By the end of August, the authorities of the Directors Guild of Korea -DGK- met at the National Assembly building, located on the Yeouido Island, in the South Korean capital Seoul. The topic of the encounter, jointly organized by DGK and Yoo Jung-ju, legislator of the DPK – Democratic Party of Korea-, was the revision of the current law on authors’ rights. The debate to improve the remuneration conditions concerning the work of Korean Audiovisual Authors reaches the legislative branch just a few months after the AVACI International Congress, in which Directors, Screenwriters and authors’ rights specialists from around the world approached Korea to provide technical and financial support in order to improve the rights of their colleagues.
The Directors Yoo Ji-tae, Yoon Je-kyoon, Kim Han-min, Kim Yong-hwa, Kang Je-kyu and Kang Yoon-sung attended the meeting and shared their experiences. Park Chan-wook, Director and Screenwriter of the multi-award winning film Parasite, was present through a video conference from the United States to express his support regarding the revision of the law. The meeting was also attended by the legislators Park Hong-keun, Hong Ik-pyo and Do Jong-hwan, and by members of the Screenwriters Guild of Korea -SGK-.
The current Korean law on authors’ rights states that the rights on audiovisual works belong to the producer of the work, unless otherwise set forth. No type of remuneration is considered in favor of its creators for the public exhibition of their works. As it occurs in other parts of the world, the law is very different regarding the rights of film music composers, who earn royalties for each broadcasting, and for the use of their works separately from the audiovisual.
Kim Han-min asserted on the importance of the revision of this law for new Directors, whose unfavorable financial situation after shooting their first films hinders the development of their careers. Yoon Je-kyoon mentioned the worldwide success of Korean audiovisual content nowadays. “In order to sustain such growth, it is important to create an environment that may attract many passionate and talented people”, he added.
Kang Yoon-sung explained that the development of a script and the production of a movie implies a work of years that, with the current law, is only paid once, highlighting on the injustice of contracts which force to give the royalties for the dissemination of works to producers, and on the lack of a legislation that favors them in this respect.
“Last year, DGK called me to say I had a royalty collection pending. I met them and they explained that a station in France had broadcasted my movie and the payment was due to that. It was the first time during my career that I received money that way. I was jealous for creators from France and other parts of Europe who work in an environment like that”, the Director Kang Je-kyu said.
Pursuant to the current law, movie theaters are forced to contribute to the KOFIC -Korean Film Council- with 3% of the tickets sale in order to support the local industry. Kim Yong-hwa, Director and Screenwriter, expressed his doubts concerning the use of such funds.
“it is important to create a sustainable environment for Audiovisual Authors", the Director and Screenwriter Yoo Ji-tae, who officially hosted the debate, concluded.
After years of struggle, Korean Audiovisual Authors take an important step by bringing the debate on their rights to the legislative area of their government. The logistical support of the FESAAL – Latin American Audiovisual Authors Societies Federation - was essential to achieve this, through the sharing of its experience in the enactment of similar laws in different countries of Latin America and, of course, of Audiovisual Authors from around the world gathered at the AVACI International Conference.