Amid “Korean Wave,” South Korea Opens IP Office In The Philippines

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The Republic of Korea has opened its fourth satellite copyright office, in the Philippines, in a bid to protect its copyrighted works amid the popularity of Korean entertainment in this Southeast Asian nation.

The Korea Copyright Commission (KCC) Manila office in the business district of Makati City, Metro Manila’s financial hub, was launched on 10 May, according to a press release from the Commission.

Other satellite copyright offices of KCC are in Beijing and Shanghai in China and in Bangkok, Thailand.

Through its Manila office, the Commission seeks to promote the lawful consumption in the Philippines of copyrighted Korean works such as music, film and telenovelas. Particularly, Korean pop music or “K-pop” and Korean soap operas or “Koreanovelas” are a hit among Filipinos.

The surge of Korean entertainment in the Philippines is part of the so-called “Hallyu Wave” or the “Korean Wave”, a worldwide phenomenon which has generated South Korea billions of dollars in revenues.

The 2003 global hit drama “Jewel in the Palace” about a female doctor at a 16th-century royal court, for instance, also became the highest rating Koreanovela in the Philippines when it was aired by a local television network in 2005.

The Commission added that it will also help in educating agents and artists in assessing and collecting the rates that should be collected from the use of a song, movie or artistic work.

KCC Manila’s legal counsel Sara Jane Suguitan said the Commission is now in talks with K-pop fan clubs in the country, including Korean and Filipino artists, to promote Korean artists rights.

“The Korean government hopes very much for the legitimate enjoyment of Korean arts and culture in the Philippines, whether online or in the form of DVDs. When we are successful in this, we can also demand that the Filipino artists rights be respected and duly compensated in Korea as well. It’s a matter of reciprocity,” Suguitan said.

In a news report from BusinessWorld, a Philippine business newspaper, Philippines’ Intellectual Property Office director-general Ricardo R. Blancaflor was quoted as saying that the establishment of the Manila office of KCC will help in the government’s campaign against counterfeiting.

The Philippines remains on the watchlist of the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), which refers to its listing of countries which it deems to not offer adequate protection for IP rights owners.

The latest 2012 Special 301 Report of USTR cited, among others, the Philippines’ weak criminal enforcement of IPR and the need for the country to enact long-pending legislations to amend its copyright law. The link to the report is here [pdf].

It has, however, made some small strides in the area of IP rights protection. Earlier this year, the USTR removed the shopping districts of Quiapo in the city of Manila in its list of “notorious markets.” The list identifies selected markets, including the ones on the internet which are reportedly engaged in piracy and counterfeiting. The link to the latest Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets is here.

Maricel Estavillo may be reached at

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