Before I get into the really enraging developments in this Lee Seungchul remake incident, let’s recap what has happened so far.
- On May 29th, XIA Junsu’s ‘I’m in Love/사랑하나봐’ was broadcast on an episode of an SBS drama. The lyrics were nearly identical, yet the song was by another singer.
- Immediately after the broadcast, articles were released and tweets from Lee Seungchul’s official account said that this is Lee Seungchul’s new song for the drama’s OST. Even the name of the song was kept the same, yet the song was promoted as if it’s a brand new song by Lee Seungchul, to the point that many articles said ‘Lee Seungchul’s voice gave life to this new song’. There was no mention of the original singer, XIA Junsu, at all. Of course, fans questioned the suspicious nature of this song’s release.
- The following day on May 30th, a twitter account that appears to be Lee Seungchul’s official twitter for managing his schedule and PR, @official_LSC, sent direct messages to many XIA Junsu fans as well as non-fans.
- In the DMs, the person(s) behind @official_LSC lied that 1. XIA Junsu’s ‘I’m in Love’ was originally titled ‘Lonely’ and considered for Lee Seungchul’s 2012 album and threatened fans to ‘Stay put, otherwise it will be revealed that XIA Junsu stole a sunbae’s song’. However, this was proved to be untrue with CJES Entertainment’s official announcement and Lee Seungchul’s company confirmed to fans who called them that it was their side that asked XIA Junsu’s side to produce the remake.
- After sending the slanderous and threatening DMs, @official_LSC played victim and publicly tweeted lies that ‘XIA Junsu is already named as the original singer in articles, so what’s the problem? Lee Seungchul’s side let XIA Junsu’s side know about the remake and received permission.” At that time, majority of articles did not state that XIA Junsu is the original singer and by saying that Lee Seungchul’s side asked for permission to do the remake, they are contradicting their own earlier lies that ‘I’m in Love’ was considered for Lee Seungchul’s album. Besides, if it was indeed titled ‘Lonely’ before, then why did he release the song with the exact same title and almost identical lyrics as XIA Junsu’s ‘I’m in Love’?
- Fans called Lee Seungchul’s company and requested for clarification and an apology. The company said they do not know about the situation and will find out what happened, but the account is not managed by them. However, Lee Seungchul himself followed this account and retweeted from it before this all happened so in all aspects, it appears to be an official representation of Lee Seungchul. After this incident, Lee Seungchul unfollowed @official_LSC.
- CJES releases their official stances, stating that they had no issue with giving Lee Seungchul permission to do the remake but the original agreement was that the song would be officially released on June 5th. However, the song was prematurely revealed during the May 29th episode of the SBS drama and as there was no mention of XIA Junsu as the original singer in media releases, CJES protested to the OST production company and composer (not Lee Seungchul’s company). Read CJES Entertainment’s full announcement here.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS (6.16)
- Even though his company repeatedly told fans calling in that they would find out about the situation, Lee Seungchul appeared on public radio on June 16th and while talking about his remake of ‘I’m in Love’, he snidely stated: “XIA Junsu’s fans made a huge fuss saying that I stole their oppa’s song”. Immediately after he said that, articles were released with that quote. When XIA Junsu fans asked for his company to state the original singer as XIA Junsu, his company did not do anything.
- A post that Lee Seungchul wrote himself on his fancafe on June 4th was discovered. In the post, he said things like
- “You guys must be having a hard time being pestered by XIA Junsu’s fans right?” – No, it was actually his people/fans who were threatening XIA Junsu fans via DM.
- “[When making a remake] you can let the other party know first but it’s not absolutely necessary.” – False. Remaking a song that has already been released is legally called ‘cover version’. Permission must be received from the copyright holder for a cover version to be made, and the copyright holder and original title must be named in the remake album. If not, then it is deemed as plagiarism. As ‘I’m in Love” is registered with the Korea Music Copyright Association under XIA Junsu’s name (see above), Lee Seungchul must ask for XIA Junsu’s permission. He made it sound like a favour, when in fact it was legally necessary to ask for permission.
- “I’ve made a lot of remakes in my 20 years as a singer but only XIA Junsu’s fans are being sensitive about it. When Lee Seunggi released a remake of my song, he didn’t say that it was a remake of my song either. This is the customary rule.” – There is a fundamental difference here as Lee Seunggi’s released his remake of Lee Seungchul’s song on a remake album. His whole entire album was of remakes and therefore Lee Seunggi never claimed the song as his own like Lee Seungchul did. If you search for articles, there are even articles that state that it’s a Lee Seungchul remake, so he is lying.
- (in a sarcastic tone) “They made XIA Junsu’s ‘I’m in Love’ number one online, and that’s wiser…” – This does not excuse you from passing off a remake song as your own. As a sunbae, is it not embarrassing to try and steal a hoobae’s song?
- Lee Seungchul then updated his personal twitter account with the following: “I said it while laughing but people are so agitated… exactly who are you being agitated at?” and “[You are] making it so that Junsu and I will never be able to meet…What a shame” – This man who has debuted for 30 years as a huge sunbae in the industry seems to think that laughter while uttering lies makes everything alright. That in itself is something to shake my head at. It was this man’s side who tried to pass off a remake as an original song, broke agreements and then lied about XIA Junsu fans on public radio. Who really is making it so that you and XIA Junsu can’t meet? Think about it. You don’t have to think for long.
As many people already know, this is not the first time Lee Seungchul has had a run in with the law. He was sued for defamation and illegal usage of songs previously, and yet it appears that he has learned nothing about humility from that experience. Additionally, he backstabbed and bit Kim Taewon (legendary leader of Boohwal), the hand that raised him, more than once.
Since day 1 of this incident, fans just wanted for Lee Seungchul’s song to not be promoted like a brand new song and that articles would mention that this is a remake of XIA Junsu’s song. For fans to even have to make this request was mind-blowing, as any self-respecting singer who has basic courtesy and care for the custom in Korea would have had the manners to acknowledge the original singer. Additionally, from CJES’s announcement, we can see that it was agreed upon that XIA Junsu would be recognized as the original singer as a condition of Lee Seungchul receiving permission to do the remake, yet Lee Seungchul’s side/the OST production company did NOT honour that promise. His fans then slandered XIA Junsu and threatened XIA Junsu’s fans while putting on a fake victim act in public, and Lee Seungchul himself ended up following his fans’ example. Not once did he mention his fans’ crude actions. I guess this is a perfect representation of the phrase ‘like idol, like fan’. And just for the record, XIA Junsu fans were even introduced to the Mayor of Seoul as ‘the singer with the most sensible fans’, but as Elie Wiesel says, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Nobody can take this level of injustice sitting down.
Parts of this post were taken from DNBN. Opinions are my own.