New Perspective on the Creative Industries in the Hallyu 2.0 Era: Emerging Korean Power vs. Continuing U.S. Dominance
In the early 21st century, the Korean Wave and Korean creative industries experienced a significant change with the growth of digital technologies, in particular, social media, such as YouTube, social networking sites (SNS), and smart phones. These new technologies—as new driving engines of the Korean Wave—have initiated and supported the recent popularity of local culture in many countries. The growth of digital/social media has changed the nature of Hallyu mainly because the new Korean Wave needs to emphasize the importance of several services, especially intellectual property (IP) rights, as well as the exportation of virtual goods, because IP is much more significant than cultural goods in terms of capital accumulation and national economy. However, in a Hallyu research tradition, little attention has been made in in capturing international flows of copyrights and measuring the trade balance of countries in intellectual property. Hallyu 2.0 should not been only about cultural goods but also about IP rights based on the growth of digital/social media, because Hallyu 2.0 heavily relies on platforms (SNS, YouTube, and smart phones), which are major resources of IP rights in the creative industries. The paper is to make a contribution to Hallyu 2.0 theory, which focuses on digital-social media alongside Korean popular culture. The paper examines why to emphasize the new Korean Wave in the context of creative industries with a focus on intellectual property rights. It then discusses whether the nascent growth of social media as platforms has resulted in the phenomenal popularity of Korean culture, including K-Pop and online gaming. By mapping out the issues of intellectual property rights in conjunction with the rapid growth of SNS and smart phones, it determines whether Korea has developed its strength in the global market in the context of the Hallyu 2.0 phenomenon. The paper eventually examines whether social media-driven consumption and cultural production flows are contributing to our current debates on the power dynamics of creative industries in Asia and across the globe. This paper does not provide any legal or policy recommendations to protect IP rights. Instead, it is to raise a question of why IP rights should be a major consideration of Hallyu 2.0 to shift the emphasis primarily from the flow of cultural products to the inclusion of the significance of platforms and IP rights.