A South Korean webtoon is under fire as it is accused of plagiarism and for using artificial intelligence. The webtoon, The Knight King Who Returned With a God, has allegedly plagiarised Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation since the works share multiple similarities.
The lead character of the webtoon, Leon, bears a striking resemblance toMushoku Tensei’s Rudeus Greyrat. Moreover, certain panels of the webtoon seem to replicate those from theMushoku Tensei manga. Another character also looks uncannily similar to Groot from Marvel’sGuardians of the Galaxy.
The controversy was furthered flamed by allegations that the webtoon used AI for its production. The creators of the webtoon, Blue Line Studios, admitted to using AI but only final adjustments on the finished artwork. They explained that they do not use AI to generate artwork, only to improve it. Unfortunately, the modifications led to the duplication of the panels.
Blue Line Studios profusely apologised and reuploaded the webtoon without the AI-generated alterations. Furthermore, they have pledged to not use AI in the future production of The Knight King and expressed their commitment to preserving their works’ integrity.
However, this scandal has already impacted the webtoon’s performance as well as the reputation of South Korean manhwas. The first chapter of the webtoon received a viewer review score of 1.91 on Wednesday with only a slight improvement to 1.98 by Friday. It received the lowest score among all chapters on the Naver Webtoons website.
This incident has also tarnished the credibility of the entire manhwa industry. Readers are now questioning their originality and authenticity. The usage of AI for creative projects is under scrutiny too. Netizens consider it a form of plagiarism since AI generates content by utilising preexisting works. Truly, this shift to AI-generated creative projects poses ethical challenges regarding the theft of intellectual property.
The readers have expressed their disdain towards the creators and are calling for stricter regulations regarding the use of AI. They demand greater accountability for the theft of artwork. Following this, Naver Webtoons is planning on setting up more severe guidelines to avoid AI-generated content. Instead of discussing what AI can be used for, they are heavily discouraging its use altogether. The matter is currently under review.
Also Read | AI invades Marvel’s Secret Invasion opening sequence
The increasing use of AI in creative industries has led to massive outrage among consumers. They are condemning creators for depriving talented individuals of job opportunities. Many dread the impact of artificial intelligence on creative industries in the years to come.