Most fans interested in K-Pop music are at least aware of the legal issues taking place between FIFTY FIFTY, the rookie group behind the smash hit “Cupid,” and their label, ATTRAKT.
As time has passed, more details about the conflict between the various powers involved with the group have been revealed, leaving some confused over what exactly is happening.
For those wanting to catch up, here is a timeline of the ongoing conflict’s major parts.
Debut to Viral Hit
FIFTY FIFTY made their debut in November 2022, gaining praise for their initial release, though it did not achieve widespread attention. In February 2023, the group released The Beginning: Cupid, featuring the title track “Cupid” in Korean and English.
Following a fan-made sped-up version going viral on TikTok, the group’s song entered the Billboard 100 as the English and Korean versions were used by content creators worldwide, only increasing its popularity.
The group also became the second Korean act to land on the Adult Pop Airplay chart.
In late April, the group were hit with plagiarism allegations, though their label, ATTRAKT denied the claims.
Due to their success, the group were in high demand — they were one of the artists announced to be attending KCON LA 2023 and are featured on the Barbie soundtrack with their song “Barbie Dreams.”
Legal Troubles Begin
In late June, ATTRAKT and its CEO Jung Heung Joon accused “outside forces,” including Warner Music Korea, of attempting to “poach” the group from the label, though the company denied the claims in a statement.
During this time, an attempt was made to close FIFTY FIFTY’s fan site as ATTRAKT sued “Cupid” producer Ahn Sung Il (also known as SIAHN), CEO of The Givers, claiming they bought the copyrights to the song while purchasing it from a foreign composer.
Hello, this is ATTRAKT.
We would like to inform you about the attempted shutdown of the official FIFTY FIFTY fan café that occurred at around 3pm today. pic.twitter.com/4SlHDUciqx
— FIFTY FIFTY Official (@we_fiftyfifty) June 27, 2023
At this time, It was also announced that FIFTY FIFTY filed a lawsuit against ATTRAKT to have their contracts suspended on June 19, with many K-Netizens reacting coldly towards the entire matter.
Dispatch’s Initial Revelations
Days after the initial lawsuit announcement, Dispatch released all the details behind FIFTY FIFTY’s formation, how the group was funded, and what the copyrights for the song look like. It was revealed that more than 95% of the song’s royalties would go to Ahn Sung Il and The Givers.
It was also reportedly revealed that The Givers previously tried to sell FIFTY FIFTY without ATTRAKT’s knowledge, confirming the previous claims. The Korean public supported ATTRAKT’s CEO, referring to the group as “Backstabbing Idols.”
Due to the ongoing legal issues, FIFTY FIFTY’s Barbie promotions were canceled, among other endorsements. The first trial took place on July 5, the same day it was alleged that FIFTY FIFTY’s parents filed a trademark for the group’s name in Korean.
FIFTY FIFTY’s lawyer accused ATTRAKT of incompetence and asked for proof of the spending done on the group, in addition to proving the grew signed with ATTRAKT and Star Crew Ent, the entity that signed a distribution deal with Interpark. Also included was how the company treated member Aran after her surgery, allegedly wanting her to work too soon.
This argument fell apart after Interpark revealed that the money given to ATTRAKT had nothing to do with FIFTY FIFTY and that the group wasn’t bound to pay back the money.
In another shocking bombshell, Dispatch claimed that Ahn Sung Il forged the signatures of the songwriters of “Cupid” to transfer the copyright to himself, amid other lies about his education and work experience.
It was also shared that at this time FIFTY FIFTY were in danger of being blacklisted as their royalties from the song were withheld due to a decision made by the Korean Music Copyright Association.
Most Recent Updates
ATTRAKT was able to block any outside attempts at copywriting the group’s stylized name by filing the trademarks itself, winning them in the United States, the U.K., Japan, and China.
On August 1, it was reported that the 50th District of Seoul’s Central Court had referred the idols’ case to a mediation court, where a solution would be the focus rather than a ruling given by a judge. Though this would allow for the case to resolve much quicker, allowing FIFTY FIFTY to recover the momentum “Cupid” gave them, hopefully.
Stay tuned for more updates.