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Are they pirates or pioneers?
  • Ashley H. Song, Ms.
Korea has the perceptive corruption level lower than the Western countries and shares the common appetite for the cultural products with the Japanese, often regarding Japanese more noble or superior and Westerns even more. Based on this sentiment, the ‘license musicals’ which have been bilaterally purchased from the West are popularly consumed in Korea. The paper calls this is not the cultural business, but the “self-confined cripples’ money party based on the informational deceptions.” The Korean licensee who has fueled the staggering production in the US transforms to the businessmen, caster, and producer in Korea . The licensed dramatico-musical transforms to the adaptation to suffice the appetite of the targeted Korean consumers for the commercial success. The black, white, fat, slim, young, or old performers who have born to dance and sing and have survived in the relatively perfect-competitive casting market in the US transform to the uniformly trimmed Korean entertainers who have wandered singing, moved their agency, and have gotten the lucky chances by the deep-lobbying of their agency or directly by the production company as their agency is subsidiary. Once success on the dramatico-musical, it earns the pure profit, even excluding the money party for the whole involvers, about one million dollars. The paper carefully supposes the producers have been transformed from the gangs, still have a connection with them and business-behavioralism as gangs; but wear the Confucian entrepreneurship after their success. Broadly, the entertainment CEOs rely their business heavily with the broadcasting media, theaters, making use of their connection to cast their performers to their fixed friends who hold the fixed kinds of vacancy, and heavily rely on the investment of the Korean conglomerates to produce. This nexus of contracts stretches even to the informational control in the Daum or Naver, the two major internet portals in Korea in order to advertise their new product, protect their industry, or issue their earning-dividend-entertainers, and even to the police. Thus, those mega-sized nexus sustains the oligarchic industry of the licensed musicals in Korea in the form of the Limited Liability Companies (LL.C.s); merely the legal form is the same as the entertainment LL.C.s in the US. Each LL.C. has their style of selection; one favors the Broadway, another favors the European nobility, and the other favors the European knights’ fights in the earlier era. All of them are based on the Western old novels, adapted more than hundreds of times in the Western countries through various kinds of cultural formants, such as movies, TV dramas, plays, TV cartoons, ballets, and the merchandized products, and dramatico-musicals, etc.. After having faded away in the primary market, some are sold internationally, or even financed by the Korean production and re-staged in the Broadway. Back in Korea, these smart and rich Korean producers with license can stage it forever and whenever, raising their fame. Korean licensed musicals do not have the limited terms of usage or expiration, which is impossible ‘license’ in the Intellectual Property (IP) law. The human resources, such as the music director who comes from the US, is advertised like a noble-knowledge by the industry. It is not clear if he is a proprietor of the trademarks on his name or on his songs; which is deviant to the Broadway’s culture of numerous trademark registrations to the US office. Invited by one of the Korean productions, he is treated like a king of the dramatico-musical.
  • Copyrightability,
  • License,
  • game theory,
  • oligopolistic competition,
  • entrepreneur
Publication Date
Spring March, 2017
Thou shall not steal. Any academic comments or advice would be appreciated.
Citation Information
Ashley H. Song. "Are they pirates or pioneers?" (2017)
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