One of K-Pop’s highest profile and longest running management disputes has finally come to an end.
JYJ, a boy band that was formed in January 2010 after three members of TVXQ, better known as Dong Bang Shin Ki, broke away, and their former management agency, SM Entertainment, accepted an injunction on Wednesday by the Seoul Central District Court dropping all legal filings between the two sides.
In July 2009, Kim Jae-joong, Kim Jun-su, and Park Yu-chun of 5-member TVXQ filed a suit against the agency, arguing that their 13-year contract with SM was too long given the relatively short career of an entertainer. They also claimed that income was tilted too favorably toward management.
In October that year, the court ruled in favor of the three singers and nullified the contract. In response, SM filed a suit in April 2010 objecting to the ruling and demanding compensation. The three singers filed a counter suit and also demanded compensation. All claims will now be dropped.
The dispute shocked K-Pop fans at home and abroad unused to the less glamorous side of K-Pop and sparked media coverage of the grittier aspects of the business, including so-called “slave contracts,” harsh schedules and unscrupulous managers who cheat on trainees.
Neither JYJ or SM Entertainment could be immediately reached for comment. Paek Chang-ju, the chief executive officer of JYJ’s current management company, C-Jes Entertainment, said in a press release yesterday that the dispute “offered a decisive moment to improve unfair practices that have existed in the entertainment industry.”
The government and entertainment industry groups have acknowledged that there’s work to be done to reform unfair practices.
In May, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it would tidy up some of the messiness in the industry and filter out unqualified managers with criminal records. Last month, the Fair Trade Commission set up guidelines of fair trade for management, trainees and production companies.
It remains to be seen how much those legally non-binding guidelines will help fix the problems.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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