Sodagreen frontman Wu Ching-feng sued by former mentor

Frontman of Taiwanese band Sodagreen Wu Ching-feng released his first solo album Spaceman this year. PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC

Wu Ching-feng, the frontman of Taiwanese band Sodagreen, has been sued by his former mentor and record label boss Will Lin, who he parted ways with last year to go independent.

Lin is contending that he owns the copyright of 270 songs penned by Wu.

In an exclusive interview with Taiwanese publication Apple Daily, Wu's lawyer says that Wu never handed over the copyright of his songs to Lin, and that the two had only an exclusive licence agreement, which allows for only Lin to use Wu's songs during the period of the agreement.

Wu's lawyer added that the agreement has lapsed since the end of 2018. He also revealed that Lin had asked for a temporary injunction for two of Wu's new songs Singer and As A Monster to be removed from music streaming services, but that the application had been turned down by the Intellectual Property Court in Taiwan.

Taiwanese media reports say that Lin was irked that Wu sang two of Sodagreen's songs during his appearance on Chinese reality television series Singer 2019 without his permission, and made the decision to bring the singer to court.

While Lin has yet to respond to media queries, Sodagreen's leader A-Fu has come out to support Wu in interviews to Taiwanese media, saying: "We believe the creators should be able to sing their own songs."

He added that the group's plans to return to the music scene next year - they took a three-year hiatus in 2017 - will not be swayed by the court case.

Wu, who has kept quiet about the news, seemingly responded to the controversy via an Instagram story, quoting the words of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore: "The world has kissed my soul with its pain, asking for its return in songs."

The six-man Sodagreen were discovered by Lin at the Hohaiyan Rock Festival in 2003. They signed to Lin and began to release music under his label.

The band shot to fame in 2006 with the ballad A Small Love Song (2006) and went on to release hits like Incomparable Beauty (2008) and No Sleep (2009).

They swept the 2016 Golden Melody Awards with their album Winter Endless (2015), which won them Best Band and Best Mandarin Album of the year. Soon after, the band announced a three-year hiatus, from 2017 onwards. They are set to make their return next year.

During the hiatus, Wu was the most high-profile member of the group, collaborating with various artists and releasing his first solo album Spaceman this year. He is set to hold his first solo concert in Taiwan on Nov 23.

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