The news that the popular webtoon God of Bath has been illegally produced as a film in China has sparked a huge controversy. The film in question is Bath Buddy, which was released on Dec 11.
According to the content production company Moonwatcher, they have been preparing to adapt God of Bath as a joint Korean-Chinese film and drama for the past five years. The film was in talks to be co-produced with Wanda Group, a major Chinese investment company, from 2018, and hired Surprise director Jiaoshou Yi Xiaoxing in July the same year.
But then last year October, Wanda suddenly pulled out of the production, saying that the final investment contract became impossible due to internal issues. And director Jiaoshou Yi Xiaoxing unilaterally registered the webtoon-adapted scenario as his own work and started producing it himself. His statement is that there is no problem since the title was changed from “God of Bath” to “Bath Buddy” and that much of the original story has been changed.
Moonwatcher has asked Wanda and the director to resolve the copyright issue several times, and in April, both sides agreed to resolve this issue and proposed Moonwatcher to come up with an agreement. However, when Moonwatcher was preparing for the agreement, the company figured out that the director had already finished filming the film and was working on the post-production.
When Moonwatcher demanded an explanation, Wanda climbed, “We are no longer affiliated with Bath Buddy,” and the director appointed a lawyer and delivered messages, saying, “The copyright for the film has no legal problems. Talk to my attorney from now on.”
NAVER Webtoon and Moonwatched tried to resolve the issues, but all contact was refused, and eventually, Bath Buddy was released on Dec 11.
“We will proceed with lawsuits against director Jiaoshou Yi Xiaoxing and Wanda Company, including professional negligence and copyright violations,” said Moonwatcher. “This case has to come to a fruitful ending for the cultural exchange and relationship between Korea and China.”