A copyright lawsuit has been filed against a professional baseball team that sang cheering songs at the baseball stadium. Though the baseball team had already obtained a license through KOMCA, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit alleging the infringement of the Author’s Moral Rights-the right of Paternity and the right of Integrity-and the Right of Production of Derivative Works.
The court of first instance dismissed all of the plaintiff’s claims. First, music and lyrics was considered as a combined work and they were reviewed respectively. Consequently it was judged that the music was a usual change that could be accompanied in the process of being used as a cheering song, and the lyrics were so different from the original song that the right to the integrity was not infringed. The infringement of the right of Production of Derivative Works was also not sustained: substantial changes of the music was not acknowledged, and the infringement of the lyrics was not sustained in default of the substantial similarity with the original song. In spite that this was a controversial issue, there is not much new in terms of the law; it was pointed out the some songs had a possibility of infringement, and regrettably the detailed review of each songs was not judged.
The High Court acknowledged the violation of the right to indicate a author’s name, but this judgement still had some incomprehensible aspects. According to the court’s opinion, there was no unavoidable reason as composers could be displayed on the electronic display board, homepage, YouTube channel, etc. However, the copyright law stipulates that they can be displayed “in the copy or the publication medium of the work”, so the part of ‘homepage and YouTube channel’ was rather questionable. Supermarket and hotels have websites and YouTube channels, and big department stores have electronic display boards.
In the time of the World Cup, songs such as ‘Oh Pil-seung Korea’ and ‘GoWest’ are heard everywhere. A solid standard should be presented to draw a boundary between legality and illegality.