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SBS’ “Running Man” under suspicion of plagiarising a foreign YouTube channel 

Korean media raises suspicion of “Running Man” taking ideas from foreign content. 

As we are in an era of “overflowing contents”, plagiarism is a growing concern. According to TenAsia, suspicions have been raised that SBS’s representative variety show “Running Man” copied the contents of a famous foreign YouTube channel. This is not the first time “Running Man” came under controversy over alleged plagiarism. 


In the May 15th broadcast of “Running Man” broadcast on the 15th, the “1st 1/N Game” was held. Controversy arose over the 5th round, which was introduced as a game inspired by actor Ha Do Kwon. From the lobby, the person who pops his/her own colored balloon along the designated course and uses a dart to pop the final white balloon first will win. Some viewers pointed out that this is very similar to the game format introduced by the Australian YouTube channel “How Ridiculous” with 11 million subscribers.

“How Ridiculous” is a YouTube channel that creates various games by combining unique ideas. The channel gained popularity mainly for game content using balloons. Among them, the game appearing in the video titled “Javelin Balloon Pop Racing Is INTENSE” with 320 million views (as of May 20th) posted in March overlaps with the “Balloon Race” in “Running Man”. 

Running Man

The balloon race in the video of “How Ridiculous” is similar to the one in “Running Man” in the scene where players run on trampolines and pop the balloons one by one by stepping on them with their feet, then using darts to pop more balloons, and that the person who pops the last white balloon becomes the winner. In this regard, SBS said, “We came up with the balloon race by referring to the famous balloon challenge video that we learned through Ha Do Kwon.” 

In fact, it is difficult to claim copyright for simply stepping on and popping balloons. But in the case of Running Man’s “Balloon Race”, the composition of the way the game is played and the order is too similar to “How Ridiculous” to be ignored. The fact that there is no indication of a separate source on “Running Man” adds credibility to the suspicion of the production crew imitating foreign content. 

Running Man

SBS has made a statement regarding the indication of source in their contents. An official from SBS said, “In principle, we never label content such as games introduced in other programs, self-developed, and if there is a copyright, we always leave the source. Regarding the videos, we do not indicate the source of the videos due to concerns that they will be viewed as content promotions.”

SBS is contributing to the global Hallyu wave by producing successful K-entertainment programs. Viewers’ interest and attention also comes with scrutiny, so SBS needs to be more cautious in content production.

Source: Daum

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