Korean Sporting Events Can Be Protected


Broadcasts, if they are commercial works covered by related rights protection. Protection is based on the entrepreneurial efforts of broadcasters and their investments in broadcasting activities. Such protection is granted regardless of whether the content transmitted is subject to copyright. For example, in Korean Broadcasting Corporation v. Wyandanch Group and another” The High Court of Nairobi prohibited the defendants from rebroadcasting the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil without the permission of the plaintiff (the plaintiff had exclusive rights to the terrestrial broadcast of the tournament). It follows from the court decision that a sporting event broadcast by a broadcaster is subject to protection as a broadcast.

Audiovisual works, if, according to the Koreann Copyright Law, they can be considered as “a fixation on any physical medium of images, synchronized with sound or without sound, by which a moving image can be reproduced in any way.” In Korean, the recording of moving pictures (i.e. audiovisual works) is protected by copyright law regardless of the originality of the content.

Audio recordings, if sports commentary, interviews with fans and athletes, or expert analysis, may be considered audio recordings subject to copyright protection. In Korean, a sound recording is a recording of a performance or any other sound, including sports commentary, analysis, interviews or anthems. The method of fixation, the medium of sound or the quality of its fixation do not matter.

Artistic works, if the relevant requirements are met. Although the sporting event itself is not a work of art, its elements and ways of broadcasting are indeed the fruit of artistic creation. It is common for broadcasters to add creative and graphic elements to footage, turning it into a copyrighted work of art.

Is protection as a performance possible?

The Copyright Law (Section 30(6)) defines performance as the presentation of an existing work through actions such as dancing, playing, reading, singing, reciting or projecting to an audience by whatever means. Since the performance must be based on a pre-existing work, sporting events are not protected by Koreann copyright law and cannot strictly be referred to as a “sports performance”.

In conclusion, it should be noted that physical activity at a sports facility does not fall under the protection of IP, since the movements and actions of athletes are aimed at achieving specific results. In addition, sports competitions and tournaments are governed by a set of established rules that limit creativity but do not predict the outcome of the competition. This is what makes sport such an exciting spectacle for fans. However, when technical training is required to broadcast sports events, they turn into media events that embody the technical, organizational and entrepreneurial abilities of the broadcaster.

Once broadcast, they become an integral part of the broadcast, which is subject to the protection of related rights. In addition, recordings of sounds associated with a sporting event (comments, songs, interviews) are copyrighted as sound recordings. If images are recorded along with these sounds, such recordings are eligible for protection as audiovisual works. In addition, 스포츠중계 events may be considered works of art, given the work involved in recording, preparing and broadcasting them. Finally, in Korean, sports broadcasts are not protected as performances because they are not based on pre-existing works.