The Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs issued the Email-1040120 Circular of January 20, 2015 (hereinafter, the "Circular"), in which it was expounded that the creation of a work by referencing the style of another author's works merely involves plagiarism of concepts and does not give rise to the issue of copyright infringement.

According to the Circular, works refer to literary, scientific, artistic or other academic creations and should satisfy two criteria such as "originality" (independently created work which does not plagiarize the works of others) and "creativity" (featuring a certain creative level) before such works are protected under the Copyright Law. Therefore, if elements such as the literary data (literary works) or image files (artistic, graphic or photographic works) in a branded shopping website fit the above description, they are protected under the Copyright Law.

It was further pointed out in the Circular that Article 10-1 of the Copyright Law provides that copyright protection only applies to the expressions of such works and does not extend to the ideas, procedures, concepts, theories or discoveries expressed by the works. Therefore, if protected works in a website (such as bowtie drawings and pictures) are directly used in a personal website, this would constitute an act of "reproduction" or "public transmission" within the meaning of the Copyright Law, with the exception of circumstances of fair use, and would require the permission or a license from the copyright holder; otherwise, this may constitute copyright infringement. However, if only the styles and concepts (such as the bowtie concept) of such website are referenced while expressions are made by the author himself without using protected works such as any bowtie drawing or picture in the website, this would not involve any exploitation of the works of others and only pertain to "the plagiarism of concepts" without giving rise to copyright infringement issues.