The Korea Herald


Jupiter prepares legal battle against KBS for alleged plagiarism of ‘The Face Reader’

By Chung Joo-won

Published : Aug. 25, 2014 - 17:43

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Jupiter Films, the producer of the epic film “The Face Reader” (2013), filed a provisional injunction action against state-run broadcaster KBS 2TV over a violation of intellectual property rights.

Kangho, the legal representative of Jupiter Films, issued a press release on Monday, alleging that KBS’ upcoming epic television series “The King’s Face” breaches intellectual property rights. The provisional injunction request was submitted to the Seoul Central District Court.

The law firm claimed that the aim of the provisional injunction request was to protect Jupiter’s intellectual property rights and fair trade against the defendants, broadcaster KBS Media and drama producer KBS Media. The controversial 24-episode drama “The King’s Face” is scheduled to air from November.

KBS has not yet issued an official statement about the legal dispute. “We have not yet been given the official statement to issue,” a KBS spokesperson said, suggesting that the managers remain undecided over the issue.

A legal battle seems inevitable if Jupiter and KBS fail to reach an agreement on the upcoming drama. 

The official poster of the film “The Face Reader” (2013) The official poster of the film “The Face Reader” (2013)

The bones of contention are whether KBS referred to the script of the film “The Face Reader” when creating the screenplay of “The King’s Face,” and whether the two works have verifiable common features that make it possible to prove that the film is the original source of the upcoming television drama.

In the press release, Kangho alleged that in December 2010, Jupiter adopted the “one-source-multi-use strategy,” creating a script that could be adapted into three different forms -- a novel, a movie and an epic television series -- as the property rights owner of the original work. The novel “The Face Reader,” consisting of two volumes, was published in fall of 2013 on the sidelines of the movie’s launch.

Kangho insisted that Jupiter and KBS had meetings to discuss the television series of the work, but the deal fell through as the two failed to reach an agreement. In the process, Jupiter gave the script and the printed proposal on the drama version of “The Face Reader” to KBS to review.

In addition, Kangho claimed that KBS’ drama has many of the same plot features and characteristics that cannot be interpreted as merely incidental. The drama’s production staff, too, turned out to be the same crew that Jupiter initially offered the job to at the time it discussed producing the drama with KBS, Kangho added.

“The Face Reader,” starring Song Gang-ho, Lee Jung-jae, Baek Yoon-sik, Kim Hye-soo and Lee Jong-suk, launched in cinemas in September 2013. The film attracted some 9.1 million viewers, raking in 66 billion won ($65 million) in box office sales and securing a spot among the top 10 most-viewed Korean films.

By Chung Joo-won (