Are ‘Hompage Masters’ also known as ‘Hommas’, assets or liabilities in the K-Pop industry? ‘Hommas’ are fans who film and shoot photos of idols to share them online or produce merchandise with. The issue of ‘Hommas’ has once again surfaced with the recent proposal of a revision to the Copyright Act banning unauthorized filming within concert halls.
On December 11th, Rep. Kim Hong Gul of the Democratic Party of Korea proposed a revision to the Copyright Act to penalize unauthorized recordings of performances and the act of public transmission. If the amendment is enacted, recording, filming, and sharing performances without the permission of the copyright holder will be officially prohibited. Violating this will result in up to one year in prison or up to 10 million Won (approximately 9k USD) in fines.
The current copyright law only prohibits the unauthorized recording of theatre screens. Whilst a majority of performance producers of concerts and musicals restrict unauthorized filming, there are no ways to legally penalize those who violate the rule.
Rep. Kim, who presented the revision of the copyright law, recently announced that “we need to renovate the copyright system of performance productions while correcting the loose attitudes on unauthorized filming and infringement of performance works.”
The internet is flooded with videos of illegally filmed performances. In particular, such a phenomenon is notable amongst K-Pop Idols communities. As the number of ‘Hommas’ increased, idol fancams have become significant in the fandom culture.
The issue of ‘Hommas’ violating artists’ portrait rights has always been a concern in the industry. In addition to illegal profits from the sale of unofficial merchandise, safety issues were raised in concert halls and airports as they competed with each other to film.
On the other hand, some say that they participated in the growth of K-Pop. They claim well-taken idol fancams or photos can boost the fandom. As promotional factors of a ‘Homma’ were noted, they were also called ‘Camera Goddesses’.
The agencies seem to be in difficult positions. Though regulations were indeed difficult to enforce as ‘Hommas’ are also an active part of the fandom, companies prefer having them consume official contents and merchandise.
Others claim that though the secondary content production could help with the idols’ promotion, copyright damages and regulations would have to be improved for the long run.