Seoul Central District Court has decided that a doll being sold by a company, “doesn’t give the impression of Psy’s character” enough to infringe upon the interests of Psy’s management company, YG Entertainment.
YG Entertainment filed a lawsuit against the company, saying, “Other than the commercial use of sound chip for the song, the company distributed the character doll of Psy without proper legal permission, and in doing so, it infringed upon the interest of YG Entertainment who otherwise could have made commercial interest.” In their opinion, the Psy-looking doll violated Psy’s portrait and publicity rights.
When Psy’s “Gangnam style” rose to enormous popularity in 2012, the doll manufacturing company in question began to produce and the Psy-looking doll which dances to the song. At the time, the company paid the royalty for “Gangnam style” to YG Entertainment, embedding a sound chip into the doll.
The doll sports dark sunglasses, a tweaked corner of the mouth and a glittering gold vest which, at first sight, looks very much like the invisible-pony-riding man we all know and love.
The court, however, reached a different verdict. “The look of the stuffed doll doesn’t give the impression of Psy’s character,” said Judge Lee Min-soo at Seoul Central District Court on February 17, ruling against the plaintiff YG Entertainment.
The judge asserted, “In order for portrait rights violation to be accepted, the product concerned should be identical to or similar with the character of the celebrity concerned. Whether or not the dancing Psy doll actually reminds [a person] of Psy depends on the eye of the beholder.”
The court also dismissed the violation of publicity rights on the grounds that it can be sufficiently protected by portrait rights.
What do you think of the ruling? Does the doll look enough like Psy to you?