Vol.4 No.2, pp. 255-271
The value of copyright has been dramatically changed from almost nothing to the utmost important incentive for creation and innovation in Korea. For the first three decades of the Copyright Act which was enacted in 1957, copyright was perceived as an obscure and abstract concept merely within the statute. With a rapid rise of the information economy or technology intensive industry in the middle of 1980s, however, the copyright law is being increasingly seen as a core infrastructure underpinning a number of copyright-based industries in Korea.

From the statistical data on copyright-based industries, it is clear that the economic ontribution of copyright-based industries as a whole has increased a lot more than that of any other industries in Korea. Given the economic contribution of copyright-based industries, it is beyond doubt that the copyright law is increasingly important in Korea as well as in other advanced countries. The economic contribution of copyright-based industries of Korea in 2000 represents an increase of 600% from 1990 when these industries accounted for $5.2 billion in the value added. Hence, these industries grew at a rate (600%) much higher than the Korean economy as a whole (340%). The rapid growth of the Korean copyright-based industries contrasts with the American counterpart showing 190% of growth in its value added.

When a closer attention is paid to each of copyright-based industries, however, it is interesting to find that the economic contribution of copyright-based industries is different from each other. The next question then is why the economic contribution of one copyright-based industry has been greater than that of others or whether the impact of copyright upon one copyright-based industry differs from that upon others. It seems apparent that, when there are not enough consumers purchasing copyright works, as shown in the publishing industry of Korea, the total amount of value added or the economic contribution turns out relatively small. On the other hand, as the telecommunication technologies and

the distribution channels develop, as shown in the broadcasting and film industries of Korea, the economic contribution of the copyright-based industry turns out increasingly great and, accordingly, the importance of copyright becomes greater than ever before.
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College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원)The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean Law (JKL)Journal of Korean Law Volume 04 Number 1/2 (2004)
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