Extra! Korea

July 22, 2009

MC Mong totally rips off “Rabbit in your Headlights”

Filed under: intellectual property, music — extrakorea @ 10:57 am

First of all, if you haven’t already, you should watch the video of “Rabbit in your Headlights” by Unkle (below), and continue reading when you’re done.

Finished? OK, now look at this video of “Invincible” by MC Mong.

What a freaking rip off. To those who will claim that it’s a parody: How is this funny? No, the farting was not funny. And the part where he headbutts a girl in the face several times is definitely not funny; it’s misogynist. If he weren’t a neanderthal, he’d know that.

Here’s what I think happened. The original video is like literature or an abstract painting. There are different interpretations, all of which require contemplation or deep thinking. One is that the tunnel represents Life. As you journey, some people hit you, some people try to help you, and others yell at you. If you stop worrying about what other people think, and stand up for yourself, then you become immune to hurt.
Another is that this is about the way that the poor/homeless are treated by society, hence the Christ-like pose at the end.
Yet another interpretation is that only when you lose everything are you free to do anything (hence, the taking off of the jacket).
Or the cars could represent the hectic, fast pace of modern life, and the harm it can do to you. Ignore others’ demands to conform to this, and you immunize yourself.
In any case, it’s obvious that Mong is too dull and shallow to to understand it, so he recasts the video in the only way his simple mind can make sense of it: He’s invincible because he’s Superman. It’s like reading Shakespeare rewritten by an idiot, or a copy of one of Michelangelo’s paintings by someone without artistic talent. Go here to see a teaser video in which he makes Native Americans the butt of jokes.
But then again, this is to be expected, since Mong is a “gagman,” a term referring to comedians (to use the term loosely) who specialize in lowbrow slapstick, such as dancing around in women’s clothes or hitting each other with rubber mallets. Mong is a cast member of a so-called “comedy” show in which somebody literally died from the stupidity.

On September 13, 2004, voice (dubbing) artist and 2003 KBS Entertainment Awards Grand Award (Daesang) winner, Jang Jeong Jin (장정진), was recording for The Lord of the Alley (골목의 제왕) segment where he had to eat rice cakes during a game and was later hospitalized. Because of this incident, Jang died a month later (October 11, 2004) due to necrosis (“brain death”) and loss of oxygenation to the brain.

Some Koreans have referred to him as “Korea’s Tupac Shakur.” Yeah. If Tupac were alive. And did lowbrow slapstick comedy. And had no talent. And no brains.

May 3, 2009

South-east Asia keeps on ripping off Korea

Filed under: intellectual property, music — extrakorea @ 1:07 am

In a previous post, I mentioned that a Cambodian group was being sued by the Wonder Girls for intellectual property theft. Now, a Thai group, 7days, have produced a video with dance moves similar to the Wonder Girls’ So Hot and backgrounds similar to those of the videos for Gee and Kissing You, by Girls’ Generation (a.k.a. Seo Nyeo Shi-dae, or SNSD). They even have Korean in the video. Of course, the Korean is “Sa-rang-hae,” or “I love you.” What else would it say? (See the video here.) (source: AllKPop)

I should point out, however, that some recent Korean music videos such as this version of Gee, look like they’ve been very influenced by this teleportation dance video.

Edit/Update:

Speaking of intellectual property theft, on America’s list of violators, South Korea is out, and Canada is in.

After being a long-term expatriate, I’m so out of the loop, regarding what’s happening in my home country. I guess next time I visit, my friends will sport eye-patches and parrots on their shoulders, growling, “Ahoy there, matey. Help us copycat this here Wonder Girls video, or we’ll make you walk the plank.”

(Hat Tip to the Marmot’s Hole and ROK Drop)

Further Update:

You can read the actual report on piracy here. Page Ten is probably of most interest, and it does say that Korea could be placed back on the list if they do not continue to diligently make progress. Stop laughing.
(Hat Tip to Korea Pop Wars)

March 21, 2009

Wonder Girls sue for intellectual property theft

Filed under: celebrities, intellectual property, music, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 11:08 am

The Wonder Girls, one of South Korea’s most popular and successful music groups, plans to fight against plagiarism of its hit, “Nobody,” by groups from Cambodia and other Asian countries.

South Korea’s top female pop group Wondergirls plans to take legal action against several overseas entertainment firms for plagiarizing its hit song “Nobody,” the group’s agent said Friday.

“Several Asian entertainment companies in China, Thailand and Cambodia have been making illegal profits off of ‘Nobody’ by remaking the song without permission and copying the costumes and dance moves. This is going beyond a tolerable level,” Seoul’s JYP Entertainment said in a press release.

(source)
You can see the Wonder Cambodians here (Hat Tip) and you used to be able to see them here, but the footage has been removed.
In a similar way, Chinese companies have made copycat phones of Samsung models (see here, here, here, and here).
This is an example of the shoe being on the other foot. Now that South Korea is, officially, an advanced, developed country, it is increasingly becoming the victim of intellectual property theft by developing nations. However, until recently, it was Korea committing flagrant acts of copyright infringement.
You can find chocolate bars called “Kic Ker,” a blatant copy of the more well-known Kit Kat (see here and here).
Also, there are a few coffee shop chains whose shops and logos look similar to Starbucks (see here and here). Starbucks took Starpreya, the one with the logo most similar to its own, to court. The judge ruled against Starbucks, claiming that the two logos were not similar enough (see here, here, here, and here. (Look at this picture and try to tell me that they don’t look similar. There is also an attempt to explain here.) A Korean newspaper subsequently announced that the nation of Korea had scored a great victory against the foreign barbarians. (However, when one Korean company copied another, they were dealt with appropriately.)
Two sayings come to mind. One is “What goes around comes around.” Let’s see how they feel when other countries steal their ideas and declare victories when their judges rule against them. The other saying is “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Koreans have been very keen, almost obsessed, with becoming a developed country. Let’s see if they enjoy it as much as they imagined.

Edit/Update:

I feel that I should clarify. Aside from sharing the same nationality, the Wonder Girls and Samsung have nothing to do with the people responsible for Starpreya and the Kic Ker chocolate bars. When I said, “Let’s see if they enjoy it …” I was voicing something like a rhetorical question. I didn’t really mean to suggest that I condone having their ideas stolen. However, there has definitely been a mentality of “succeed by any means necessary” here.
I recall a program that aired on the Arirang television channel. Even though it’s supposedly aimed at foreign viewers, most of them can’t stand it due to its laughably ham-fisted propaganda. (For example: Kimchi is healthy, delicious, good for your health, and tastes great. It’s also healthy, prevents SARS, and cures cancer and AIDS.”) This program described the story of the first Korean to produce fiberglass. He went to Japan for a business conference. At the time, he didn’t know, exactly, how to make fiberglass. During a break, he saw a door marked: “Keep out. Authorized personnel only.” He goes in and has a good look at the equipment before the Japanese catch him and scold him. The program lauded him as a hero for committing what basically amounted to industrial espionage.
In Korea, cheating on tests is called “cunning,” and it’s only bad if you are caught, and that’s because you were foolish or careless enough to get caught. If you get away with it, then it proves that you are clever.

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