[BBANGYA NEWS｜Joan Park] The webtoonist of ‘True Beauty’ is facing backlash over publicity right infringement.
Netizens earlier pointed out the shocking resemblance between Cha Eunwoo(A member of ASTRO) and Lee Suho, Kwon Hyunbin(JBJ) and Han Seojun. In some scenes, the characters are almost identical to the K-pop celebrities in terms of outfit and gesture. According to some fans, the webtoonist is merely tracing the photos of the celebrities rather than creating her own characters, hence publicity right infringement. The webtoonist rebutted, saying “These celebrities whom I referenced actually said ‘amazing’ and ‘fun’ to me. I would have been sued if my webtoon violated any law. As for the publicity right infringement, to whom do I have to pay? Hyunbin? ZICO?”
Although tracing is a commonly used technique in cartoons and comics, the range is quite wide: while there is ‘soft tracing’ where a cartoonist ‘refers’ photos, ‘bold tracing’ means drawing exactly the same image, pose or scene as existing photos and person.
An industry insider said “some webtoonists who traced concept photos of artists or pictorials were actually sued for copyright infringement” and that the industry needs a new direction that can promote originality and legality.