Culture ministry establishes committee on OTT copyright issue
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism established the OTT Music Copyright Consultative Committee on May 27 to open up a sphere of conversation for over-the-top (OTT) video platform services and music copyright organizations amid their ongoing dispute over copyright fees that began last year.
The committee kicked off with a meeting last week where seven organizations from the music industry including the Korea Music Copyright Association (Komca), the Federation of Korean Music Performers and the Record Label Industry Association of Korea and eight local OTT services including Naver, Kakao Entertainment, Watcha and Tving, sat down for a meeting on the copyright fee issue.
Last December, the culture ministry authorized a new clause in Komca’s regulations that lay out the percentage of royalty that online video services must pay for copyrighted music they include in their videos. The ministry authorized Komca’s proposal for an amendment to its rules of royalty collection submitted to the ministry in July, with some changes based on the current Copyright Act.
According to the new clause, online video services — commonly known as OTT services — must pay royalties of 1.5 percent for music used in cinematographic works, or videos, that are serviced on their platforms from next year. Videos with content that mainly concerns music, such as music programs or live performances, will pay 3 percent.
The decision came as a result of a year-long battle between Komca and a coalition of OTT services including Watcha, Tving, wavve, Kakao TV and Lotte Culture Works. Local OTT services had not properly signed a musical royalty contract with Komca until last year, citing that no regulations exist for OTT services. In February, the OTT Music Copyright Committee, a coalition of local OTT video services including Watcha, Tving and wavve, held a press conference, slamming the ministry’s decision and announcing it would file for administrative litigation against the decision. The litigation is under way and the OTT services have yet to pay any copyright fees.
During the first meeting, participants agreed to keep the commission for three months with specific divisions to be set up depending on the different topics discussed during the meetings. Music copyright organizations argued that copyright holders need to be treated correctly while the OTT services said they respected creators’ rights and are willing to pay the fees, but asked that the organization takes into account that local OTT services are newly-born companies that are in the beginning stages of global competition. Both parties agreed that an open discussion on the issue involving all the relevant would be helpful.
“It is crucial that the OTT industry and the music industry, which are two essential players in the hallyu [Korean wave] market, cohabitate in an era where K-pop and other K-content are gaining worldwide popularity,” said Oh Young-woo, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “While in the field of copyright, an autonomous self-regulation is most desirable, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will support the music copyright organizations and the OTT services until the two industries find the balance.”
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]