Musical plagiarism, misuse, and KPop

Basically, Tasha (legally, Yoonmirae, but I know her as the stage name Tasha and I like it), an old-school KPop/KRap star from the US is suing Sony for the use of her song “Payday” in The Interview. “Payday” is a great song, so I understand why they used it, and it makes sense in context when you read the lyrics. But, of course, the issue is that they didn’t get permission, and I’m pretty sure no SK star wants to be associated with something as belligerent to NK as The Interview. Especially if they don’t even technically have a stake in it, because Tasha is a quarter black, a quarter white, and from the US.

There have been a few weak responses surrounding this, including that she samples “a” Jackson5 song in “Payday”, and that Sony owns the rights to Jackson5 music, but I’m pretty sure, since no one I’ve read so far has been able to identify which song, it would fall under fair use because what’s sampled is too little to prosecute.

And anyway, music companies don’t even go after South Korean anymore because of the 2011 Korean Copyright Act, which opened up seemingly all copyrighted music to be used without the copyrighter’s permission. Whether or not this is only in-country (which I’m leaning towards) or not is unclear, though I’m sure it makes much harder for indie groups to succeed, which is unfortunate. This, of course, does not apply to Sony, because Sony is a Japanese company and the movie is a US movie; they still have to comply with international fair use laws and whatever they have in their system, and since the US is one of the only countries to fully recognize fair use, well.

With that in mind, there’s one more KPop-related scandal I wanted to touch upon. I’m not quite sure what the intention of the allegations are, since allegations against KPop stars don’t usually work out, and it can’t be publicity because taking on KPop fans is a bad idea (Mr. Bullock’s single is now rated 1 star on iTunes), but apparently YG is taking countermeasures against the allegations and it’s going to be fun to see a small guy take on one of the big three. It’s usually just Sony.

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