Another court decision granted today is KOMCA v. Starbucks. (Korean courts don't name cases like that, though) :)
KOMCA is the Korea Music Copyright Association, and it represents right holders of musical composition.
Sound recording association is the Korean Association of Phonogram Producers (KAPP)
There used to be the Music Industry Association of Korea (한국음악산업협회), but it was practically succeeded and replaced by the Korea Music Content Industry Association (KMCIA)
1. The Industry Practice
Starbucks has not been paying for the music it has been playing at its stores.
스타벅스는 음악 CD를 이용해 매장에서 음악을 틀었다. 스타벅스는 그동안 음반을 구입해 사용하면 저작권 법상‘판매용 음반’에 해당돼 국내 저작권자의 허락을 별도로 받지 않아도 된다고 주장했다.
Starbucks played music at its stores using CDs it purchased and didn't pay for the public performance of the music. The argument of Starbucks was that purchased CDs are "CDs for sale" under the Korean Copyright Act and therefore no need for getting permission from the right holder in Korea.
2. Lower court ruled for Starbucks
1심 재판부도 스타벅스의 주장을 받아 들여 저작권자에게 패소판결을 내렸다.
The district court (court of first instance) agreed with Starbucks.
2. Appeals court disagreed.
The appeals court overturned the first court's decision.
재판부는 “스타벅스가 매장에서 CD를 재생하는 행위는 저작권(공연권)을 침해하는 행위”라며 “스타벅스는 원고가 신청한 음악저작물을 영업장에서 사용해서는 안된다”고 판단했다.
The court opined, "Starbucks' playing of CDs at its stores [without permission] infringes upon the public performance right of the right holder. ... Starbucks should not use the musical work of rights at its stores [without permission]."
4. Court's interpretation
인터뷰 : 손철우 / 서울고등법원 공보판사
- "이 사건 CD는 판매용 음반에 해당하지 않고, 음악저작물에 대한 공연권을 인정하기도 어렵다는 이유로 저작권 침해를 인정한 사례입니다.
Sohn, Chul-Woo, Speaker for the Seoul High Court
The court acknolwedged copyright infringement because the CDs at case are not "CDs for sale" and the public performance rights for musical work of arts cannot be recognized."
The statement by Mr. Sohn is quite strange to me. I think he spoke in reverse of what he wanted to say. I will clarify this point after I read the case.
5. Right to Lawsuit
There is an interesting distinction made by the court
재판부는 그러나 `콘시에르토 드 아랑후에스'(Concierto de aranjuez) 등 4곡에 대한 저작권 금지 청구에 대해서는 "협회가 저작재산권자에게서 이들 음악에 대한 공연을 허락할 권리를 부여받았을 뿐 저작재산권을 신탁받은 것은 아닌 만큼 소를 제기할 권한이 없다"며 각하했다.
The Association is only granted the right to permit public performance and was not entrusted with the copyright on four songs (i.e., Concierto de aranjuez). Therefore, it does not have the standing to bring an infringement suit on the four songs.
Will bring more detail on the case.