Korean writers picket in solidarity with Writers Guild of America

Posted on : 2023-06-15 16:57 KST Modified on : 2023-06-15 16:57 KST
Writers associations also called for fair residual compensation for domestic writers
Netflix logo.
Netflix logo.

Four Korean writers associations on Wednesday picketed in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which is currently on strike. In a statement, the groups called for copyright laws to be updated to meet global standards. They demanded compensation for creators proportional to the use of their work in reflection of the streaming era.

Representing their own unions as well as the National Union of Media Workers’ Writers Union and the UNI Global Union – Korean Liaison Council, Lee Seung-hyeon of the Screenwriters Guild of Korea and Ha Shin-a of the Webtoon Creator Union picketed Netflix Korea’s headquarters in Seoul’s Jongno District on Wednesday.

The WGA has been on strike since May 2, demanding that streaming platforms guarantee adequate writing timelines, writing environments and fair pay for writers; residual compensation that corresponds to the amount their work has been viewed upon release on streaming platforms; and the limitation of the use of artificial intelligence to basic materials, not literary works subject to copyright.

“Streaming services, both international and domestic, are absolutely not paying fair residual compensation,” the groups said, stressing that the crisis Korean writers face is no different from that of their peers in America.

“There are still cases in which Korean broadcasters put clauses saying that ‘all rights revert to the broadcaster’ in under the copyright section of freelancers’ contracts,” the groups said, calling for the amendment to the Copyright Act currently pending in the National Assembly to be quickly passed to keep up with the changing times.

The Korean writers touched on the issue of the use of AI in creative works as well.

“The development of AI is a stark part of the changing times, but it is simply a tool. It can never be allowed to be a copyright holder,” the groups said. “Preventing attempts by platforms to use AI to infringe copyright and nipping unnecessary controversy over the use of AI in the bud is beneficial to both AI engineers and creators.”

Korean writers called on the presidential office and National Assembly to “stop spouting empty slogans about fostering K-content” and instead quickly amend the Copyright Act to the global standards and take measures to ensure that creators are compensated according to the use of their work, not only on the current streaming platforms, but on any media platform that may emerge in the future.

By Kim Eun-hyoung, senior staff writer

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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