Saturday, March 6, 2010
The Fair Trade Committee (FTC) has launched an investigation regarding all the celebrities associated with SM Entertainment (SM) regarding the accordance of their contracts to the FTC's regulations and many fear that a 'Second TVXQ dispute' will arise.
According to the office of Jo Mun Hwan (member of the Grand National Party). the FTC has instigated an investigation of the contracts of 53 artistes of SM including Girls Generation, Super Junior and TVXQ, whose three members (Xiah Junsu, Micky Yoochun, YoungWoong Jaejoong) are locked in a legal dispute with the agency.
According to the written answer submitted to the office of Jo Mun Hwan by the FTC, the reason the TVXQ dispute is taking so long to be handled is because the FTC is currently investigating the contracts of all the SM artistes.
However, the FTC did not state a concrete finish date when it stated, "This dispute has not been completely processed because the Fair Trade Committee is currently investigating to see if the contracts of all the artistes of SM Entertainment are not in accordance with the regulations that have been set." and "We will carefully examine all relevant documents and process this case as soon as possible.
SM Entertainment, one of Korea's top entertainment agencies, has been plagued by misfortune the past year with three members of TVXQ and Super Junior's Hangeng filing lawsuits for unlawful contracts. The three members of TVXQ and Hangeng both gave reasons of a 13 year contract and unlawful income division for the legal disputes.
SM is not the only agency with problems regarding unlawful contracts of celebrities. Congressman Jo criticized the problems with unlawful contracts of celebrities last December at the Fair Trade Committee's parliamentary inspection of the administration, and called for the investigation of 407 agencies including large agencies such as SM Entertainment. However, it was found that only 11 agencies have corrected their contracts till the end of January, one month past the due date of the inspection.
Before this, in an inspection of 20 agencies including YG Entertainment and Star Empire in April~May of last year, it was found that 230 celebrities of 19 agencies all had unlawful clauses in their contracts.
Not only were there clauses regarding free of charge appearances at agency-run events, there were numerous clauses regarding notification of location, impossibility of retiring and other privacy related clauses that clearly violated human rights.
Director Lee Soo Man, who is also the creator of SM Entertainment, gave up his administrative powers on February 25th and stated that he would stay the major shareholder and a producer. This, all well as the inspection being held by the FTC, may put SM Entertainment in a dilemma.
This inspection from the FTC may mean a new chapter for large entertainment agencies such as SM as well as JYP Entertainment, that is caught up in the 'Jaebeom incident', in order to protect the rights of the 'powerless' celebrities. It may also eliminate the deeply rooted 'slave contract' from the Korean entertainment industry once and for all.
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