Fair Use in Practice: South Korean Film Directors’ Copyright Understanding

Yoonmo Sang, Patricia Aufderheide, Minjeong Kim


This study, based on a survey of 100 South Korean film directors, investigates their understanding and employment of fair use. South Korean film directors are largely unaware of this law that could improve their capacity to create work more effectively and at lower cost. Furthermore, they engage in self-censorship, which can limit their creative choices. Many such choices inhibit the exploration of South Korea’s vigorous popular culture and its history. These obstacles largely lie not with the law, but with knowledge and norms in the field. Results are also compared with a survey of U.S. documentary filmmakers, whose organizations have educated the field about the utility of the fair use doctrine since 2005. U.S. filmmakers routinely employ fair use and have positive attitudes about it. Thus, public campaigns about the existence of fair use as a creative tool could better promote cultural expression in South Korea.


copyright, fair use, film, intellectual property, cultural policy

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