Korean Parliament Member Wants Korean FTC to Investigate Letters asking for JYJ Ban

If a translated reports out of Korea are any indication, the situation with JYJ has sparked a debate on who can legally call to ask for artists to be banned from television.  A member of the government in Korea has openly asked for the Korean Fair Trade Commission to investigate the “unfair trade practices of the entertainment industry” and specifically names SM in his criticism.

Member Park Sunsook wants to know whether a violation of the Fair Trade Act occurred when an obscure organization, calling themselves the Korean Federation of Pop Culture and Art Industry (KFPCAI), sent out letters to networks and entertainment agencies demanding that they ban the group JYJ from appearing on various shows and programs.

Mr. Park raised the question at the National Assembly State Affairs Plenary Session, according to the translated reports.

The KFPCAI claimed that JYJ would “harm” the effect of Korean’s “Hallyu Wave” (the spread of Korean pop music to the rest of the world).  They also claimed other idol groups would be negatively affected.  None of this is true, of course.

If you read this site, you’ve probably read the post “Fury Erupts Again as KEPA Steps into JYJ-SM Controversy”.  KEPA is part of the KFPCAI and, above other things, they falsely accused JYJ of being under a dual contract situation and completely denied the existence of “slave contracts”.  This, of course, lit the fanbase on fire as they were fighting mad about what they saw as SM using other means whereby to negatively influence the public against JYJ.

Their anger came after the Fair Trade Commission had already issued orders demanding SM make corrections to its business practices with their stars.

Mr. Park is quoted as saying:

In the past 5 years, the Fair Trade Commision has issued orders for correction in the field of the entertainment industry in only two cases. The two cases both were related to Korea’s prominent agency SM Entertainment.

The Parliament member also expressed serious concerns for the future of this hallyu wave saying, “… I believe that if that market is created by using the dominant position of a certain agency, that ability to compete will not last for long.”

Mr. Park wants the industry to adopt a “Model Exclusive Contract” which is a draft contract by the FTP for members of the entertainment industry to use as part of their business practices.  This Model Exclusive Contract will be legally binding and will have the force of law behind it.

The Chairman of the Commission, Kim Dongsu, is reported to have positively replied to Mr. Park’s suggestion.

We all love to see and hear a lot of KPOP music which has grown in popularity year after year all over the world.  But underlying that world are some very disturbing business practices which include 10+ year lopsided contracts and dubious profit splits. 

Worse yet are practices like making successful artists almost entirely responsible for reaping losses invested in unsuccessful idols, and entertainment agencies taking total control over the personal lives of any given entertainer.

Some of these allegations have come to renewed light in the current legal dispute between JYJ and their former agency, SM Entertainment (SM).  SM has deep pockets, thanks to its artists.

Other artists under the current system may some day benefit partially because artists like JYJ — 3/5ths of the group Dong Bang Shin Ki — finally raised their heads and dared to question SM. 

This issue doesn’t seem like it’ll be swept under the rug because of the enormity of JYJ’s fanbase and the clear evidence of success by the trio despite SM’s legal threats and possible interference with their ability to appear on programs.  Whether SM was in some way involved with KEPA or the KFPCAI, it looks as if their interference has only made SM’s situation worse.

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