By Jinbonet SEOUL, South Korea, 26 December 2004
IPLeft, a social group for information commons in South Korea since 1999, launched the Korean Open Access Licence (KOAL) in October, 2004. KOAL it’s a newly-introduced model of open access to information in South Korea. Jinbonet, APC member in Seoul, has participated in IPLeft activities to develop this new initiative.
As the information and communication technologies (ICTs) are growing and broadband infrastructure is becoming wide-spread, it seems that people should have access to information more easily. However, in South Korea, in spite of the huge broadband infrastructure, there is a very limited access to digital libraries. This is due to South Korea’s restrictive copyright regime.
The current Copyright Act automatically grants authors a number of rights including the rights to reproduction, distribution, display and so on. However, authors have diverse opinions regarding the copyright they are granted. Some people would like to state ‘all rights reserved’, but others are likely to demand only ‘some rights reserved’. Then there are other authors who would like their works to be completely freely available and without any restriction of copyright. Authors’ requirements are as diverse as the people involved but South Korean law doesn’t respond to that diversity.
In response, IPLeft has researched many open access models and finally developed KOAL. KOAL is a kind of social contract between authors and users. Authors are free to grant certain use of their works and accompany the work with a selected KOAL logo which identifies what rights are protected and covers commercial, non-commercial and derivative uses.
Offering works under KOAL means that authors are not surrendering their control, but can permit to use of their work under certain condition,. KOAL can be used on diverse works such as software, educational works, digital contents and media products.
KOAL exists to encourage the free use of information, and it is hoped will contribute to the improvement and development of creative culture.
IPLeft which is a social group for information commons in South Korea was founded in 1999. IPLeft has concerns about the social and digital divide and criticises the strengthening of the intellectual property right (IPR) regime and has researched the alternative policies against existing IPR. IPLeft believes that the cultural basis of information commons should be socially wide-spread for the real innovation and creation.