[TRANS] 090804 Articles From Joongang Daily

Posted on: March 22, 2011

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[TRANS] 090804 “We didn’t receive a single Won if album sales didn’t pass 500K”

The nation’s best idol group ‘TVXQ”s three members stated on the 3rd that they have a 13-year contract with their agency and they were unlawfully treated in regards to the income division. Xiah Junsu (Kim Junsu), YoungWoong Jaejoong (Kim Jaejoong) and Micky Yoochun (Park Yoochun), who filed for a Exclusive Contract Validity Suspension and Provisional Disposition Request on the 31st against SM Entertainment, made an official statement through their representatives that, “Our ’13-year contract that excludes military service’ is basically a slave contract, and if album sales didn’t pass 500K, we didn’t get a single Won from album sales.”

SM refuted that, “We have already revised the contract five times with the members,” and “Through events, CF, and other performances, the five members have earned 11 billion Won till now.”

Reporter Lee Yonghee

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[TRANS] 090804 “Against TVXQ’s Disbandment” 20,000 people signed

Japan-China are watching closely

The lawsuit between TVXQ and their agency has shocked many fans. Last month on the 31st, when news got out that TVXQ’s Xiah Junsu, YoungWoong Jaejoong and Micky Yoochun filed for a Exclusive Contract Validity Suspension and Provisional Disposition Request, the first concern fans had was the issue of a disbandment of the group. Fans showed their angst by stating, “I can’t fall asleep,” and “We trust them (TVXQ) so we’ll wait for them.” When TVXQ’s official fan club ‘Cassiopeia’ heard of the news, they immediately set up an online petition on Internet portal site Daum’s ‘Agora’ that opposed TVXQ’s disbandment. The petition has gained over 19,200 signatures till now (August 3rd, 9 pm).

Many fans across Japan and China could not hide their shock when they learned of this pending lawsuit. One member of TVXQ’s Japanese fan club Bigeast said, “I want to know exactly what is wrong. There has been a sudden influx in the number of people joining the fan club and TVXQ is extremely popular in Japan right now. But why is something like this happening?”

After the three members released their official statement on August 3rd, the number of people criticizing the agency began to grow. On fan sites, many people could be seen saying, “How could they only receive 0.4~1% of their overall album sales? That’s a slave contract,” and “If the five members can stay together, I don’t care if they’re under SM or another agency.” On the other hand, one netizen stated, “I understand that they were being mistreated, but it isn’t like they didn’t know about the clauses when they first signed the contract,” and also said that meant the signers of the contract were also at fault.

One recently-debuted singer said, “From when I was little, the wanting to become a singer was the only thing that drove me to become what I am now. But now that I’m here, I’ve found that there are many instances where they are careless of the singer when it comes to the contract,” and “I support TVXQ for trying to fix this issue by filing a lawsuit.”

Intern Reporter Choi Da Eun

*As of now, the number of signatures has surpassed 20,000*

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[TRANS] 090804 TVXQ “13 year contract… Our income division isn’t even 1%”

The content of their contract with SM is revealed

Korea’s best idol group TVXQ’s three members filed for a Exclusive Contract Validity Suspension and Provisional Disposition Request last month on the 31st against their agency SM Entertainment. The three members who filed the lawsuit, Xiah Junsu, Micky Yoochun and YoungWoong Jaejoong, released their official statement through their representative Sejong law firm on the 3rd that, “The contract we have with our agency is in fact an unlawful slave contract, and we have not been receiving proper treatment by them (SME).” Because of this lawsuit, the shocking relationship between the nation’s best agency and idol group was revealed.

Also, this lawsuit is that first to arise after the Fair Trade Committee set forth an ‘exemplary contract’ to fix the problem of unlawful contracts in the entertainment business. Many are waiting to see what sort of impact this lawsuit will have on the rest of the Korean entertainment business.

‘TVXQ’s Contract’ Opposing Sides Clash

Lawyer Lim Sang-hyuk, who is in representing the three members in this case, stated in an official statement on the 3rd that, “TVXQ’s exclusive contract with SM has been set for 13 years, but if you include the years spent in military service, the time period is extended to 15 years or more. That is basically stating that TVXQ must be tied to SM Entertainment until they retire from the entertainment business.” The statement also read, “If the members wished to cancel the contract, they would have had to pay triple the amount of investments made and twice their income for compensation to the agency. This amount would have totaled up to hundreds of billions of Won, which is almost impossible to fulfill.” Regarding the income division of album sales, Lim stated that, “The members were had 10 million Won only if they sold more than 500K copies of one album. Even if we follow the altered version of the clause about income division (altered this February), they members only receive 0.4~1% of the income each.” He stated that the members tried numerous times to alter the clauses with the agency, but failed and that was why they had no choice other than to file this lawsuit.

In refutation, SM stated released another official statement on the evening of August 3rd that read, “TVXQ have, since their debut till now (July 2009), received 11 billion Won (all together) in cash only and have also received luxury cars,” and “It is unfair to focus only on their album sales when they participate in CFs, events and other performances that all have different income divisions.” Regarding the ‘slave contract,’ SM stated that, “We have revised the contract five times with the members,” and “Of those five times, we revised the contract twice with the help and approval of the Fair Trade Committee.”

The never-ending Battle of Celebrity Contracts

There have been many different opinions regarding the lawsuit between TVXQ and SM. One representative of a big entertainment agency said, “Even if you factor in the years spent as trainees, 13 years is far too long for a contract,” and “Most idols have a contract that lasts 7 years to 10 years max.” They also said, “Usually for album sales, if the group consists of 4~5 members, they are supposed to get 10~15% which would mean each member gets 2~3% each,” and pointed out the unlawfulness of this part of the contract.

On the other hand, there was a manager with a different view who said, “In the case of an idol group, hundreds of millions of won are needed to move them from a rookie’s position to that of a star’s,” and “An agency cannot run if the stars want a change in their contract every now and then just because they are famous now.”

There have always been disputes between agencies and their celebrities who have reached the position of a big star. The idol group ‘H.O.T’, who gained massive popularity in the 1990s, disbanded after five years due to a dispute with their agency, SM. Yoon Sang-hyun, who recently became very popular due to his drama ‘Queen of Housewives’, was sued for 250 million Won from his former agency who wanted compensation for his cancellation of his contract.

When rookie actress Jang Jayeon committed suicide early this life due to mistreatment from her management company, the Fair Trade Committee concluded that, ‘If seven years pass after the contract is made, then the singer is given the right to ask for a cancellation of the contract.’The committee put out a ‘exemplary contract’ guideline in hopes of protecting the right of celebrities. However the statement in the guidelines that read, ‘If the contract regards a celebrity who has overseas activities, there is no time-limit to the contract,’ caused great confusion and set rules with too many loopholes.

One agency’s representative said, “What is important is the communication between the agency and it’s celebrities,” and “The only way to reduce these disputes is for both sides to talk things out between themselves.”

Where is TVXQ headed?

According to SM, all five members have been under the same contract till now. However, as only three members filed the lawsuit, SM stated that this dispute arose because of ‘tensions between the agency and the three members regarding the three members’ cosmetic company.’

On the three members’ official statement that was released on the 3rd, it said, “The investment in the Chinese branch of the cosmetic company was an investment that had nothing to do with their activities as TVXQ,” and “It is pointless to say that the three members are willing to give up all their years of hard work and success for 100 million Won invested in a cosmetic company.” However SM stated that, “The cosmetic company is obviously the core of this dispute as the three members who invested are the only three who are filing this lawsuit,” and “We found out that the three members were using their names that they use in TVXQ when they went to events regarding the cosmetic company.”

Both sides agree that ‘TVXQ must not disband.’ However, if TVXQ win this case, SM will have no choice but to listen to the three members’ suggestions regarding the contract and revise the contract, so it can be said that this dispute will not be solved easily.

Reporter Lee Younghee

The group consists of five members U-Know Yunho (23, Jung Yunho), YoungWoong Jaejoong (23, Kim Jaejoong), Micky Yoochun (23, Park Yoochun), Xiah Junsu (22, Kim Junsu) and Choikang Changmin (21, Shim Changmin). This idol group debuted in 2004 with the song ‘Hug’ and have since then kept the title of ‘best idol group.’ After their debut, they released songs such as ‘Rising Sun’, ‘O Jung Ban Hap’ and ‘Balloons’ and won various awards at many awards ceremonies. Their fourth album ‘MIROTIC’ that was released last year sold more than 500K copies and set a new record. In 2005, they debuted in Japan as ‘Tohoshinki’ and were the first foreign artistes to be number 1 on the Oricon Weekly Single Charts for six consecutive times. This July, they were able to perform at the Tokyo Dome, which is considered the ‘ultimate dream stage’ to Japanese artistes. They are the forerunners of the Hallyu Wave with great popularity in Japan, China, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

‘TVXQ’ Album Sales

First album ‘Tri-Angle’ (2004) = 300K copies sold
Second album ‘Rising Sun’ (2005) = 290K copies sold
Third album ‘O Jung Ban Hap’ (2006) = 390K copies sold
Fourth album ‘MIROTIC’ (2008) = 500K copies sold
Other albums/singles = 2.68 million copies sold

12th Single ‘Summer Dream’ (2007) = 120K copies sold
Third album ‘T’ (2008) = 120K copies sold
Fourth album ‘The Secret Code’ (2009) = 260K copies sold
26th Single ‘Stand By U’ (2009) = 210K copies sold
Other albums/singles = 2.34 million copies sold

Korea, Japan Total = 5.03 million copies sold

(data from the Korean Record Committee, Japanese Record Committee)

Source: [joongang daily + DNBN]
Translation credits: jeeelim5@tohosomnia.net
Shared by: tohosomnia.net


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