June 15, 2011 10:58 am

Victoria songwriter compensated after melodies plagiarized by South Korean pop star

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A Victoria singer-songwriter says she has received a cash settlement after her song was plagiarized by a South Korean pop star.

Georgia Murray, 27, said singer Hyori Lee based her song, Swing, on melodies lifted from Murray’s composition We’ll Never Know.

Swing, released on Lee’s 2010 album H-Logic, was a chart-topping hit in Korea.

"They renamed it. They thought they could get away with it. They did not," Murray said.

She said MNet Media, a Seoul-based entertainment company, acknowledged 25 per cent of Swing uses Murray’s melodies. Last week, Murray received a undisclosed sum from MNet in compensation.

As part of the legal agreement, Murray cannot disclose the amount of the settlement, although she added: "It is not that high." The money has allowed her to fund her own website, buy studio equipment and record a self-produced EP, Just a Dream, to be released online on June 24. The recording includes We’ll Never Know.

"It’s taken a year to get it all finalized, back and forth with the Korean lawyers," Murray said. Complicating matters was the fact We’ll Never Know samples a Greek song, To Treno Fevgi Stis Okto.

The Korean media has widely reported that a number of the compositions on H-Logic are plagiarized. Lee’s songs are said to bear similarities to those by Canadian artists Cookie Couture, Melanie Durrant and Lil’ Precious as well as American and British songwriters. Her songs were credited to a Korean songwriting collaborative, Bahnus Vacuum, headed by composer Lee Jae-Young.

Murray said she’s not sure how her song would have reached Lee in the first place, although it is accessible online.

She was unaware of the controversy until MNet Media contacted her. After consulting with her lawyer, she accepted the company’s settlement offer.

A graduate of the Canadian School of Performing Arts, Murray’s work has appeared on TV’s Boston Legal and she has sung the national anthem at Madison Square Garden for New York Knicks and New York Rangers games. She has sung with The Canadian Tenors and opened for Jurassic 5 and k-os .

Murray will perform Saturday at the Vancouver Island Music Business Conference in Courtney and at Vancouver’s Plaza of Nations on Aug. 27.

Click here to listen to Murray’s song, We’ll Never Know

Click here to listen to Lee’s song, Swing

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