CNBLUE are currently caught in the middle of copyright infringement accusations by their sunbaes in the music industry, Indie band Crying Nut whom is suing the band 3 years after the incident, for what they feel is wrongful negligence and copyrights infringement on their song ‘Offside’.
In case you have been living under a rock or merely avoiding all the drama surrounding this case, here is a rundown of the facts collected surrounding CNBLUE recent copyright scandal. In June of 2010, Mnet asked CNBLUE to perform what was supposed to be a cover of ‘Offside’ by Crying Nut on their weekly music show, M!Countdown. CNBLUE were under the impression the instrumental accompaniment they were given to use was indeed prepared by Mnet. Despite the short preparation time allowed for CNBLUE, they reluctantly performed the song, hand syncing and singing along to the track as a special stage on M!Countdown’s June 17th 2010 broadcast. Later it was realized that the ‘instrumentals’ provided by Mnet were indeed Crying Nut’s actual music used in the performance. But what caused things to really get out of control was the fact that the CNBLUE performance clip of ‘Offside’ was included on a DVD that was compiled and released unbeknownst to CNBLUE and FNC Entertainment, under Mnet’s production company the following year.
According to reports, once Mnet realized their error had become public information, they officially apologized to CNBLUE and Crying Nut stating: “We admit Mnet’s fault. We will do our best to come up with a solution that will not damage either company.” They continued by admitting to the wrong doing of using the performance clip on a DVD that was released in Japan and maintain that neither FNC Entertainment nor CNBLUE were privy to the use of the clip nor did they receive any compensation from the sale of the DVD. In 2012, Mnet compensated Crying Nut for their damages regarding the DVD sales and admitted the blame should not be placed on CNBLUE since they were merely following Mnet’s directions. FNC’s CEO Han Seung Ho stated recently, “Mnet collected its broadcast and sold it as a DVD. When we sent a official complaint of violation of our portrait rights, it was already being sold. We received no profit from this. There was no contract to begin with. We are victims of portrait rights infringement. It wasn’t just that stage but many other clips from the network.”
On February 15th, FNC released this statement on their and CNBLUE’s behalf: “On behalf of the members, we sincerely apologize to the sunbae Crying Nut for causing them trouble through such a process. We deeply sympathize with the raised concerns and we promise to strive to prevent such an incident from happening again. However, regarding the DVD, as expressed multiple times through the media and the network’s statement, we would like to clarify again that our agency did not participate in its commercial production. Reflecting on this incident, we will try our hardest so that it will not happen again, and we will continue to do our best to foster live stages in music shows.” To blame CNBLUE solely for negligence would be unfair in this matter. FNC have accepted the blame of negligence for not handling the situation as they should’ve during that time adding, “…we admit it is the agency’s fault that we let our signed artists go on stage without correctly confirming the music source during the hectic circumstances of the live music show.”
One would think that all would be done and buried since all parties involved admitted their wrongful actions and have thoughtfully submitted their sincere apologies and the party affected received compensation for their troubles right? Apparently, CNBLUE & FNC’s public apology was not enough for Crying Nut as they feel that CNBLUE should’ve known better than to use another band’s music since they were once an Indie band themselves before they officially debut in 2010. Perhaps CNBLUE did know better to not want to use another band’s music, but do people really believe that a rookie group in their position, who had only debuted six months earlier, would really have the power or ability to turn down a request made to them by a broadcast company? That way of thinking is both unreasonable and unrealistic.
On February 19th, 2013, Crying Nut released their official reply to FNC’s apology stating, “First, let us make it clear that we have no bad feelings towards CNBLUE and we do not want to use them in any way. We saw CNBLUE’s official apology. We felt a little better and realized CNBLUE was also suffering, and we honestly had a lot of mixed emotions. But we also felt a bit bitter about the apology. We saw an article saying that they apologized sincerely and that they would try to stop another situation from happening… But they didn’t say how they were going to make an effort to stop it from happening. The reason why we took legal measures is to stop a re-occurrence so no future artist can be harmed. Honestly, we wish there would be a good alternative. We do not think that it is such a matter where you can just simply say, ‘We lip synced since we were rookie musicians and we were told to do so by the broadcast station. Why are you being so narrow minded and picking on us for something like that, sunbaenim!’ and to leave it alone.”
It seems people expect that rookies have a platform to say “No, we won’t do this!” and think no repercussions would be faced by them if they defy specific instructions. It is a well-known fact that rookies are powerless for the most part in the music industry, whether it be in South Korea or the United States. They do not have much say so in most facets of their career and even in their personal lives. Most are contractually held into saying and doing what their management says they have to do, even if it is performing a piece from another band on a TV show. In the beginning of any career, the artist has to do as they are told until they have the means to prove their worth in earning and growth potential. Which is why CNBLUE being able to produce a successful self-composed and self written album for the first time such as, ‘RE: BLUE’ was so important to them. For anyone to assume that CNBLUE should’ve known better at the time really has no idea what type of stifled environment rookies have to deal with.
CNBLUE fans and supporters are outraged at how the media has covered the lawsuit and what has transpired in the media as a result of the lack of accuracy and feel that CNBLUE have been portrayed unfairly because of Crying Nut’s accusations. Important facts have been either omitted or misconstrued in several news publications resulting in unreasonable comments that have been thrown in CNBLUE’s direction which have not been completely unbiased. Either way the issues are perceived, it seems CNBLUE are guilty before they are proven to be innocent as far as the netizens and their many opinions are concerned. Even Crying Nut seems to feel they have won their battle since they mentioned, “…the legal compensation we would get from CNBLUE will be deposited to our legal firm to be donated for the copyrights in order to help grow the indie scene.”
So what should be the expected outcome of this whole ordeal? Statements have been made and rejected so it must be left for the courts to have to determine whether or not CNBLUE are legally responsible for this violation of copyrights. As it stands currently, Crying Nut have not accepted CNBLUE’s apology, siting they haven’t proven to them that they wouldn’t commit the aforementioned “crime” again. They also stated in their reply to CNBLUE’s apology, “We are clearly stating that our aim is not noise marketing through lawsuits with CNBLUE, or to stop a popular band’s future because of money.” Yet, these allegations and the lawsuit garnering the Indie band all of this media attention come to light during the same time CNBLUE are having their most successful comeback to date and Crying Nut are to start promoting a new album release this March. This could explain why Crying Nut would think to file a lawsuit against CNBLUE even after the fault and blame has already been publically accepted by one of the largest production companies, Mnet. Some may say this lawsuit is a well-planned and thought out publicity stunt on the senior band’s behalf or is this just a huge coincidence?
Despite CNBLUE & FNC’s public sincerity, it seems that their apologetic stance has not been enough to ice the heated situation. At this point, only time and the courts will tell the copyrights or wrongs.
**Featured on KpopStarz.com on behalf of CNBLUESTORM**
- [News] CNBLUE Facing Copyright Violation Lawsuit (cnbluestorm.com)