On the 27th, the Seoul District Courts sided with popular group TVXQ’s three members and their exclusive contract suspension against SM Entertainment. The Courts decided that the entertainment agency was not allowed to create new contracts without the consent of the celebrity and must not interfere with said celebrity’s independent activities in the business. Therefore, a road of free movement has opened up for the members of TVXQ. Although the formal trial procedures are left, this decision seems to shed light on the future of unlawful contracts that are rampant in the entertainment business. Overall, the call for shift from a vertical relationship to a parallel, equal relationship is welcomed. Many expect this dispute to lead into an equal relationship between celebrities and agencies in the future.
Till now, the Korean entertainment business, as the term ‘slave contract’ implies, has been criticized for its inability to escape unlawfulness and unfairness. The majority of celebrities was put at a disadvantage starting from when their contracts were set up and have become mere tools of agencies. From their official activities to personal actions, everything celebrities did was dictated by their agencies. This was the kind of situation that the three members of the nation’s best idol group were in when they went against their agency. If they were in such a state, it is not hard to think of what unthinkable states the no-name celebrities and not-so-famous celebrities are in.
Most domestic entertainment agencies work under a scout-train-management system. Agencies have trained talented rookies and raised the value of no-name celebrities in this organized and investing method. However, although it is easy for a celebrity to become wound up in an unlawful exclusive contract, it is not as easy to escape from his or her entrapment. It can be said that the Courts ruled that, “This is an unfair structure that does not give the members even the bare minimum rights they should have,” and “As the members have to pay extremely large amounts of compensation if they go against the contract, it is impossible for the members to wander astray from the contract,” because of such methods employed by entertainment agencies.
This decision will bring about a big change to the entertainment business as a whole. This is because the complaints that have been silenced till now may erupt and flood. There is a high chance that the dispute between the members of TVXQ and their agency will take a long time. Right after the Courts’ decision, the three members stated that they would file lawsuits for Compensation for Damages and Exclusive Contract Nullification, while the agency has stated that they will be revealing information that the Courts requested they keep quiet from the media and an official statement. This reporter hopes that this dispute will not end a mere expendable argument, but a stepping stone to a new cultural ]change in the entertainment industry. The tyrannical domination of the biased and vertical patriarchal culture that believes that, “Since I have raised them, I can do whatever I want with them,” must now come to an end. It is time that a win-win and equal relationship was created in our entertainment business to take the industry to a whole new level.
Source: [yonhap news+DNBN]