Will “Homepage Master” Disappear? Copyright Act Banning Illegal Filming in Concert Halls Proposed

Credit: tvN (Park Min Young as homma in drama ‘Her Private Life’)

Are “homepage masters” aka “hommas” the merits and demerits of the K-pop scene? Hommas take high-quality pictures of K-pop stars with professional cameras, share (also sell) them through their own websites, also known as “homes.” With the recent proposal of a revision to the Copyright Act banning unauthorized filming of concert halls, the issue of Hommas sparked again.

Rep. Kim Hong Gul of the Democratic Party of Korea proposed a revision to the Copyright Act to punish unauthorized recording of performances and public sharing of them. If the amendment is enacted, the act of recording or filming the concert without the permission of the copyright holder will become illegal. Violations will result in up to one year in prison or up to 10 million KRW (about 9,090 USD) in fines.

Rep. Kim explained, “We need to overhaul the performance copyright-related system, while correcting people’s light-hearted perception about the illegal filming of the performances and correct the situation where the copyright of the concerts is infringed.”

Credit: Chosun Ilbo

In fact, YouTube and SNS are flooded with videos that illegally filmed paid performances. In particular, this phenomenon is most definitely notable in the K-pop scene. With the increased influence of K-pop idols, Hommas became an important part of fandom culture. But, the issue of violating singers’ portrait rights has always been a concern in the industry as there are many illegal factors. In addition to illegal profits from the sale of unofficial goods, safety issues have been raised at concert halls and airports due to excessive competition over “better spots” for filming.

On the other hand, many will agree with the fact that Hommas took a great part in spreading K-pop. The well-taken fancams and pictures of the idols can grow the fandom more than we think. This also means that their content can work as the “door to the fandom.” In fact, a number of videos of famous idols filmed by Hommas exceeded 10 million views on YouTube.

As such, the agencies are seemingly having mixed thoughts about the newly-proposed act. They take the positive view on the fact that Hommas are excellent in promoting and raising attention, but the violations in the copyright cannot be overlooked anymore. One official shared, “Hommas work under the name of a fan, so it’s hard to put any restrictions on them. But companies prefer if fans consume official content and products. It would be nice if we could be protected by the law and regulate it (the illegal filming).”

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