|JYJ performs at Caupolican Theatre in Santiago, Chile, on March 9, 2012.|
/ Korea Times
By Choi Kyong-ae
The boy band JYJ is free to appear back on stage.
The Fair Trade Commission, Korea's antitrust regulator, said Wednesday that it has punished SM Entertainment and an entertainment business lobby group for unfair practices against entertainers, including the JYJ.
SM Entertainment, one of the country's three major management agencies, continued to interrupt entertainment activities of JYJ after the boy band filed a suit against the agency in July 2009, arguing their 13-year contract with SM was too long and that income was tilted unfairly toward management.
Legal disputes between the two sides finally came to an end late last year after rounds of counter suits. Seoul Central District Court warned SM and the Korea entertainment industry association that they would face fines if they make the same interruptive action against JYJ.
"Separately from the court ruling, the FTC has ordered SM and the association not to get involved in any interruption from now on," an FTC official told The Korea Times. "This is a legally binding order they should abide by it."
JYJ was formed when Kim Jae-joong, Kim Jun-su, and Park Yu-chun broke away from the 5-member TVXQ, better known as Dong Bang Shin Ki, in June 2009.
In its major interruptive activities, SM joined forces with the association to send a letter to major broadcasting companies asking them to block JYJ from performing. This was just before JYJ began preparing their debut stage show after releasing their 1st album in October 2010.
The FTC made the association send a notice that it was ordered to correct the wrongdoings against the boy group to 26 broadcasting companies and other involved parties.
Neither JYJ nor SM were available for comment.
The dispute shocked K-pop fans who were unfamiliar with the dark side of K-Pop and there came a flood of negative media coverage, including double contracts and cheating on trainees, of the entertainment industry.
In October last year, the FTC made guidelines for fair practices of management, trainees and production companies in a bid to tidy up some of the problems in the industry.
In fact, a lot of trainees in Korea suffered unfair treatment by agencies but couldn't complain.
"We hope this ruling will ring an alarm bell in the industry not to make the same case happen again," said the FTC official.
앞으로 공중파방송에서 K-Pop밴드 JYJ가 노래하는 모습을 자주 볼 수 있을 것 같다.
지난해 말 법원이 전소속사 SM Entertainment와 3인으로 구성된 미소년밴드 JYJ간의수 차례 걸친 SM이 주도한 JYJ의 활동방해를 둘러싼 법정분쟁에서 JYJ의 손을 들어주었고 수요일 공정거래위원회 이 밴드의 손을 들어 주었다.
JYP, YG와 더불어 한국 3대 연예기획사중에 하나인 SM은 소속팀인 동방신기의 5명의 멤버가운데 김재중, 김준수, 그리고 박유천이 탈퇴를 하고 2009년 6월 JYJ를 결성하면서 결별했다.
당시 그들은 13년에 걸친 소위 “노예계약”이라 불리는 장기계약과 수익의 불평등한 분배 등에 소송을 제기하면서 탈퇴를 했고 지난해 말 소송이 종결되기 전까지 국내외 K-Pop팬들을 실망과 충격에 빠뜨리면서 지리한 소송전을 치렀다.
법원은 결정문에서 SM이 앞으로 JYJ의 활동을 방해하는 행위를 할 경우 벌금을 부과할 수 있다고 경고했다. 공정위도 SM이 향후 JYJ의 활동을 방해하는 행위를 금지하는 제재를 부과했다.