After 15 years of debut, IU faces high risk in her singing career due to plagiarism accusation

For singers, plagiarism is a serious issue, and getting involved in plagiarism issues can damage their images greatly.

On May 8th, the Seoul Gangnam Police Station received a complaint from a citizen accusing singer IU of plagiarizing domestic and overseas artists’ music. Mentioning six songs, including “The Red Shoes”, “Good Day”, “BBIBBI”, “Pitiful”, “Boo”, and “Celebrity”, the accuser said, “Many of the songs have the same melody, rhythm, and chord progression as the original sounds. Especially ‘Good Day’ and ‘The Red Shoes’ have a significant similarity even to ordinary listeners.”


It is noteworthy that the accuser is an ordinary person, not an original copyright holder. Plagiarism suspicions surrounding IU have been raised before. In the case of “The Red Shoes”, the song was embroiled in a plagiarism controversy shortly after its release in 2013. It was said to have similarities with Nekta’s “Here’s Us”. Refuting the allegation, IU’s side stated, “Some melodies may sound similar, but the chord progressions of the two songs are completely different”. However, plagiarism suspicions against IU have been posted on Youtube continuously.

Regarding the allegation this time, IU agency firmly emphasized that an investigation into the complaint is underway and announced strong legal responses against malicious commenters and false information spreaders.


In fact, IU’s plagiarism controversy is currently a heated debate among netizens. Some believe that “it’s plagiarism”, while others point out, “such melodies are commonly used”. Based on the statement from IU’s agency, there is also speculation that the issue was raised by haters. Several people actually look into the controversial videos and realize that someone has altered the tempo and key to make them sound like IU’s songs. Meanwhile, others argue that we should not exaggerate facts since the truth has not been confirmed.

Plagiarism allegations have been a hot issue in the music industry for a long time. However, it’s not easy to make an objective and accurate judgment on plagiarism. As a result, most controversies end up unresolved and forgotten. Even if the original copyright owner files a lawsuit for plagiarism, the process takes a long time and the amount of compensation after winning the case is not significant.

An official from the Korean music industry said, “Most famous artists do not pay much attention to the outcome when they are accused of plagiarism. One mention of their name in the plagiarism allegations can significantly damage their image as a popular singer.”

Yoo Hee-yeol

Taking Yoo Hee Yeol’s plagiarism scandal as an example. Last year, Some YouTubers made headlines by raising plagiarism suspicions against Yoo Hee Yeol. Although the musician expressed injustice, the music career he had built for several decades was shaken to its core, regardless of whether the allegations were true or not.

IU is the first female solo artist in Korea to sell out a concert at the Olympic Main Stadium. She has also been an influential singer-songwriter as she has consistently been writing lyrics and composing music for her own albums. Therefore, this controversy is expected to affect her reputation negatively and significantly.


A composer shared, “The use of phrases or melodies of other songs should be criticized by the public, but the behavior of raising suspicions of plagiarism without proper verification is also problematic.”

They continued, “Currently, the legal interpretation regarding plagiarism is still unclear, so the issue of plagiarism is often left to the composer’s conscience. It is also difficult to establish standards regarding plagiarism and standards may be misused”, adding “In general, in song plagiarism-related lawsuits, music industry experts are consulted to analyze various factors such as the atmosphere of the songs and similarities of the main melodies. However, this process is still ambiguous, as the composer’s and the general audience’s judgments of similarity can be different from each other.”

Source: Nate

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