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Friday, September 04, 2009
[Lawsuit] Idols Afflicted By Long-term Contract
6:19 PM

A round up of the court case against SM Entertainment

Coverage for the past 1 month disbandment crisis issue for Korean male group, TVXQ. Shouldering the responsibility of bringing attention to Korean music, and taking on the role as the Stars of Asia, with their singing ability and diverse dances in K-POP. [Seoul Nishiwaki Shiniti, Nakayama Hiroshi]

According to the Korean media reports on the disbandment crisis, 3 out of 5 members filed for a provisional disposition with the Seoul Central District Court, against their company, seeking to terminate their exclusive long-term contract.

“Used as a tool by the company to the point of exhaustion”,”The 13 year exclusive contract is actually a life-long contract” — Yuchun (23), Junsu (22) and Jejung (23), in a document presented by their lawyers, said that their plight is a long and winding road. It has been 5 years since their debut in 2004, and they criticized the “one-sided schedule management” and long-term exclusive contract.

Also, it was exposed that up to February this year, that only if their album sales hit over 500,000 copies, will they be paid 10,000,000 Won (roughly ¥750,000) each when they release their next album.

Their company argued that they “have been in the red since their debut. The revenue division have also been amended and even gave them luxury cars as a bonus”, and that they will have no group schedules planned in Korea for now.

This lawsuit also affected the company’s stock prices, and representatives of the fans said that “the office is violating the human rights of the members”, and a petition battle took place outside the National Human Rights Commission where they collected 120,000 signatures and submitted the petition to the National Human Rights Commission.

A Seoul entertainment reporter explained that, “There are many cases in Korea where idols are made to sign over 10 year contracts with their companies.” Talents that can sell and are independent frequently change management companies. However, for “idols”, they will age, and as their 2 years of compulsory military service is not included in the contract, this 13 year contract is more like a “lifetime contract”.

On 21 August, on the first day of the proceedings at the Seoul Central District Court, the court recommended settlement. Both parties “do not want them to disband”. The entertainment reporter from previously also said, “The earnings from Japan is complicated and the chances of disbandment is 7 to 3.” (T/N: Unsure about this particular line)

So far, Tohoshinki have a record of having 6 of their works on the top spot of the Oricon Weekly Singles Ranking. The first foreign artist with so many successful number ones.

Hazime Katsu, an entertainment reporter, said, “Tohoshinki’s existence in Japan is something like SMAP. They had a sudden explosion of popularity in Japan even though their relationship with their company turned sour, and I was surprised to hear that the Korean management is so streamlined.”

Tohoshinki’s management company in Japan, AVEX Entertainment, said in a press release that, “from what the Korean side said, ‘basically (3 of) the members and the law firms have said that they will carry out their Japanese activities.’”

From the 5th onwards, please expect the sale of their [Miniature CD Collection] and from the 9th, their CM for tablet candy will go on air.

Source: [mainichi.jp]
Translation credits: mandasoh@tohosomnia.net

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