The battle of the bands is heating up between CNBLUE and Crying Nut.
At first, Crying Nut appeared to have the upper hand over both Mnet and CNBLUE. After all, a third party did take and sell off their original work under a different name. Crying Nut then easily scored Mnet and CNBLUE’s submission. When news about the lawsuit first broke out, Mnet quickly admitted its mistakes and paid up the fine. Shortly afterwards, CNBLUE and FNC Entertainment released their apology in a statement posted on their website. While Crying Nut accepted the first, it has rejected the latter.
“CNBLUE took an AR done by another band and pretended it was their own performance,” said a representative from Crying Nut’s legal team. “The band also edited the performance as their own and deceived consumers by marketing it in a DVD as a ‘cover.’”
The core of the conflict lies with CNBLUE’s 2010 performance on Mnet’s ‘M!Countdown,’ where CNBLUE both lip-synced and hand-synced Crying Nut’s ‘Off Side.’ Crying Nut claims the act a copyrights violation. CNBLUE and FNC Entertainment call it a mistake.
In a statement posted on February 15th, FNC Entertainment wrote, “We admit that it is our inexcusable mistake that our artists were rushed by the heat of live television and took the stage without the full knowledge of the instrumental,”
Following the apology, Crying Nut could’ve withdrew the lawsuit, shared few words of wisdom to their junior band and this legal drama could’ve had a happy ending. The reality, however, is heading into an opposite direction.
Crying Nut accuses FNC’s apology as a way of hiding behind the mass public. It says they did not receive any word from either CNBLUE or FNC Entertainment directly.
“We don’t want to a procedural apology. We want CNBLUE to sincerely regret taking another person’s work as their own,” said Crying Nut.
So should CNBLUE kneel down before Crying Nut and cry a river?
Under the given circumstances, CNBLUE is correctly doing their job. As a rookie back in 2010, CNBLUE had no choice but to do whatever they were told to do. And that unfortunate reality applies even now.
As for CNBUE, they are still categorized as an idol band. They were put together under a management company, debuted into the major K-pop scene, are expected to adhere to the silent rules in the K-pop world, and to the eyes of many, they are still kids. Therefore, whether it be apologizing to Crying Nut or making excuses, acting independently of the FNC Entertainment would do them more harm than good.
As for FNC Entertainment, the company prides itself as a parent to ‘idol bands.’ And as of lately, it seems to favor the first word of the brand than the second part. Thus naturally, it follows after other idol agencies such as SM Entertainment and JYP. When faced with scandal or legal troubles, it turns to the ultimate weapon only available to the major world: the media. (As for the lack of objectivity in Korean media’s coverage of the legal dispute…that’s going to require a separate blog entry another day).
Crying Nut is suing CNBLUE and FNC Entertainment for $40,000 (USD). If it wins the case, the indie rock band says it plans to donate the money to support and protect indie bands. It emphasizes over and over that its main intention isn’t “noise marketing, to make money or block a successful band’s future.” Instead, it “hopes to create a protective and fair environment for musicians.”
If that’s true and this incident with CNBLUE is meant to set an example, Crying Nut has picked the wrong target. The last thing CNBLUE would ever want is to intrude on musicians’ freedom. They’ve been fighting for their own for the past three years. And their newest album, ‘Re:BLUE’ is the symbol of their first breakout.
It’s a clash between the big name in the underground world and a growing name in the major world. It’s even laughable that there can be a clash between the two entities. But here we have it, and it doesn’t appear it’s going to end anytime soon.
I can only pray that CNBLUE members do not be haunted by their past through this ordeal and only march ahead to the future that they’ve envisioned since the beginning.
And as for Crying Nut, once a senior is always a senior. Instead of trying to teach a lesson the hard way, why not be an understanding parent figure and let it go? If anyone deserves a punishment, it’s not the artists themselves. Instead, it’s the unfair reality of the K-pop world and the media and management corporations that control it.
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