By Kim Yon-se
The copyright period for royalty payments will be extended to 70 years from the current 50 years after the original copyright holder dies, as a step to meet the requirements of the ``provisional'' free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the United States.
At a Cabinet meeting President Roh Moo-hyun chaired Tuesday, the government passed this and other revisions on copyright protection.
Under the revision book publishers and entertainment-related businesses will be required to pay royalties 20 years longer than is currently required.
Local publishers complain that companies may be not be able to publish as many translated books as they do now, not only because of costs but also due to more complicated and tightened requirements for copyright protection.
As a solution, the government has pledged to allocate 160 billion won for the publishing industry by 2011. It also plans to establish a publishing information center to offer necessary data to the public as well as the industry.
Among other remedies are the production of television programs about books and tax reductions on book purchases. In an effort to help the industry tap into foreign markets, the government also plans to set up an international publishing development center.
In the long term, the government aims to develop the current 3.8-trillion-won publishing market into a 10- trillion-won industry, which will place the country among the top five biggest book markets in the world.
Aside from the copyright protection, the intellectual property rights (IPR) sector ― a major part of the Korea-U.S. FTA ― includes patent and trademark rights.
Under the FTA, Korea is obliged to extend the period of a variety of IPR rights of U.S. companies. Legislatures of Korea and the United States have yet to ratify the accord.