South Korea to Issue Bill Protecting Cultural Content from Plagiarism

On January 31, the National Assembly of South Korea made a move on protecting cultural content from plagiarism by approving the amendments proposed by member Lee Dong-seop to the Content Industry Promotion Act and the Music Industry Promotion Act.

The bills, which will go into effect on July 30, 2018, give the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism the right to enlist the legal help of government agencies to protect their nation’s cultural and intellectual property, such as TV and music, from getting plagiarized by foreign countries.

The amendments were most likely influenced by the string of plagiarism accusations on various Chinese variety shows this past year, such as The Rap of China <中国有嘻哈> and Chinese Restaurant <中餐厅>. These shows have been claimed to be plagiarized from South Korea’s Show Me the Money and Youn’s Kitchen, respectively.

Before China’s blockade on Korean cultural content due to THAAD, many production studios purchased legal rights to adapt Korean variety shows for the Chinese audience, such as Where Are We Going, Dad? <爸爸去哪儿> and I Am a Singer <我是歌手>. Many Korean producers were also involved in the production process behind those shows.

However, reports of plagiarism of Korean shows started to rise after the ban was implemented—The Rap of China, for example, followed the same style and format as South Korea’s Show Me the Money. Back to Field <向往的生活> was accused of copying South Korea’s Three Meals a Day.

A current show facing plagiarism speculations is the boy group survival show Idol Producer <偶像练习生>, which is being accused of copying South Korea’s Producer 101. In Idol Producer, over 100 trainees compete for nine spots in a boy band. In Producer 101, the show selects 101 trainees from various K-pop entertainment companies for a chance to be in a popular idol group. For both shows, the final members are to be selected through an online voting system.

Mnet, the studio behind Producer 101, has issued a statement clarifying that they were not involved in the creative process behind Idol Producer in any way and would look into the matter.

Ironically, Idol Producer’s dance instructor Zhou Jieqiong (周洁琼), member of the K-pop girl group Pristin, was an original member of IOI, the girl group formed through the first season of Producer 101.


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. China : Plagiarism of any concept that comes to their face, only thing is that they always make it up another level!

  2. Japan has always accused Korea of plagiarizing their soft power content; and Japan had been known as copycats in the past.

  3. I don’t like Korean drama and variety show, but if this bill makes China create original content and stop hallyu wave, then I support it.

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