SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – The nation’s top court on Thursday ordered Hyundai Department Store to pay royalties on the music that the company plays at its stores using streaming services, enlarging the scope of the definition of an album.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Federation of Korean Music Performers and the Recording Industry Association of Korea in a lawsuit filed against the department store. The suit sought payment for music that the store played from January 2010 to December 2011 based on a contract with KT Music Corp.
The two organizations, which deal with copyright issues on behalf of musicians, claimed that Hyundai should pay performance compensation, which is to be paid by users when they play copyrighted records for sale to audiences.
At issue was whether streaming music can be interpreted as a record for the purpose of sales. Copyright law defines an album as sound that is attached to concrete objects, referring to physical media, such as CDs.
A district court, while acknowledging that streamed music can be recognized as a kind of record, dismissed the claim saying that it is not for sale.
Still, an appeals court overturned the ruling and defined “for sale” as something that has been transacted even if a deal is not done at a market.
Upholding the lower court’s decision, the top court said that music streaming services should also be subject to performance compensation, considering the changing music market.