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K-pop labels call for fair profit-sharing rules for TV show clips

K-pop stars’ fancams are seen on the YouTube channel for SBS’ “Inkigayo.” (Screenshotted from YouTube)
K-pop stars’ fancams are seen on the YouTube channel for SBS’ “Inkigayo.” (Screenshotted from YouTube)
Entertainment labels are no longer willing to tolerate broadcasters that release and sell unaired behind-the-scene clips or “fancams” of their artists without permission.

The Korea Music Content Association, Korea Management Federation and Korea Entertainment Producers’ Association on Wednesday filed a petition to the nation’s Fair Trade Commission calling for a revision to the current unfair contract practices with TV stations.

In Korea, pop artists appear in music show programs such as KBS “Music Bank” and SBS “Inkigayo” without separate contracts signed between their labels and TV stations. It has long been accepted that broadcasts have complete control of the footage because the artists are being filmed for broadcast purposes as part of promotional activities.

But the decades-old industry practice is increasingly being questioned more recently as TV stations start uploading edited footage or close-up fancams of artists via popular online platforms like YouTube for profit, sometimes reselling the clips to third parties like telecom firms without permission.

When it comes to a YouTube video with music in the background, the platform detects the song’s record label or distributor and pays a set royalty rate that may trickle down to the artists as well as songwriters, composers and others involved, depending on the contract. But for TV show clips that cumulatively rack up billions of views, there is no profit-sharing with artists.

“The purpose of the petition is to set fairer business practices between broadcasting stations and K-pop labels,” said Choi Kwang-ho, secretary-general of the Korea Content Association.

The nation’s antitrust watchdog has started reviewing the issue with the Culture Ministry as well as TV stations.

“We have also acknowledged the problem. We plan to finalize the details of the new contract rules by the end of this year for official approval,” an FTC official told The Korea Herald.

By Kwon Yae-rim (kyr@heraldcorp.com)
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