Interest in ‘choreography copyright,’ the number one contributor to K-pop’s success

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Human thoughts and emotions are expressed in creations in the form of letters in poetry and novels, pitch and length of sound in music, and colors in art. Such products move people. Thoughts and emotions are also expressed through human gestures and movements, and ‘choreography’ is that.

A good example Twice’s ‘Dance the Night Away’ music video, in which the twins express various thoughts and emotions, such as fun, liveliness, coolness, and cheerfulness, with arm and leg movements and gestures. Choreography is a creative work in which gestures or motions are arranged in a certain order, combined into a whole, and protected as ‘dance works’ under the Copyright Act.

Compared to novels or music, choreography has received relatively little attention, but popular K-pop is changing the perception of choreography. Choreography contributes as much to the success of K-pop as music. In particular, it plays a crucial role in idol groups.

This is because their performances are heard with the ears and seen with the eyes. The choreography of those evaluated as ‘sword choreography’ combines with great music to create harmony and delight the eyes and ears of the audience and viewers.

The status of choreography in K-pop is well represented in the number of views on YouTube. The number of views of Blackpink’s ‘How You Like That’ music video exceeded 1.1 billion in 27 months. BTS’ ‘ON’ has more views than the official music video (310 million views) of ‘Kinetic Manifesto Film’ (520 million views), which emphasizes the role of choreography.

Like poets, novelists, composers, and painters, ‘choreographers’ who create choreography have copyrights as authors. However, in K-pop dance, choreography appears as an artist’s gestures or movements, and the subject who created a series of motions or actions in a certain order is the choreographer.

For choreography to be protected by copyright, creativity is required. Creativity is enough that the choreographer did not copy someone else’s work but made it with his intelligence. It does not matter if it is not on the same level as the dance of ‘Isadora Duncan (1878-1927)’. Known for the movie ‘Barefoot Isadora,’ Duncan is a dancer credited with raising contemporary dance to the level of creative art.

As choreography plays an essential role in K-pop, its status has risen globally, but the recognition of dance works in Korea needs to be done correctly. It is even said that Korea comes to mind when it comes to K-pop, just as Russia comes to mind when thinking of ballet.

In line with this status, the awareness that choreography is protected as a dance work should be improved. It is also time for choreographers to pay more attention to more robust protection, such as copyright registration.

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