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Producers Of 'The Face Reader' File Lawsuit Against 'The King's Face' Drama

BY Julie Jones | Aug 25, 2014 11:13 AM EDT

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It's not unusual for films to inspire a drama version of the same story. But the makers of the hit film "The Face Reader" have filed an injunction against the producers of the drama "The King's Face" in Seoul District Court. Jupiter Films is requesting that production be halted on the KBS drama, citing a violation of copyright.

Kangho, the legal firm representing "The Face Reader," says that the drama plagiarizes the film's story.

The film tells the story of a face reader, a man who determines a person's character and future based on facial features, and how he changes the political future of King Suyang. The 2013 film starred Song Kang Ho, Lee Jung Jae and Lee Jong Suk. The award-winning film is one of the most-viewed Korean films of all time.

"The King's Face" also features a face reader but it is set in another time period. This face reader helps Prince Gwanghee determine his royal destiny. Seo In Guk and Lee Sung Jae are up for the roles of the prince and the king.

KBS has not yet given an official statement on the issue, saying it will do so when the network knows exactly what it is dealing with. It is not plagiarism to write about the same subject but the issue is whether or not the script of "The King's Face" borrows from the script of "The Face Reader." Both can use the same source material but the film may not be used to create a drama script unless the film's production company authorizes it. Both scripts will be compared to see if there are common features.

According to Kangho representatives, Jupiter Films always intended to produce a drama series based on the film and met with KBS executives to discuss creating a TV series. The film company gave the drama production company a script to look at. Negotiations fell through because KBS and Jupiter Films could not agree on terms.

Jupiter Films also published a novelization of the film in 2013.

According to an article in the Korea Herald, Kangho says it is more than a coincidence that the drama has so many plot similarities. And the film company said they even talked about using writer Lee Hyang Hee for the drama. Lee Hyang Hee is working on "The King's Face."

Also the film company cited what they called an unwritten rule in drama production, saying you can't produce dramas about the same people and subject matter within the same time frame.

 "The King's Face" was due to replace "Iron Man" in November.

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