“Copyrighting a plagiarized song and monetizing off it is not right…”
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Back in February 2022, (G)I-DLE‘s Soyeon produced a song titled “SUN” for MBC‘s TV competition program My Teenage Girl—to be performed by a team of contestants during the finale. Soon after the performance, however, ATEEZ fans pointed out the similarities between the boy group’s 2019 hit track “WAVE” and My Teenage Girl‘s “SUN.”
ATEEZ fans took to social media and reported the similarities to KQ Entertainment. Later, the agency addressed the situation with an official statement—explaining that while the original producer Eden-ary had been properly credited, neither Soyeon nor MBC had previously reached out for permission to sample the song.
As the company was monitoring the [plagiarism] issue, we discovered that a member of our producing team, Eden-ary, was eventually listed in the credits for ‘SUN.’
We want to clarify that no previous discussion had taken place with the company or Eden-ary. In hopes of respecting the creators and their unique works, and in hopes of preventing/correcting the spread of misinformation, we ask everyone to please refrain from making any unreasonable assumptions regarding the issue.
— KQ Entertainment
Following KQ Entertainment’s statement, CUBE Entertainment also addressed the plagiarism accusation—explaining that the agencies have attempted to amend the situation. Soyeon, too, personally admitted the similarities in an online post and stated that she “sincerely apologize to the original composer, the artist, and fans for the confusion caused.”
Hello, this is CUBE Entertainment. We would like to explain what happened on MBC’s My Teenage Girl regarding the song ‘SUN’ by (G)I-DLE’s Soyeon. First, we sincerely apologize for the concerns caused by the production of the song ‘SUN.’ Following the broadcast, in monitoring the episode, we recognized some of the similarities in the two melodies.
[Soyeon] immediately reached out to the original composer to explain the situation and apologize. In this process, we admitted the similarities and we decided the production credits should be edited and properly given to the original composer. Soyeon discussed this option with the original composer and we asked the producers of the show to implement the edit…
We would like to deeply apologize to the original composer, for adding the name to the song credits without coming to a full conclusion on the matter. We promise this will never happen again. Thank you.
— CUBE Entertainment
That being somewhat resolved, “SUN” became available on streaming platforms and the public’s interest in the situation faded. Fast forward to June 2022, though, the song is being questioned again—this time by a Twitter user who found it listed with the Korean Music Copyright Association (KOMCA).
User @atzyh_hwasu attached screenshots of the song “SUN” being credited and copyrighted to Soyeon, calling out the girl group member for “monetizing off a plagiarized song.”
I understand the song being made available for streaming, because I know there are fans of the contestants who recorded the song. But copyrighting a plagiarized song and monetizing off it is not right. The song had not been listed with KOMCA until now. But I see it has been copyrighted. — Twitter User @atzyh_hwasu
Captioning one of the screenshots displaying details of the song’s copyright with KOMCA, the user also pointed out that Soyeon listed herself as one of the backup singers—hence claiming full rights to the production and the performance of “SUN.” By claiming ownership of “SUN,” Soyeon can—technically— make licensed revenue through any and all use of the song.
[Soyeon] is also listed as one of the performers of the song as a backup vocal. I wonder if she thinks everyone forgot this is a plagiarized song…
I looked it up right around the time ‘TOMBOY’ was released. Back then, [SUN] was not listed with KOMCA or the Federation of Korean Music Performers (FKMP). ‘TOMBOY,’ which came out after ‘SUN,’ was listed. So I assumed she won’t be copyrighting the plagiarized song at all. But here we are…
— Twitter User @atzyh_hwasu
Since @atzyh_hwasu’s tweets began circulating around online communities, Korean K-Pop fans have voiced both curiosity and criticism regarding the series of events leading up to the KOMCA certification.
Some have questioned if, based on how “SUN” has now been copyrighted—especially without any mention of Eden-ary, the agencies (and the artists involved) might have reached an agreement behind the scenes. Others have dubbed Soyeon’s behavior as “shameless.”
- “Even if the involved parties have come to an agreement, a plagiarized song should be credited to the original producer when copyrighted.”
- “Wow. As far as I know though, when plagiarized songs get copyrighted, the credit includes the original producer.”
- “This is shady AF.”
- “Soyeon is not a genius… I don’t want her to keep promoting herself as a genius producer, especially if she’s plagiarizing her work.”
- “This is still wrong EVEN IF the parties involved did reach an agreement of some sort.”
- “Aw, this sucks. I was starting to like her for the latest song.”
- “Yet, when she appears on TV programs, people praise her for being a genius producer.”
- “This should be taken down if the parties involved did not come to an agreement on how it should be handled.”
- (Deleted Comment)
- “Wait, what? Did she figure it out with the original producer?”
- “I’m sure KOMCA let her copyright the song because the issue revolving its plagiarism has been resolved.”
- “We shouldn’t be quick to criticize Soyeon in the case she has already taken care of this matter.”
- “This smells…”
- “Had she already ‘taken care of the matter,’ she should have credited the original producer in the copyright.”
- “If Soyeon indeed figured it out with the original producer and they agreed on copyrighting it this way, she should still make a statement on it and explain—for the sake of educating the public on how copyrighting should be handled.”
- “Plagiarizing a song AND copyrighting it? She obviously doesn’t know how licensing works.”
- “She went ahead and copyrighted a song she plagiarized from someone else? Crazy.”
Neither Soyeon nor the agencies involved have yet responded to the growing concerns.