Raising Awareness of Intellectual Property Rights among Korean Students

From Star Wars to Coca Cola, many artistic works and inventions are the intellectual property of their creators and are protected under international copyright laws. Yet, many Korean youth remain unfamiliar with the concept of intellectual property rights (IPR) and are therefore prone to unknowingly committing copyright infringement.

To help address this issue, the Korea Software Property-Right Council (SPC) organises an annual IPR education programme for elementary students aged 9 to 12. Supported by Microsoft Korea, the “Class of Authenticity” is a two-week initiative that generates awareness and builds a deeper understanding of the issues related to intellectual property, illustrated through the most prevalent forms of IPR infringement.

 Students learned about the importance of IPR, and how it can also help protect their own creations.

Each year, the programme culminates in the Golden Bell Competition conducted by Microsoft. The competition is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Software Alliance (BSA).

Now in its fourth edition, this year’s staging of the competition featured 100 participants from 20 elementary schools pitting their wits against each other in two rounds of quizzes. In the "OX” inter-school quiz, the students competed as teams and answered a series of true-or-false questions that put their IPR knowledge to the test. This is followed by an elimination-round competition for individual students.

The questions posed to the elementary school students were anything but trivial. For instance, they needed to crack tough questions such as whether un-registered computer programs can still be protected by intellectual property laws, and is plagiarism of homework considered to be an act of IPR violation—questions that might even stump the average adult.  

 The winners of the competition—Yeh Won Shin, in the individual contest, and the team from the Attached Elementary School of Chuncheon University of Education in the team competition.

“The learnings the students gained throughout the two-week programme will give them a firmer understanding of the significance of IPR in today’s fast evolving environment. They also learned to protect their own creative works, which will spark future innovation,” said Sunny J Park, Legal and Corporate Affairs Lead, Microsoft Korea.

Chungyang Elementary School came up trumps in the team competition to win the Microsoft Prize. Yeh Won Shin, from the Attached Elementary School of Chuncheon National University of Education, took the honours in the individual contest and was awarded a scholarship and the Minister Prize from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

“I’m very thankful for this opportunity to learn more about IPR in a fun and easy manner,” said Yeh Won. “I am glad to have performed well enough during the individual competition to win the scholarship prize. Events such as these will definitely encourage more young students to learn more about IPR.”

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