With Lee Hyori potentially facing multiple plagiarism charges, the questionable practice of plagiarism itself re-emerges. This is not the first time plagiarism and K-pop have found themselves together in the same sentence. Perhaps due to sharp-eyed netizens detecting the plagiarism so quickly, it would seem that kpop is losing credibility to its fans and other industry representatives.
Among many accusations is that K-pop has no creative license of its own. Despite that Lee Hyori may have possibly released up to five illegal cover versions, most covers of international songs by K-pop artists were safely used with permission. Corbin Bleu released the song “Deal With It” and SHINee later released their third single, “Juliet” which was a legal cover of Corbin Bleu’s song with added instrumental. Other legal covers include Wheesung’s “Insomnia,” Super Junior’s “TWINS / Knock Out,” and most recently Brian’s cover of Jason Derulo’s “In My Head.”
Another cause for concern is sampling. G-Dragon was slammed with plagiarism accusations during promotion of his album Heartbreaker. His song “Heartbreaker” was said to sound too similar to Flo Rida‘s “Right Round.” YG remedied the sampling concerns by featuring Flo Rida on G-Dragon’s Shine A Light live album and G-Dragon escaped what could have been a costly lawsuit. Ynot will file a lawsuit for $44,000 against C.N.Blue’s songwriters for allegedly plagiarizing their song “Bluebird.” Netizens have made other speculations against KARA’s “Lupin” possibly sampling Jelena Karleusa’s “Insomnia” and 2PM’s “Again & Again” possibly sampling Envy’s “Shawty Dangerous.” However no comment has been made by representatives of any companies regarding the speculations.
Though it appears that K-pop is constantly hit with plagiarism charges, very few have actually seen legal action or recognition. Rhianna had been asked if she was aware of Girls’ Generation possibly sampling from her song “Shut Up & Drive” for their comeback track “Oh!” She stated she had never heard of the allegations and therefore had no comment on it.
Still, the question of how credible K-pop is lingers on. What we do know is that most covers are legal and most sampling is netizen-spotted and goes unnoticed by the composers of the original songs.
How Lee Hyori’s camp will handle the recent plagiarism issues remains to be seen. But when the Queen of K-pop is in an earthquake of trouble the entire Korean pop industry feels the aftershocks.