"Let It Go"? Chinese Internet Users Complain Beijing Winter Olympics Song Copies 'Frozen' Anthem

Elsa Frozen - H 2014
Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Elsa Frozen - H 2014

Similarities between the two songs highlight ongoing copyright protection issues in China.

The tinkling piano, the fragile but defiant tone, the breathy build-up to the soaring chorus — is it the ubiquitous "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen?

Or is it "Dancing on the Ice and Snow," one of the 10 official ditties competing to become the theme song for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing?

Chinese Internet users are up in arms in their belief that the Beijing 2022 theme song contender, sung by Sun Nan and Tan Jing, is a copy of "Let It Go," belted out by Idina Menzel's Elsa in Frozen.

"They are very wise, in that they have changed everything they can. However, the music and the rhythm are really similar. You will think it is "Let It Go" if you take out the voice," wrote Baobao Boey on Sina Weibo.

The similarities were first pointed out on the website of the business magazine Caijing, but the post was taken down subsequently.

Wo shi ni said: "The more I listen to it, the more I feel I'm losing face. Let's not say it is a copy, but an adaptation instead."

A mashup video on YouTube (banned in China) certainly seems to highlight remarkable similarities between the Disney song and the Winter Olympics anthem.

Beijing 2022 isn't having the best of times, even without the Frozen controversy. The decision to make Beijing the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics has been criticized overseas, with activists complaining that China has not done enough to improve its human rights record and sports fans complaining that there is not enough snow around Beijing in the winter to hold a winter sports event.

The attacks on the theme song highlight China's poor record on copyright protection. While major advances have been made in recent years, piracy remains rampant.

Last month cinemas had to ax animated toon The Autobots because it looked like a straight ripoff of Pixar's Cars franchise, even though the director claimed to have never seen the movie.

Xiamen Blue Flame Television Animation told local media it thought it was an original creation, but even a casual glance at the two characters shows similarities.

Dai Guoping, vice president of the Shanghai cinema chain Yonghua, told the Shanghai Daily the movie was ditched because "the quality was very bad" and admitted there was also a copyright battle looming.

sequel to 2013's Frozen, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide, is currently in the works.

A side-by-side comparison of the two songs is below. How close do you think it is?