FIFTY FIFTY: Clever Maneuver or Copyright Infringement? An In-depth Look at the Controversy
As K-pop group FIFTY FIFTY grapples with contractual disputes with their agency Attrakt, allegations of copyright manipulation by the service company The Givers have sparked controversy. The Givers has stated it will not make additional comments beyond its initial stance that there are no issues.
On July 6th, a media outlet released audio records, suggesting that An Sung-il, CEO of The Givers and also known as the producer Sian for FIFTY FIFTY, may have cleverly swapped out the original copyright holder of FIFTY FIFTY's song "Cupid". The Givers had signed a service contract with Attract and proceeded with the project.
According to the report, An Sung-il, under the pseudonym Sian, contributed to the lyrics and arrangement of "Cupid" and was also credited as a composer. "Cupid" was originally composed by Swedish music school students, and it was reported that An Sung-il paid them 9,000 dollars (approximately 12 million Korean Won) to acquire the copyright.
The outlet pointed out that the names of the foreign composers were omitted from the composer credits for "Cupid" on the Korea Music Copyright Association's site, and only An Sung-il (Sian), AHIN, and FIFTY FIFTY member Kina are listed. The media outlet claimed that this is a 'trick' of An Sung-il, even if he paid the composers and bought the copyright, it is common practice to list the original composer's name in the credits and the purchaser's name as the right holder.
The Givers responded, "We have no plans to comment further."
Previously, on the 5th, The Givers claimed in an official statement that the $9,000 paid for the song, as alleged by Attract, was for the copyright known as 'neighboring rights', which are rights owned by the record producer. The Givers emphasized that they do not hold any rights to the neighboring rights, and the copyright for "Cupid" was legally purchased following negotiations with the composers.
The Givers also explained that all of this happened before the release of "Cupid". "The various stages such as the modification of lyrics and composition, mixing into various versions, collaborations with other artists, and proceeding with a global promotion required lengthy approval processes. To simplify these processes, we legally acquired the rights through The Givers' publisher. It is clear that the rights were obtained through the company's business processes, and the shares of the actual contributors, including An Sung-il, and the shares of the foreign composers are owned by The Givers, the publisher."
They added, "Our company has a separate invoice for securing these rights, and the invoice for the song fee owned by Attract is labeled 'Music Production Fee', whereas the transfer fee invoice paid by The Givers is labeled 'Music Intellectual Property Rights Fee'. These are clearly different, and we will disclose the relevant materials in court." The Givers stated that Attract's claim that The Givers bought the copyright with the song fee paid by Attract cannot be established and is a false fact.
Meanwhile, Attrakt claimed that external forces attempted to snatch away the members of FIFTY FIFTY. The members of FIFTY FIFTY, through their legal representative Barun Law, filed for a suspension of the effectiveness of the exclusive contract on the 19th of last month. They argued that Attract has failed to fulfill obligations such as providing accounting records, ensuring physical and mental health, and lacks the ability to support their entertainment activities. They emphasized, "The decision was made collectively by the four members, independent of any external intervention."
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