394 COMMENTS

Ok, so this is a bit of a random topic, but it’s something we feel is worth talking about. It doesn’t have a lot of practical info for you if you’re coming to visit Korea. Not like you need to know what things to pack and, also, worry about your copyrights, but it’s a topic we’re somewhat passionate about, since it’s one that affects us. Korean businesses rip off a lot of other people’s shit, and that freaking sucks. We talked about a couple of stories today in which we were affected, but there are others, some of which we had to settle out of court, that we won’t be talking about here.

The legal jargon of copyrights and intellectual properties is something that’s beyond us. I’m sure there’s a lot of legality to the issue that we just don’t have the knowledge to speak about, and I’m sure some people who are lawyers in Korea will be able to say in so many words that it’s not copyright infringement if blankity blank blank fart blank. Or, who knows: maybe there are some laws about international intellectual property here in Korea that allow for Angelina Jolie bars to run. Or maybe Angelina Jolie was like “yeah! I’d love to have my pics all over a bar in Bucheon” Who knows. All we can really comment on is our experiences and how we perceive the situations around us.

At the same time, I remember reading a while ago that a tech company, namely SpaceX, won’t patent its intellectual property, simply because China would just use that as a recipe book. Great metaphor, really, and basically gives us the impression that we have here. Ideas from other countries can be ripped off, and there isn’t really much that can be done to stop it.

Side note: I know some of you know what company we were referring to that took a lot of our footage after we refused to be on the show. Buuut, notice how we didn’t name them? Why, you might ask? Defamation laws! Korea’s got some bizarre laws in which you can’t publicly say bad things about people, even if those things are freaking goddamned 100% true. We have close friends of ours who recently got fired from their schools wrongfully, and assaulted by the school’s owner as well, but they can’t go public with that on the internet because they’d get sued for defamation. I’m sure that there’s more subtlety and variation to the law, but we’re not familiar enough with it. All we know is that it’s damning enough to be afraid of speaking out publicly. And, seeing how this is a big company that we’re talking about, and we’re just petty foreigners with little protection here, we’re going to be as vague as possible. Yep.

Anyhow, you heard us also mention in the video the idea not only that we didn’t want to be in that major network’s video, but also the reason WHY we didn’t want to be there, which we just touched on a bit. Basically, we get contacted from time to time from TV shows who want us to play the role of the fun foreign couple who comes to Korea and is amazed by everything. “Oh! The food is so spicy but so delicious! We did not know your country makes such great food! Wow! And it is good for your health too! This country amazes me so much!” What’s bizarre about these shows is that they’re on Korean channels, spoken by Korean hosts, subtitled in Korean (or, they even want us to say these things in Korean), and aired for a Korean audience. What purpose do these shows serve, apart from feeding the audience’s sense of nationalism and pride? It’s not educational. It’s not meant for other countries to watch. It’s ego-stroking, really. We agreed to do those shows before we really knew what they were like and the message they conveyed, but now we’re not interested in doing them. Does that mean that we refuse all shows? No. There’s another major network we’ve been speaking with who have suggested a cool concept for a show, which we’re totally down for, and which doesn’t reek of nationalism.

And, sure, I know some people will say that the nature of those shows we’re against is essentially what we do with our videos as well: we’re showing the world the awesomeness of Korea. But there’s a difference, I think. We can talk about things that are annoying. We can say what we think is wrong. Sure, whenever we do say something negative it’ll come at the cost of getting nationalist netizens demanding our deportation, but we’re at least trying to come at Korea with a grain of salt. We’re more interested in sharing our stories, rather than spreading a message of Korea’s supremity. We’ll do the same no matter what country we’re in.

Ok, this got a bit heated. Sorry for ranting. This TV show thing annoyed us, and what better place to talk about it than here? You guise are cool people with whom we can discuss these things rationally. You commenting Nasties are legit :D We’re more than ok with talking about any of the points here, about copyrights and intellectual property and trying to get a better understanding of Korea’s stance on it, or even about our positions on different kinds of Korean TV shows with foreigners. Let us know what you think.

Oh, and lastly, if you like this video and want more like em, click on this button below to let us know. It’s definitely worth the energy it takes to click the button :D

ToFebruary
  1. Might Memebox’s, “WTF: Wonderful Treasure Finds Box” be one of those rippy offy situations?
    http://us.memebox.com/memebox-global/current-boxes/52-wtf-wonder-treasure-finds#.VBxymvldUmM

  2. Hi Simon, Martina Su Zee and Leigh :D I wanna know if the k-pop fans in South Korea are much different than international fans because I watched Reeply 1997 a few time ago and I remember that the main character was obcessed with only one group and she can’t even ear other song beside them (like it was a betrail to the group) and for me is strange because I have my favourites (Infinite Shinee and TVXQ) but I ear a lot of songs and k-pop groups (BAP, EXO, B2st, 2ne1, Big Bang..) and I wanted to know if the korean still are or if they really were like in the drama and what do you think about that. beijinhos from Portugal :)

  3. I must say, I always do find it funny when I hear popular musical scores used in Korean television shows here and there, and I immediately recognize what it is. Pretty much assumed they didn’t license it, because it’s not like they’ve ever had to worry about jurisdiction. There may even be misconceptions on part of what is considered Public Domain in the international market… above and beyond not caring.

    Granted, a lot of Southeast Asia has started to crack down on counterfeits and other illegalities, but that may be more due to them recognizing that they would only be stealing from themselves; as opposed to U.S. and European firms worrying about film/music piracy. I’d say governments are slowly learning that they too can profit by legally distributing and broadcasting big budget content from overseas and yield a profitable audience with enough demand. Just another facet of the expedient evolution of those countries that came late to the Industrial Revolution party.

  4. The music thing is especially true, even MTV in America uses generic Muzak type music to score a lot of their shows because they can’t afford the artists licensing fees.

  5. Could you do a TLDR about how foreigners are represented in korean mass media? What image they have and how are they treated if they are a part of a program (e.g. talk show)? Are there any typical roles that foreigners have to play when appear in tv? Thanks :D PS. Love your videos :D:D

  6. I think what “heytheregreg” meant was that this whole topic is no different then other countries (and they said” not just China” of copying designer stuff and re-selling it, they also said I’m pretty sure you can blog about kpop elsewhere, not to “quit”

  7. Funny, the Phantom of the Opera sample is the exact reason why I got into that song to begin with XD Also, Apple is not as innovative as you think. #JustSayin’

  8. I’d suggest reading more than just that one post on her tumblr to get the full story. If you want to see part of the resolution, here it is http://depyonggie.tumblr.com/post/42091917660/more-1-yeah-to-be-honest-last-night-was And this is only one of the posts that she made to talk about how this isn’t a problem anymore. You can check out the rest on her blog.

    Basically, just like Alexandra said, the issue is old and resolved. She’s been credited and both parties are over it.

    • No problem. I don’t really blame you for not looking deeper into it. I generally try to avoid reading drama online, but I was hoping that there was a resolution. I don’t like seeing people hating on anyone, so I was glad to see that the people actually involved had gotten closure and were no longer at odds. ^.^

  9. Scroll to the very, very bottom of that page and there will be a small blue bar crediting her for it. It’s not huge, but, sadly, things like that rarely are… :(

    Also relevant: http://tr.eatyourkimchi.com/post/42082507018/oh-my-gosh-i-have-no-idea-how-it-happened-but-it

  10. You have some pretty messed up logic, especially for someone who claims to be a fan of their older videos. You must not have ever paid attention to anything Simon and Martina have said. They put disclaimers on nearly every TL;DR. They always state how much they love living there. Why the heck would they move just because they have something to complain about? I complain about where I live, where I go to school, where I work all the time. But I have no plans to “Quit while I’m ahead” because that’s more of a setback than anything. And it’d be a setback for Simon and Martina in what they want to do with their lives, which is what they’re doing now.

    And why bring China into this? They never said these actions are limited to just Korea. They’re just stating how they’ve personally experienced these things in Korea.

    But I can see you’re the type of person who can’t handle little negatives and quits while you’re ahead, you know, leaving resentful instead of hanging onto those good memories.

    (Waiting for the thumbs down to match those of every other person responding to your post, disagreeing with it. Yeah, you don’t like little negatives, do you?)

    • this reply (AudreyKoopman) made no sense

      • Haha, really now?
        Well, considering you made sense of that atrociously written original comment and your own poorly written comment, your (Sandra) critique of my reply means absolutely nothing. Thanks for stopping by though^^

        Seriously though, what’s with putting my name in parentheses? You replied to my comment, it becomes more than a little obvious you’re referring to what I said..

  11. Not only do I study design, but I also work in the photo department at a Walgreen’s pharmacy. People are always trying to scan professional pictures (i.e. school photos, wedding photos, etc) and have us print them out for them. Then they get mad when I tell them I need a copyright release form from the photographer in order to print them. The customer argues that they bought the picture, it’s theirs so they should be able to print it. The thing is, that photographer is still the artist of that picture. They created the backdrop, they staged it, they used their materials, they did the lighting, they did any editing, and they still own the original negative/digital file. You didn’t buy the picture from them, you bought a copy of the picture. My job requires permission to print and then sell (aka make a profit from the photographer’s work) that picture because if the photographer were to every find out, the company would be faced with the fines and the employee (aka me) would be fired and also face fines.
    There is so much that goes into it all and it drives me crazy when customers don’t understand.

  12. Can I ask you what show it was?
    I saw a comment that said S&M were in the thumbnail for the video, but I don’t see one on the youtube page :P
    I’m quite curious about what all was used.

  13. The best example is Lee Hyo Ri and her second album Dark Angel. Brittney Spears company sued her because people said the song sounded like toxic or something. everyone found out that her manager or who ever was writing the songs was taking IDEAS from over seas artists and the song was like Brittney’s song. the same thing happened again when her 3rd cd came out and she took a break from the music scene and know she is back better then ever with management and etc. I love Lee Hyo Ri and feel bad for artist who have to deal with that. Lee Hyo Ri is lucky she is able to bounce out of something she didn’t have to much control over. But anyone know a days in k-pop or what ever wouldn’t be able to live they wouldn’t have a career.

    if Justin Bieber was Korean he wouldn’t be singing anymore with the way he acts just imagine if he had copyed stuff he was singing. (i am not saying he is the one who would have copied i am saying “the songs he has are copied.” that kind of had) either way he would be kicked to the road.

    But i am glad this is talked about :)

  14. It’s crazy how big it is, but it’s like that in most parts of asia and etc. When i was in college in canada there where a few chinese students in my class they would copy each others works and would all hand in the same thing. They where lucky and didn’t get kicked out but they wern’t aloud to have usb sticks in the class and if they did we had to give them to the teacher.

    Like i get so scared when i write a paper or design something i don’t want people to think i took but i have had people just take an imagie and copy it. i think the thing is they don’t think that it’s such a big deal. it’s like you bothered to look it up and read and write it out so you get an A. Which i know university is harder then that in Asia but what i have found is Korea and other asian countries seem to focus more on tests then writing Essays. Where in America and Canada we focus and are taught to come up with are own ideas and present how we got thoughts ideas.

  15. Martina and Simon – you guys have very beautiful teeth :D

  16. Hola Simon and Martina, I am applying for Seoul National University for the Aerospace Engineering Program and by what it seems my chances of getting in are pretty good. The only thing that worries me is the living in Korea, I know you’ve talked about foreigners in Korea but you mostly speak for North Americans, Europeans and Non-Korean Asians. The thing is that I am Dominican, and I would like to know what Koreans think of Hispanics. Also my english is not very good and is mostly self taught and would that be a problem over there? I’m Trying to self teach my self a little of Korean but I don’t know if it would help. Gracias.

  17. Awesome video guys. Sad to hear about the socks, I really want a pair :P

  18. Question , because i am a little confused when you guys use Taemin on your shirts and B2ST is that the same thing or is it different? (I am a little bit of an idiot so bear with me)

  19. It’s so interesting that you had this as your topic this week. I went to a meeting where a lawyer talked to us about intellectual property. If anyone tells you that changing a product to a certain percentage (not sure how much it was… 70%?) makes it free game, that is totally incorrect. If you’ve produced it, you automatically have some rights to it as well. Write it down, make it, document your creation and you can fight pretty much any copyright infringement from those pesky intellectual thieves.

  20. i do hope you are sueing those motherfuckers

  21. Hey Simon and Martina!
    I was wondering what the deal with profanity is in South Korea? In the west (America where I live) Cussing or the use of profane words is very common in our society (like music, television, movies etc). I was wondering what Korea’s view on that are. Is it taboo? Do Korean people curse in everyday life like people in the west do? Or is it something that is not part of society there? Thank you for being awesome!! ~Krista Sannuto

    • I would like to know more about this too. Plus, what do Korean curse words translate directly to in English? Most subtitles sort of just put a roughly similar English curse word, so I can’t tell if they’re actually saying something that “proper” society would frown upon in Korea.

  22. Ah man…. this comes up a lot in our conversations. I think Korean people will have to get used to paying more for things as well for this to change. I’ve had discussions with my husband and Korean friends about things like cards, because they will complain about the cost of something like a birthday card in Australia when they can get something in Korea for about 50 cents… but often those cards are using an artist’s work without permission. They are cheap because the images have been stolen and they didn’t pay the artist. As an artist I prefer paying a lot more for a nice card where I know people are being paid properly.

  23. I’m thinking it would be done in the way of the variety shows that visit different places in Korea. Running Man I know in particular always makes a point of pointing out the local cuisine, scenery, etc. to entice people to visit. Probably something along those lines but with foreigners instead of Korean nationals.

  24. Haha the thumbnail is awesome. I have some Obama socks.

  25. I don’t agree with your opinion, mainly because you can hate parts of something you love, (and also because people voted for the other TL;DRs so it wasn’t really their choice and I don’t want them to lie about their views) BUT I never thumbs people down for opinions… I only do it if it’s spam or just outright hate, so I am using this reply as an apology for one of your Vote Downs. I thought it was the button to push so I can see the replies to your comment! (Although if you’re unsubscribing I suppose it doesn’t matter, but just in case~)

  26. I am not surprised by this TL;DR showing up lol, and by the by, I’m just throwing this out there, but I can say that as a librarian, libraries actually buy the rights to share the materials in their collection. (And if you lose or damage the book and you think the price is a little high to replace it or you think “why is there a ‘processing fee’?” now you know why~)

    Anywho, I don’t really care for brands too much so getting a knock off has never appealed to me, and neither has going to a certain place because a celebrity has endorsed it. THAT SAID, I know I wouldn’t want people to use my face on something without asking, and I certainly wouldn’t want people to claim anything I create as their own.

    Sometimes I show support to brands, because their products work for me and work well, or their products are of good quality and their business model is more ethical. So when people make or buy knock offs of those brands, it kinda sucks because that’s less support they receive. Then there’s also smaller creative ventures like EYK that I enjoy, so I support EYK and would feel put out should someone make money off of EYK without permission. I guess consent is really the name of the game though eh?

  27. Wow very serious TL;DR. I hope you guys don’t have to put up with any shit from any company who takes yours stuff. But on a side note, can I just say how good Simon and Martina look? You guys have lost a ton of weight and you look sooooo incredible (not that you didn’t look gorgeous/ handsome before)!

  28. noooo i’m also Dominican-American and this is sad to hear :/ just please don’t say she tried to make it into a bachata song?

  29. All this kpop sock talk saddens me because they are always way to small for my feet. And I don’t even have that big of a foot :(

    I would stay more on topic but as a designer for a major global company I have copy right rules and laws coming out of my ears sometimes. The hardest thing is getting people to understand why you can’t use certain logos/images/phrases/etc, even when you tell them the company could be sued. Thankfully that burden mostly falls on the shoulders of the various legal departments that have to approve all our package designs before they can be sent to print for mass market.

  30. I have a question: up to what extent people violating copyrights in South Korea actually get ackowledged? (I’m not sure if I’m asking the right question). Reason is, I’ve observed tons of WANKing videos to see the shirts that you’re clothes you’re talking about w/ the whole brand thing. but some Korean shows have things like soda bottles name covered and occasionally don’t even allow the celebrities to name companies even if they’re praising it, Overall, I’m so confused how these copyrights issue works, and how it gets acknowledged.

  31. Just because you complain about a place doesn’t mean should move.or example if you’re going to a school that you think is pretty great and then after a while something bad happens, (bad grades, discomfort with students, a teacher, not enough recess) You not just going to LEAVE the school, simply because you’ve realised there as some things you don’t like. People live in countries all over that aren’t originally from and I bet they have a lot that they don’t like about that place but people don’t move about all willy nilly. So saying “Why do you continue to live in Korea?” is a bit of a n odd question, in my opinion.The world isn’t perfect, there are uncomfortable things and bad things about EVERYTHING, and if you love that something you should be able to say what about it that makes you uncomfortable and not just flee. I

  32. I feel like I need to run out and buy 10,000 pairs of K-pop socks before they go extinct.

  33. There’s an “Abercrombie and Fitch” store outside Suwon Station. I lol’d because I was like “that’s definitely fake.” Sure enough, that company is US-based only. :P
    I’ve noticed, too, that they rip off a LOT of stuff that you would never ever get away with in the US (or many other places). Are you really that lacking of original ideas that you have to blatantly copy not only the name of a brand but the logo, and the style as well? Jeez…. why even bother if you can’t think of your own ideas?

  34. that’s so true, they make all these fake brands copying the logos but tweak it. i myself have a pair of shorts that have PINK on the butt but the little doggy logo is so not pink’s…looool it’s missing its ears
    BUT NO MORE KPOP SOCKS???? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    i’ll try to explain the logo part a little bit: i’m korean so i can see why it’s not that big in korea. intellectual property as a whole isn’t really considered “property,” although as you said, it is gradually changing now. i guess this can account to the more group-oriented mindset so seeing just a logo as something they have to get permission for is seen more ridiculous than not asking permission for it. it’s like “well just bc you made it doesn’t mean you can’t share it” and a lot of those logos, like apple or nike, are HUGE companies anyways with big profits and those korean companies ripping off the logo know they’re not gonna get even close to that much money so it’s like “no big deal.”

    although the TV show *coughKBSworldcough* downloading your stuff is messed up. they are so tightass about taking their variety show vids off YT but they’re completely ok with taking other people’s videos from YT wtf

  35. you know you should totally sue that company, right? you guys are too nice.

    i hope they find out about this video and get scared.

    dumbasses… -_-

  36. So, how do we get your permission if we want to use EYK stuff? Like if I want to call my fantasy football team the Nasties and use EYK logos and such with links back to you guys, is that ok? Or is there a formal permission process or anything?

    • Well, this past spring semester I was in a Web and Digital Media Design class and we had an assignment to make a video. A huge part of the class had focused on learning copyright laws, so when it came time to make my video, I decided to put what we had learned to the test. I wanted to use Simon and Martina’s music from their WANK/FAP FAP videos in my video, so I e-mail them and asked them for permission to use the music and told them I wouldn’t be uploading it anywhere. :) They said it would be fine since it was for a class project, so I would just try e-mailing them about it and explain what you would like to do. ^-^

  37. Dear Simon & Martina:
    CAN THERE BE SPUDGY AND MEEMERS SOCKS? xD

    pretty please with rainbows and ranch on top <3

  38. I understand what you guise are saying and agree with you 100 %. …but I don’t think you could do something about it…individuals can’t win against a big company…and even if it’s a smaller company, I think it would be a great financial loss and still it won’t be certain you win…(court processes are so life-draining). I guess this is probably how some music artists/(art) artists feel when they see their work displayed somewhere else without their aproval and even worse, seeing it being distributed to the public for free (when they worked hard for it).

    …that’s how life is..in the end… more bad than good things happen… and you always have to try and see the brighter side more…..to balance out the bad side…

    I know that…when something bad happens you feel like all are coming at you at once… sometimes… I don’t know what to do to make you guise feel more at ease… おかあさん …おとうさん がんばって ください!!! > . <

    http://getchanceandluck.deviantart.com/art/Yamada-264154069

    ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  39. Guise, you never did your honeymoon TL;DR. Would you plez describe it, and if there were any funny stories? :)

  40. This just reminds me that when I was in China two weeks ago there were (Chinese) products with Yoona’s face on the advertisement posters, and I thought, “well there’s no way she’s endorsing that…”

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