A Seoul court ruled on Monday that KT Hitel, a unit of major telecom operator KT, should pay 3 million won each to dozens of local celebrities for illegally using their photos and names.
At issue was KT Hitel’s popular mobile app, “Pudding Face Match,” which compares photos with celebrities.
“KT Hitel should pay 180 million won($167,000) in compensation for making profit out of celebrities who had to suffer from unauthorized use of their photos and names,” the Seoul Central District Court said.
The free app, first launched in 2010, relied upon ad revenues and its surging popularity -- the number of downloads hit 15 million at its peak -- bolstered such a business model. But KT Hitel discontinued the service in April amid declining downloads and ad revenues.
About 60 celebrities including top star Suzy had filed lawsuits against KT Hitel.
By Yoon Ha-youn, intern reporter