The face of Korea’s 100 won coin -- which shows a portrait of legendary Navy Adm. Yi Sun-sin (1545-1598) from the Joseon era -- will be maintained, after a court sided with the Bank of Korea in a copyright lawsuit.
The Seoul Central District Court confirmed a ruling Friday that the Bank of Korea has the right to use the portrait image of Yi, which was created by the late painter Jang Wu-seong, the BOK said.
Jang’s bereaved family filed a lawsuit on Oct. 9 against the Bank of Korea, requesting royalties from the central bank for imprinting Jang’s painting of Yi on the 100 won coin for the past 40 years, dating to the 1980s.
In 1975, the central bank paid Jang a sum of 1.5 million won -- roughly $3,100 at the time -- for the right to use his painting for the coin. The amount would be the equivalent of some 17 million won ($12,600) now.
Jang’s family, however, claimed the estate should receive further royalties from the central bank for use of the painting’s image on the 100 won coin.
The court took the BOK's side, seeing that it had secured the right to use the image by purchasing the copyright from Jang.
Jang’s painting of Yi was designated as an official portrait of the admiral by the government in 1973. The following year, the BOK requested Jang to create a new version of the portrait to use the image to issue currency. The official issuance of the 100 won with Yi’s painting on the front began in 1983.