The Korea Herald


JYJ and S.M. Entertainment end three-year legal spat

By Korea Herald

Published : Nov. 30, 2012 - 19:08

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Wednesday saw a historic showbiz moment as the legal battles between idol group JYJ and S.M. Entertainment came to an end. Industry insiders are watching whether the settlement will have much influence on entertainment companies often accused of abusing their power.

On that day, both parties withdrew all lawsuits and came to a mutual understanding, filing written agreements not to interfere with each other’s future activities.

“We judged that we no longer need to provide management service to the three since they showed no intent to continue activities as members of TVXQ,” officials of S.M. said. The members of JYJ ― Kim Jae-joong, Park Yoo-chun and Kim Jun-su ― were formerly of the five-member group TVXQ that was managed under S.M. Entertainment. 
JYJ members Kim Jun-su (left), Kim Jae-joong (center) and Park Yoo-chun (right). (The Korea Herald file photo) JYJ members Kim Jun-su (left), Kim Jae-joong (center) and Park Yoo-chun (right). (The Korea Herald file photo)

“We came to end the trial through court arbitration,” officials said.

The case began when Jae-joong, Yoo-chun and Jun-su filed an injunction against S.M. on July 31, 2009 demanding an end to their 13-year contract, claiming that the terms were “unjust” by being too long and that they had hardly received shares of the profits made. In 2010, the Seoul District Court accepted the request, and several months later, the three formed the idol group JYJ with C-Jes Entertainment. Ever since then, the members had been engaging in legal battles to completely opt out of their contract with S.M.

S.M. Entertainment ― one of the top three record labels and talent agencies in Korea ― allegedly discouraged media outlets from having the group appear on music and entertainment programs. JYJ found themselves unable to locally promote themselves as a group on many of the country’s top music stages and TV programs, forcing them to focus on other aspects of their careers. Member Jun-su began to pursue a career in musicals and a solo career, releasing his debut album in May and promoting himself on stage while touring overseas. Jae-joong and Yoo-chun have both appeared in a variety of TV dramas, with Yoo-chun even receiving the Most Popular Actor in a TV Drama award for his role in the drama, “Rooftop Prince.”

However, now that all the disputes between JYJ and S.M. have been settled, the group is free to promote themselves without official and unofficial restraints.

“Next year, JYJ has the opportunity to promote nationally and appear on our stages,” CJ E&M officials told the media. The officials also stated that is it now possible for the group to participate in the future Mnet Asia Music Awards, Asia’s largest music festival.

Although the lawsuit filed by the idol members had strained their activities as a group, it also paved the way for future contract negotiations between entertainers and their agencies.

It has been reported that around 10 agencies in Korea have not only changed the contract period for new talent to seven years, as opposed to the 13 years that bound the members of TVXQ, but also revised or even eliminated contractual policies that may have been perceived as unjust.

The Fair Trade Commission, Human Rights Commission and the Culture Ministry have all agreed to provide more protective regulations for aspiring entertainers.

“This is a significant case showing that large entertainment firms cannot abuse their power in signing artists,” said a media observer to a local newspaper.

By Julie Jackson (