On Friday, a Seoul court turned down an American composer over his plagiarism allegations from two years ago against the South Korean’s song “Baby Shark” producer.
The claim of Johny Only, a composer based in New York, was rejected by the Seoul Central District Court. Only alleged the South Korean education SmartStudy to have copied his 2011 song in its famous “Baby Shark” song released in 2015.
The “Baby Shark” which features a family of sharks in search of smaller sea creatures became an Internet hit not only in South Korea but in several parts of the world. The sing-and-dance video became viral and has gathered more than nine billion views on YouTube.
With his legal name Jonathan Wright, Only brought up a lawsuit in March 2019 with the Seoul court. He said that his “Baby Shark” remade in 2011, which contained a specific rhythm to an orally transmitted folk song, was plagiarized in South Korea.
SmartStudy, however, denied his claim. According to the South Korea-based startup, the “Baby Shark” song was a remake of a traditional North American children’s song containing no valid copyrights.
Last month, Only’s party said it wanted to draw back its lawsuit through a legal representative here, which was disagreed upon by SmartStudy.
If the plaintiff intends to withdraw the case, a local court has to settle a verdict.
“The Korea Copyright Commission asked to review the case and said it is difficult to acknowledge that the plaintiff’s song added a new creative element to the traditional song,” according to the court, as reported by Yonhap News Agency.
“Even if the plaintiff’s song is recognized for creativity as a new work, it is difficult to view that the defendant violated the plaintiff’s copyright,” it said.