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Court rules S. Korean movie 'Assassination' not plagiarism

All News 11:24 April 14, 2016

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- A district court ruled Thursday that a domestic action film featuring colonial-era assassination attempts by Korean independence fighters did not plagiarize a local novel.

The Seoul Central District Court dismissed a suit filed by Choi Jong-rim, seeking 10 billion won (US$8.7 million) in compensation against director Choi Dong-hoon, production company Caper Film Co. and the 2015 film's distributor Showbox.

The novelist said some scenes in the film are similar to his novel, "Corean Memories," including one that independence fighters raid a place where Japan and its collaborators have secret meetings.

The book was first published in 2003 and published again in April 2015.

The court, while acknowledging similarities in abstract types of characters and plots between the two, said they still have a lot of differences in how those ideas are specified and expressed.

"Incidents or abstract types of characters in novels, films, scenarios and plays cannot be protected under the copyright law," the court said. "Similarities in specific expressions should be acknowledged (to be called a production plagiarism)."

The same court in August also rejected a request by Choi to keep the film from being screened. It said many of the parts Choi claimed as plagiarism, including a female sniper and assassination schemes, are plots that cannot be protected by the copyright law.

Choi said he would appeal the ruling.

The film, which tells the story of three Korean independence fighters teaming up to assassinate the commander of the Japanese troops in Korea in the early 1930s, passed 12 million in attendance in the country, making it the sixth-most successful South Korean film.


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