MBC refutes ‘Seondeok’ plagiarism allegations

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MBC refutes ‘Seondeok’ plagiarism allegations

The hit TV drama “Queen Seondeok,” which ended last month, made news last month when a writer filed a lawsuit accusing MBC, the drama’s producer, of plagiarism.

In its first public comments about the lawsuit, which was filed by writer Kim Ji-young, producer MBC called the allegations groundless.

“I don’t understand why Kim would make such claims,” said Cho Jung-hyun, the head of MBC’s drama department.

Kim, 34, who is the director of local content provider Great Works, claims that MBC stole elements of the script she wrote in 2005 for a musical she titled “Seondeok, Queen of Mugunghwa.”

She filed a plagiarism lawsuit against MBC on Dec. 31.

“The core plot of the TV drama is almost the same as mine,” said Kim.

But MBC refutes her claim. “We couldn’t find a script by Kim anywhere,” Cho said.

According to Kim, MBC copied several plot devices that she invented for her script. Kim says she invented a story line in which Queen Seondeok clashes with Misil, a power-hungry character, and a romance between Queen Seondeok and Yu-sin, a male protagonist. Kim also asserts that she created a scene in which young Queen Seondeok escapes to the desert. The MBC drama contains all of these plot twists, which are not based on history but which Kim says she invented.

“The rivalry between Queen Seondeok and Misil is not a fact but was my own creation. It wouldn’t be the same if there hadn’t been an act of plagiarism,” Kim said. “I once shared some of my scripts with the Korea Creative Content Agency to attract investment in the musical, and I believe that’s when the content was leaked.”

Kim says she will apply for an injunction for copyright infringement of the musical version of the drama, which is currently playing in theaters.

But MBC has stood firm, and says it will consider filing a lawsuit against Kim if she does not withdraw her lawsuit against them.

“The law will decide who is wrong and who is right, and she can’t avoid her responsibility [for making such statements],” Cho said.

Queen Seondeok recorded an audience share of 40 percent during its run last year, which is rare in the television drama industry.

By Kim Jeen-kyung [so@joongang.co.kr]

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MBC가 인기리에 종영한 MBC 월화극 ‘선덕여왕’에 대해 논란를 제기한 (주)그레잇 웍스 측에 입장을 전했다.

MBC 측은 1월 18일 오전 “‘선덕여왕’표절 문제를 내부적으로 검토한 뒤, 12월 31일 (주)그레잇 웍스(대표 김지영)의 법적대리인에 회신을 했다”고 밝혔다.

이 회신에는 “근거가 없는 허위주장이다”며 “무엇보다 해당 시나리오를 본 사실이 전혀 없고, 존재 자체도 알지 못했다”는 내용이 포함됐다.

또 MBC 측은“게다가 선덕여왕을 주제로 뮤지컬 갈라쇼를 제작했다는 (주) 그레잇웍스의 주장과는 달리, 실제 그 뮤지컬은 공연된바가 없다. 또 그레잇웍스 측이 주장하는 '선덕여왕' 서적 역시 드라마가 방영을 시작한 이후인 2009년 10월 출판했다”고 회신을 통해 말했다.

MBC 측은 이외에도 “드라마 제작에 참여하고 싶다는 그레잇웍스 관계자(김지영 대표)와 만난 것은 사실이지만 기본적인 콘셉트가 달라 일을 할 수 없다는 의사를 전달한바 있다. 또 그 한 차례 만난 것을 빌미로 허위의 주장을 하며 법적 조치를 취하겠다고 협박하는 것은 심각한 명예훼손이다”고 전했다.

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