Hankyung vs SM

On December 21st Super Junior member Hankyung has filed a law suit against SM Entertainment.Following in the motion as DBSK by slamming lawsuit against SM Entertainment for unethical contract agreements.Hungyung’s lawsuit is around the same reason why DBSK’s JaeJoong,Junsu, and Yoochun has file.The main reason is that Hankyung wants to start a solo career and that agreements in the contract waver harsh penalties if he leaves.Finally there is so more insight and a list of reason so here is the list.You may have a case of deja vu after reading this due to similar particularities in DBSK lawsuit.

First, the accusation argues that SME was the dominant party in signing of the contract and thus it was written in their favor. When the contract was first signed in January 2003, Hankyung was only 17 years old and he did not have sufficient information on the Korean entertainment industry. Two updates made to the contract in February and December of 2007 were also led by SME and Hankyung had no choice but to accept what was offered by SME.

Second, the length of the contract is 13 years. When the contract was first signed, it was to last for 10 years after the release of Super Junior’s first album. After the two updates, the length was extended to 13 years. The contract would last at least until December 2018, when Hankyung would become 34 years old. The contract extends automatically when Hankyung takes break for personal reasons, so the actual length could be much longer than 13 years. The accusation calls this a great invasion of Hankyung’s basic human rights.

Third, the contract enforces heavy financial punishment in case of a breach of contract, preventing Hankyung from seeking release. If Hankyung was to breach the contract and move to another entertainment company, he has to compensate SME for 3 times what they invested in him and double what he would have earned for SME during remaining period of the contract. The accusation argues that this makes it impossible for Hankyung to leave SME.

Fourth, the terms on rights and division of responsibilities are unfair towards Hankyung. SME is responsible for vague tasks such as “management of the artist’s popularity” and natural tasks such as “notifying the artist of new schedules”. On the other hand, Hankyung is to follow SME’s decisions without question and without having any rights for adjustment of the contract, making the contract unfair for Hankyung, according to the accusation.

Fifth, the contract made Hankyung overwork. He was forced to pay $10 during his training period for his first offense of being late, being absent, disobedience etc. and $20 per offense after. When he could not be contacted for more than a day, SME was given the right to null their contract. After his debut as a member of Super Junior, if his disobedience resulted in damage of less than $5,000 to SME then he was to compensate $5000; if the damage exceeded that amount then he was required to compensate for whatever the damage he caused. He had no right to present his opinion on any matter, and was forced to follow SME’s instructions at all times. The accusation says that Hankyung has lost his confidence due to these reasons.

Due to the fifth reason, Hankyung has not been able to rest for a sufficient amount of time since Super Junior’s debut. The accusation argues that he hasn’t had a break for last 2 years due to his busy schedule. Because the contract enforces heavy financial punishment and automatic extension of the contract length, he had to continue performing in poor health. According to his representatives he suffers from gastritis and kidney problems resulting from high stress, as well as back pain and exhaustion. He frequently asked for a break due to medical reasons but they were all turned down, the accusation claims.

Sixth, he was not given proper rights regarding profit and products of his performance. Rights to all songs and albums belong to SME, even if the song was written by the artist. Profit division was favored towards SME; in case of albums, Super Junior received 2% of the revenue only if the album sold more than 50,000 copies, for digital sales they received 10% of the net profit; for revenue from overseas they were given 60% of net profit. Album sales meant nothing to the artists as 2% of the revenue was divided among 13 members. Digital sales and foreign income were given to artists only when profit was made, allowing SME free from risk of losing money, according to the accusation

How Hankyung Can Win and Lose:

First:If Hankyung was a minor signing a contract this maybe illegal in South Korea and in Seoul.I believe the legal age in Seoul is either 18 or 19 but not 17  he would be consider a minor.A parent or legal guardian must be present during the signing of the agreement and have acknowledgment.If Hankyung doesn’t understand the contract agreement it would have been wise for a lawyer to be present during the proceedings.That is an optional choice universal all over the world.SM can fight this if a parent or guardian was present,understanding the contract agreement is Hankyung fault.

Second:This means child work labor laws and other labor laws deem by city and nation of South Korea were ignored during contract agreement.That SM committed labor violation willingly and that agreement is consider illegal or non valid.If Hankyug civil rights or human rights have been violated by SM the company would be place under investigation.

Third:The financial penalty of Hankyung is heavy he must be aware of this once contract agreements are final at signing.Breach of contract can waver heavy penalty fees as long its illegal or not ridiculous but that signer must be aware.This falls back to the First reason and SM can argue this heavily if Hankyung had acknowledgment.Depending the access amount and calculated amount the courts can see this a unethical.SM creating financial debenture by enforcing harsh penalties.

Forth:You can not own a person period,SM owns Super Junior name and music but not the people who participate.Hankyung should “have say” but he doesn’t as if he is silence in his own contract agreements.Hankyung is not a slave and SM should have been more specific on the details regarding to that portion of the contract.

Fifth: This reason is also being argue in the First ,Second and Forth mostly the Second.By the courts eye do to over work and medical conditions this is violating his human rights law.SM reason to null or waver harsh financial penalties  due to conduct is bias.That decision is made by SM with out the consent of Hankyung and can seem malice on SM part.

Sixth: Hankyung will have a tough time arguing this because his signature on the contract agreement.The courts can deem this as unfair wages agreements by SM can argue he was acknowledge this at signing.SM was being clever by claiming all rights  of music and lyrics giving them full control.This may have given them more profits shares but this doesn’t mean Hankyung and rest of Super junior members are to be paid unfairly.

I wish him the best of luck on fighting against SM entertainment and making an example of this shady company.All this could have been avoided if Hankyung had a lawyer present during contract agreements so he understood exactly the articles/clauses. The only thing I see SM agreement being that Hankyung was well aware of the agreements,his right were not violated and that he participate knowing the requirements.Hankyung will have to stress more harder on his human rights and labor laws being violated that was appointed by South Korean judicial system.This si a perfect example on how entertainment and management firms pray on the desperation of minors.Anyone who doesn’t have knowledge of labor laws or understand legal documentation.The courts would have to stop any further activities by SM and place the whole corporation under investigation.There is one thing to snip an artist from their money,then another to break national laws.



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