“Man from the Stars” Sets Phasers For Lawsuit!

Okay, so that is a “Star Trek” reference and I do understand that there is likely to be no phasers in “Man from the Stars”, but you got the joke. Even if it was a bad one (I thought it was funny). Anyway, many fans of KDramas know about “Man from the Stars” and recall how popular it was during its run. It is still pretty popular due to the ability to watch it on the internet and the demand for a second season. The series saw legal trouble soon after starting due to an angry cartoonist called Kang Kyung Ok. She stated that certain aspects of the drama were copied her manhwa (comic) and that they were too similar. It is generally a good idea to have a solid case when going public with accusations of plagiarism, which is even more true when you are accusing a very popular drama from a very popular company. Let’s go through a bit of this drama about a drama now. See what I did there? Okay already. I’ll move on. ><

“Man from the Stars” Accused of Plagiarism by Popular Cartoonist

“Man from the Stars” is a Korean drama about an alien that landed in Korea 400 years ago, looks down on inferior humans and ends up falling in love with an actress in modern day Korea (see sassy woman above). That “sassy woman” is Jun Ji-hyun (Gianna Jun) who acted in a movie called “My Sassy Girl”. They really knew what attitude to give her. 

[Source: soompi.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/ogk6yxv

Kang Kyung Ok’s “Seolhee/Sul Hee” has the similar aspects of a person not growing old for 400 years, dealing with modern times and dealing with his fate. According to Soompi.com, she was quoted saying  “Anyone can make references to the same time period, but the story of a person who does not grow old for 400 years living in modern times and dealing with his fate is much too similar to my ‘Seolhee.” I’m not an expert writer and the requirements of an expert writer are debatable, but those aspects do not sound too precise. The 400 years part is strangely similar, but coincidences do happen. Every other aspect is nothing special for a drama concerning an alien living on Earth and the use of the same time period is even less alarming, which she admits herself. I suppose it comes down to Kang Kyung Ok seeing any kind of similarities and worrying about her sales through them. Maybe she even worried that fans would think she plagiarized and I am not going to start on that topic. You can decide that part and don’t forget to stay civil when debated such issues. This can be seen when she is quoted again saying “’Seolhee’ is currently an on-going series; I feel uncomfortable about what the viewers think about this issue. I’ve received inquires about making the piece into a drama before, but it was postponed to a later time because it is incomplete.” So, she is also concerned that her chance for a drama version of her manhwa is shot now. I can understand that part because any slight similarities can cause fans of the previous drama with a similar theme to claim the latter copied the former, especially if the former was really popular.  This is initially shrugged off, but it has recently come into the public light again and things are not looking friendly. 

“Man from the Stars” Production Comes Out Strong Against Lawsuit by “Sul Hee” Author

“Seolhee/Sul Hee” (left) has similar aspects to “Man from the Stars” (right), but these aspects were understood to be nothing special and the accusation was believed to fall through shortly after it came out. It has recently been addressed by the producers of “Man from the Stars” and a counter lawsuit seems to be in the works.

{Source: soompi.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/odror87

Recently, the production company for “Man from the Stars” announced they will be taking “strong legal against against the 600 million won lawsuit by manhwa ‘Sul Hee’ author Kang Kyung Ok.” 600 million won?! That is around 585,000 in US Dollars! Entertainment industry lawsuits never seem to be for small amounts. I guess the idea is “Go big or go home”. That is not always a good idea with lawsuits or many things in life, but I digress. HB Entertainment claims to have all the evidence they need to prove that Park Ji Eun, writer for “Man from the Stars”, started writing the story back in 2003. I cannot find when the manhwa started, but I believe it is a safe guess that it was after 2003. They legal action being taken against Kang Kyung Ok is stated to be for compensation concerning “mental stress,  material loss, and damages from issues with future enterprises.” I am pretty sure you can counter sue someone for claiming you plagiarized them without including that you suffered mental stress. I mean, did they executives or anyone actually suffer mental stress from a manhwa writer saying they plagiarized her when they say they did not do it. That’s like her saying the company is a band of intergalactic pirates here to take all of Earth’s cows. It’s not true, so why would that stress you out. about that? I’m not saying it’s not possible because some people get stressed out just being accused, but it seems necessary and the court is likely to ignore that part. A settlement might be reached before this even reaches the courts and that would be nice. The company is saying that Kang Kyung Ok is creating villains and victims from her own accounts and even states a rather harsh opinion on people who do such things. According to Soompi.com, the company stated that “We need to stamp out people who show an indifferent and irresponsible attitude after claiming plagiarism against a creator, which is like a death sentence.” Stamping out people is a very harsh way to phrase what was likely meant as “We must punish people who falsely claim they have been plagiarized and show no remorse to the fullest extent of the law”. I’m just saying their wording was extreme and I’m pretty sure no one believed that “Man from the Stars” copied Kang Kyung Ok’s manhwa. There was a more obvious plagarism incident of “Man from the Stars” being copied and I will briefly mention that soon. Just to be clear, I am not saying to let her go with that plagiarism accusation, but there are easier ways to word your legal counter action. Maybe I’m just a nice guy who doesn’t’ like extreme wording. ^^;

Indonesian Drama Accused of Plagiarizing “Man from the Stars,” SBS to Take Action

“Kau Yang Berasal Dari Bintang” was an Indonesian drama that was seen as the Indonesian version of “Man from the Stars”. The problem is they producers did not get the rights to “Man from the Stars”, so it became an issue of plagiarism. 

[Source: soompi.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/qeehts2

“Kau Yang Berasal Dari Bintang” ended up making a drama with similar themes to “Man from the Stars” and this was quickly noticed by fans and SBS Entertainment took actions right away. The main legal aspect of this situation is that the producers of the Indonesian drama did not get the rights to make a their version of “Man from the Stars”, so SBS Entertainment saw a potential loss in profits from another version of their, arguably, most popular drama at the time. This relates somewhat to the issue with Kang Kyung Ok’s situation above because a drama of her manhwa would have likely ran into the same problem. “Kau Yang Berasal Dari Bintang” is described as having very obvious similarities to “Man from the Stars”, but the issue is still present in both to different degrees. Popular series are often targets for parodies and altered versions. Different versions of a series are not plagiarized as long as the rights to the series were obtained, which means the original owners gave the new party permission to make a new version of their series. This often comes with terms and conditions, but it is completely legitimate. There is never a dull day in the entertainment industry. Sometimes you just have to look hard enough.

What do you think about this situation?

*”Man from the Stars can be viewed online here: http://www.dramafever.com/drama/4325/My_Love_From_Another_Star/

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