For Korean artists and content creators leading the Korean Wave, copyrights are like an insurance that protects and promotes their innovations.
On Thursday, marking the World Intellectual Property Day, two female music groups visited Seoul's hot spots for young people to raise awareness about the importance of protecting copyrights.
Culture Minister Choy Kwang-sik joined the campaign, featuring Nine Muses…, a rising K-pop idol group, and Gayarang…, a group made up of identical twins whose music combines traditional Korean string and pop music.
[Interview : Choi Kwang-sik, Minister of Culture
] "Korea is becoming a new content powerhouse and a knowledge-based nation. To help the Korean Wave keep growing, the protection of copyrights is essential. We must educate the young about the importance of copyrights."
The culture minister and the campaigners distributed DVDs and music CDs of Nine Muses and Gayarang to promote the legal use of content among citizens.
[Reporter : Kim Yeon-ji, Reporter
firstname.lastname@example.org] "The culture minister and the celebrities met with people on the streets of Myeongdong, asking them to help protect copyrights and help the nation's content industry."
Campaigning in the busy streets of Myeongdong, the culture minister stressed that the nation has stepped up efforts to ban the illegal sharing and distribution of copyrighted materials… which has become all the more important after the Korea-US free trade agreement came into effect.
For instance, all internet sites using peer-to-peer sharing of content and webhards would have to be registered from now on.
The illegal duplication of content is known to cost the nation some 4 trillion won, or 3.5 billion US dollars, annually by discouraging content production.
But for many artists, intellectual property means more than simple monetary gains.
[Interview : Lee Ye-rang, Member of 'Gayarang'
] "We are both players of the traditional Korean string instrument, gayageum, and singers. By preserving our rights as instrument players and singers, copyrights make it possible to concentrate on our music and pursue our unique genre of music."
Breaking into flash mob dances and shaking hands with people, the campaigners echoed the importance of copyright protection that safeguards the creation of their artistic work and will further advance the Korean Wave.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.