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IRIS served with plagiarism suit

KBS’s hit spy drama IRIS has found itself entangled in plagiarism charges. On December 7, novelist Park Chul-joo filed a suit with Seoul Central District Court accusing the drama’s production company of ripping off his spy novel The Sun Doesn’t Rise on Mt. Fuji.

In his complaint, writer Park asserted that the drama takes the story, situations, and developments from his own book: “The drama IRIS heavily plagiarized my novel in over 162 instances. I have suffered severe mental distress, and I’ve also suffered financial losses, as I have had to give up the chance to produce the book as my own drama.” Included in the allegedly plagiarized points are: the threat of nuclear explosion in the middle of the city, the hero’s confrontation with the North Korean female spy, and the fact that the North Korean spy falls for the hero who treated her injuries.

According to Yonhap News, the production company refuted the claims, saying, “The plot may be similar, but it is not plagiarism.”

Often I think these plagiarism claims are cases of unfortunate coincidences — you can’t own an idea, after all. But these do sound like pretty specific points, although without having read the book, it’s hard to say…

Via E Daily, DongA

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bullshit. Every single Korean spy movies/ dramas of course has something to do with North Korean stuff.

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i do remember reading somewhere that it was based on a novel (although i don't remember ther title)... hmmm...

But, i wonder why Mr. Park decided to file suit now, instead of before the drama aired or in the earlier stages of the drama... interesting...

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I think that's complete BS. If he was going to file a suit wouldn't it have come sooner? Maybe before the drama started airing? As for the points he brought up. That's literally synonymous of practically every spy/war related movie. There's almost always a bomb of some sort that's going to go off in a major city, always someone who gets injured and is cared for by someone else.

And how could this have lead to financial losses for him? Seriously, I think he just wants to cash in on the success of IRIS.

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@ktwngrl, I believe they recently published an IRIS novel, but it's based on the same characters/story as the drama. Recently the drama writer stated that the series' ending will be different from this novel's ending. Is that what you're thinking of?

@Reese, the thought crossed my mind that he was overreacting. But the timing doesn't strike me as odd, because I suppose he would have had to see the developments onscreen to confirm the similarities with his book. To give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he started watching the series and decided it was just a common similarity, but as the drama progressed it bothered him more as more plot points surfaced...?

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This is rather crazy.

I'd imagine any Korean spy dramas would involve N. Korea, as to a city threatened by nukes of evil terrorists, that's such a cliche point in so much American spy fiction, it's not even worth mentioning.

If they were going to have N. Korean girls and S. Korean guys, of course, the girl was going to fall for the guy - hasn't he seen Shiri? Might as well say IRIS is ripping Shiri off.

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How could he know that parts of his book were plagiarized unless he watched the drama first? It's not like the writers of the drama would send him a script beforehand. Therefore, the timing of the suit is appropriate. As for whether or not it's legitimate, that's for the courts to decide. It's unfair to call BS on the writer's claims unless you've read his book and watched the drama.

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Typical... People try to get money by declaring a success of a plagiarism of their work....

Just take a look at Twilight (well, it's the most recent and most popular accusation) and Harry Potter (more like most popular but not most recent).

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@Emily, I'm of the same mind. Trust me, I rolled my eyes when I first read the headlines for this story, but 162 instances of similarities? That's... a lot.

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He claims they're 162, perhaps some character held a gun in his book and IRIS ripped that off too, Or maybe Ian Fleming should be suing them both, I swear its a genre cliche, no plagarism...

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The timing is not odd for the suit. Like DB and Emily said, you gotta see the drama before accusing someone of plagiarism. Plus the writer had to seek legal advice as well.
It is sad if the plagiarism claim is true though. I don’t watch Iris (yet), but I do think the vibe it brings to Kdrama scene is positive.

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Though plagiarism is no laughing matter I would fin it ironic if it was plagiarized considering I think the IRIS plot so far is generic. However, I have been pretty excited as of ep 12 since one of my favorite actors Kim Gab Soo "Master Lee" from Sea God has entered the scene. I kick myself for not recognizing his distinctive voice earlier.

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IRIS has also ripped off 24 (hello computer geek girl) and, well, all the rest of the Western spy genre...but you're right, 162 cases is a lot. It depends on what he's counting, like #9 Dopey said, but even if 62 instances counted are dumb, there's still 100 that have merit.

Heck, if I noticed 15 similarities between my ahhsum spy thriller book and IRIS, I'd be calling it in, too. Fifteen is a lot, if you think about it.

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@ nycgrl
Kim Gab Soo is in IRIS! I can't wait. I'm still behind on the episodes.

Now, back to the plagiarism case... 162 counts of plagiarism is a lot. I hope it's all generic similarities, nothing specific or else I'll be very disappointed.

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@javabeans, i believe you're right. i remember the article saying that the drama's ending will be different from the novel's ending.

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Ooops sorry ara. Sounds like I might have let one slip. Apologies.

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i'm divided on the issue. 162 points is a lot! i'm curious to hear about all 162 in their specifics. I think there has to be specific events that haven't happened in a lot of other books/dramas and same dialogue rather than just generic plot points.

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Too bad for IRIS, rumor or fact, this is bad publicity. But I don't think this kind of news would affect the ratings of the show or its popularity ( that is kind of hard to stop now).

In general though, why in Korea are there a lot of issues regarding plagiarism??? In KPop and in KDrama , I haven't heard anything in the film industry yet..

For the record, I am person who upholds intellectual property rights even though it kills me to finish my thesis without ripping somebody else's work.

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@ cinderella
twilight has most likely been accused for plagiarism due to the fact that it has a cliche plot that many romance novels have definitely used before

anyway i'd be curious as to see what all 162 instances are b/c that could be a strong case if the evidence is enough

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Not having seen the drama or the book I would have to agree with the first rant by dramalover. It was the first thing to come to my mind as well.
But I think the Korean entertainment industry is getting more and more stale and lacking idea's all locked into one city all feeding off each other. One gets the feeling it is a very cold and sterile place.

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Here's the thing.

If it was plagarism, regardless of how generic the material really was, then it has to stop, it has to be punished. As long as people have a carefree attitude toward the property rights of others, then what will come of innovation? What is the point in doing hard work and create something new, if other people will just pick and choose and steal parts of what you have created? Overlooking plagarism is the same thing as condoning it, and those in charge should err on the side of caution when it comes to the creation of dramatic works.

The key, for me, isn't whether there are overt similarities (however many), but whether the IRIS writers actually did take ideas and plot points directly from Park Chul-joo. It's not that hard to prove - find the original manuscripts and look at the edits. If enough of the parts that were supposedly stolen were "as-is" in the first edit, then the likelihood that those parts were stolen is high. If the edits show a progression in the ideas, then the likelihood of plagarism is much less.

But if those ideas were stolen, then I would hope that those writers would be never be able to find a job in the drama industry again.

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hahahahahahaha
take that!

lol...

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i was amused at all the intelligent comments until i read the one above...

anyways
i think IRIS's plot is pretty generic, in fact I bet any hollywood movie could find a minimum of 300 points of plagiarism (maybe i exagerrated a bit)

examples:
- hacking into someone's system by a laptop in a warehouse
- the bomb will be set in a central place of some city
- > 2 girls fall in love with the guy and the girls become enemies
- best friend betrays main character and part of the reason is because he likes the same girl that likes him

if we look at the 5 examples i just listed, i can tell u that ALMOST all action/spy dramas/movies will have this.. i agree that 162 is a lot, but depending on the detail, perhaps it's not plagiarism?

but ... i am an iris fan so yah haha

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Aww come on, that is bs. I wonder how he was able to come up with 162 counts when the drama hasn't even done airing yet. I'm on episode 14, and I can tell IRIS has a lot of similarities with all the western spy movies and also the Korean blockbuster, Shiri, especially the romance development between the N korean spy and the S. Korean agent. So typical of them.

Furthermore, the N. Korean and S. korean political conflicts and conspiracies have been going on at an endless rate in their movies and in real life, nothing new. This movie is just to add more fuel into the current situation. Additionally, terrorists nuke attack in Seoul is just a given, I mean, who would want to to nuke a rural area?? Take the 911 attack for an instance. Lastly, as much as I enjoy watching IRIS, I can tell it's not an original plot as it has a lot of similarities to other shows and movies, but you gotta give the production props for having such a high-budget drama with beautiful and attractive casts along with few weird twisted moments that altogether make the drama interesting

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@1 lets not pretend this has not happened before so maybe it's plagiarized who knows?

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We know IRIS is freely using a whole bunch of cliches out there, from many different sources. But, this accusation states that IRIS has lifted 162 instances, so far, from a single book. That's a lot, no matter how cliched the genre.

I've only watched up to Ep 4, and I haven't read this book, so I've no idea, but I'm curious.

Betrayal by best friend, love with a senior colleague, best friend also loves her...ok, these can be counted as rather generic. But, if it's something like: guy gets recruited while at university by the woman he'll love, only to find out she's part of the spy group. His best friend falls for her, too, when he meets her on what later turns out to be a recruitment scouting. Guy consummates his love while on a mission abroad. The girl can drink a lot with no problem. The guy has photographic memory. Etc. Then, boy, do we have a problem.

I mean...one book? 162 plagarisms? The drama isn't finished yet?

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Just to be clear: I'm incredulously on the fence. 162 is a lot. I couldn't come up with 162 generic cliches off the top of my head.

Maybe we should make a game of it! Really! :D

>unfortunately, I has ze time... x_x<

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It did not suprise me because i was wonder how the scriptwriter of IRIS was able to improve himself so much in terms of the sophistication and complexity of the plot, as compared to what he did for Air City . This requires a real paradigm shift in thinking process, creativity as well as having a good understanding of the emotional state of minds of the spies and politicians, than just the ability to write.

Hehe...afterall IRIS is indeed a copycat Meow-Meow job...nevertheless, the PD was able to execute it well, albeit colluding with the scriptwriter, I presume to cover the truth!!

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It could be a rip off from the novel or whatever, am enjoying Iris a lot, but no doubt it have a lot of cliche. If you are making a movie or drama involving south korean nuclear ambition, you are gonna have a north korean angle. Is that not obvious. I really don't wanna read Kim's novel. It's fun watching all the bang bang boom but to read it and feel the excitement ........... i'll let that pass.

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I haven't seen IRIS at all, but I have seen the movie 쉬리 (Shiri) and it seems like, after reading a brief description of the series and the novel, they all share a lot of similar plot points, even if the story details aren't precisely the same. But I wouldn't be able to say it's plagiarism or not without reading both the novels and watching the series. I suppose it's up to the courts to decide.

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somewhat of a tangent here... but I've just recently started IRIS. ep 3 where TOP gets his first big scene, it's almost a scene for scene re-enactment of the opening sequence in the Professional, aka Leon. i'm a big fan of the movie, and some of the similarities were unmistakable.

i wonder if that falls under plagiarism, or if it can be considered an homage?

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why do all koreans need to resort to plagarism? also, the writer says, 'you cannot own an idea'. this is ridiculous....of course you can, it is called COPYRIGHT.

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Copyright refers to a specific right over intellectual property in regards to its usage, distribution, publication, etc. You cannot own a basic idea. There are a million and one ways to express an idea -- the specific way in which one chooses to do so, within a copyrightable format, is protectable by law.

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the writer linked his statement 'you cant own an idea' to the novel and TV series in question. Obviously, this novel is covered by a copyright. The idea of the novel (characters, plot, and other elements of the novel) is indeed owned by the auhtor of the novel. HEY, STOP BEING SO KOREAN by trying to brush everything under the carpet. This is not a new phenomenon in Korea. It is theft, why don't Koreans see this? Low morals, perhaps?

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Who said I'm brushing anything under the carpet? Perhaps you're not reading my statements clearly.

The idea of a spy story is not a copyrightable idea. The idea of a spy story is up for grabs for anyone to express using whatever specific settings, characters, and plot developments as s/he chooses to do so. Hence James Bond and IRIS and Alias and the Bourne Identity and, hey, Get Smart to boot.

The specific content of a specific spy story, on the other hand, is absolutely copyrightable. Certain characters, scenarios, relationships, events. You steal those, and you've committed theft of intellectual property.

Honestly, I don't even see why you're arguing with me. I'm staunchly against plagiarism, don't condone ripping off a book to make a hit drama, and absolutely contend that the contents of a book are copyrighted by its author. What I said still stands -- you can't copyright an idea, a concept, or a title.

But why should I bother arguing with you? The U.S. Copyright Office explains it so clearly:

How do I protect my idea?
Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.

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