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A quick guide to what copyright templates to use, and the copyright status of Korean works, with the focus on what is public domain both in the USA and in Korea (an image may be in public domain in only one of those two jurisdictions, and if this is the case, it cannot be hosted in Commons).

Note 1: A Korea-related image needs two public domain templates: one to explain it's copyright status in Korea, the other one in United States. See Commons:Copyright_tags#Non-U.S._works

Note 2: For South Korean audio files and broadcasts, the term of protection ends 70 years after creation.

Note 3: North Korea introduced copyright with a 50pma only in 2001, so presumably North Korean works up to 2002 are out of copyright. Also, "the documents of [North Korean] State management such as ordinance, decision or directive, current news and bulletins shall not be the object of copyright."

What copyright templates to use:

  • works by Korean artists with pma (post mortem auctoris - after the author's death) before 1957 published in Korea before 1923: {{PD-South Korea}} and/or {{PD-Art|1=PD-old-70}} (for photos of 2d art) and {{PD-1923}}, or {{PD-old-auto-1923|1=}} with the 1= parameter being the date of death of an artist
  • works by Korean artists with pma before 1957 published in Korea before 1957 : {{PD-South Korea}} and/or {{PD-Art|1=PD-old-70}} (for photos of 2d art) and {{PD-1996}} or {{PD-Art|PD-old-auto-1996|country=South Korea|date=1996|reason=|deathyear=}}
  • "Furthermore, with the exceptions of photographs reproducing otherwise copyrighted works of art, and photographs inserted into a work of study or art and produced only for the purpose of inclusion within said work, photographs or other works of a similar form to photography either published or produced in negative on or before 31 December 1976 are now in the public domain in the Republic of Korea as their term of copyright has expired there."
  • works by presumably Korean anonymous artists published in Korea: See below
  • official documents, materials, signs and symbols (published as acts, laws, their parts and similar): ? see also {{KOGL}}

How was the above arrived at: look at Commons:Hirtle_chart, section "Works First Published Outside the U.S. by Foreign Nationals or U.S. Citizens Living Abroad. On Commons these cases also need to be free according to copyright terms in the country of publication." The next step is "1923 through 1977: Published without compliance with US formalities, and in the public domain in its source country as of URAA date; 1 January 1996 for most countries." This takes us to Commons:Copyright_rules_by_territory#South_Korea (or en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S._copyrights#ref_tab_skorea). For deciding if the work is out of copyright in the U.S., it's necessary to figure out whether the work was in copyright in 1996 (see en:Uruguay Round Agreements Act). For that, we have to consider that the 1957 Copyright Act of Korea had had 30 years pma, but the 1986 extended it to 50 pma (not retroactively), and then the URAA made Korea amend its lows for a 70 pma protection. So if a work went out of copyright before the 1986 act extended copyright terms from 30 years to 50 years, it does not regain copyright. That act came into force in 1987, hence, works where all authors died before 1957 are out of copyright in both South Korea and the U.S. (See also Yunjeong Choi, Development of Copyright Protection in Korea: its History, Inherent Limits, and Suggested Solutions, Brook. J. Int'l L. 28 (2003), pp. 643-673.)

Important exception: article 35 of Korean Copyright act (No. 432, 1957-01-28) says "Copyright of photography remains for 10 years from the next year of the photography's publish." (article 36 gives an exception for article 35 — if the photography's sole purpose is artistic or scholastic it is 30 years not 10 years.). This was valid until it was removed by the 1987 law, hence it applies to all photos from 1976.

It is *possible* that Korean works did conform to all U.S. formalities (copyright notice and copyright renewal 28 years after publication), and thus didn't need URAA restoration since their copyright was never lost, but that is very rare outside of books.

The above is based on en:Copyright law of South Korea, en:Copyright law of North Korea, en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S._copyrights and Commons:Copyright_rules_by_territory.

Can we reuse anonymous works published by Korean artists? The answer is unclear.

One interpretation is that one has to ask the Korean Ministry for a ruling? What I found is (English translation by a friend) this, based on [1]/[2], the text is also visible on a number of other pages Google returns (but they are all in Korean, I don't know which ones are better than others).

Article 50 (Exploitation of Works Whose Holder of Author’s Property Right is Unknown)

(1) Where any person fails, despite his/her considerable efforts which meet the standards prescribed by Presidential Decree, to identify the holder of author’s property right to a work (excluding foreigners’ works) made public, or his/her place of residence, and therefore is unable to obtain any authorization for its exploitation, he/she may exploit the work with approval of the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism as prescribed by Presidential Decree, and by depositing a compensation money as determined by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. <Amended by Act No. 8852, Feb. 29, 2008>

(2) The person who exploits a work pursuant to paragraph (1) shall indicate the fact that the exploitation is made with approval and the date when approval is issued.

(3) When the work legally licensed pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) becomes the object of legal license again, the procedures of considerable endeavors corresponding to the standards prescribed by Presidential Decree pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) may be omitted: Provided, That the holder of author’s property right raises an objection according to the procedures prescribed by Presidential Decree before approval on legal license to the work, the same shall not apply.

(4) The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism shall post the content of legal license on the information and communication network as prescribed by Presidential Decree. <Amended by Act No. 8852, Feb. 29, 2008>

제50조 (저작재산권자 불명인 저작물의 이용) 관련판례관련문헌관련사례

①누구든지 대통령령이 정하는 기준에 해당하는 상당한 노력을 기울였어도 공표된 저작물(외국인의 저작물을 제외한다)의 저작재산권자나 그의 거소를 알 수 없어 그 저작물의 이용허락을 받을 수 없는 경우에는 대통령령이 정하는 바에 따라 문화체육관광부장관의 승인을 얻은 후 문화체육관광부장관이 정하는 기준에 의한 보상금을 공탁하고 이를 이용할 수 있다. [개정 2008.2.29 제8852호(정부조직법)]

②제1항의 규정에 따라 저작물을 이용하는 자는 그 뜻과 승인연월일을 표시하여야 한다.

③제1항의 규정에 따라 법정허락된 저작물이 다시 법정허락의 대상이 되는 때에는 제1항의 규정에 따른 대통령령이 정하는 기준에 해당하는 상당한 노력의 절차를 생략할 수 있다. 다만, 그 저작물에 대한 법정허락의 승인 이전에 저작재산권자가 대통령령이 정하는 절차에 따라 이의를 제기하는 때에는 그러하지 아니하다.

④문화체육관광부장관은 대통령령이 정하는 바에 따라 법정허락 내용을 정보통신망에 게시하여야 한다. [개정 2008.2.29 제8852호(정부조직법)]