후원로펌 뉴스레터

본문 바로가기

HOME > 후원로펌 현황 > 후원로펌 뉴스레터

후원로펌 현황

[법무법인 광장] Lee & Ko successfully represents Big Hit Entertainment against unauthorized use of BTS’ photos

페이지 정보

작성자 관리자 작성일19-08-14 23:22 조회126회 댓글0건


상단 이미지
Lee & Ko successfully represents Big Hit Entertainment against unauthorized use of BTS’ photos

Lee & Ko, on behalf of Big Hit Entertainment (“Big Hit”), obtained the first-ever decision in Korea to recognize the entertainment companies’ right to independently request for injunction against those who free-ride on the customer attractiveness that is based off of popularity and fame of the artists managed by the companies. This landmark decision is expected to serve as an important pedestal in protecting the legitimate interest of entertainment companies (domestic as well as international) that manage famous artists and entertainers and remain vulnerable to unfair competition of free-riders.

Big Hit is the mastermind behind the global sensation BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys (방탄소년단), one of the most popular boy bands in the music industry today. Ever since BTS’ conception, Big Hit has been the engine and fuel behind all aspect of BTS’ activities. As BTS rose to global fame, however, rampant exploitation of their fame grew in high demand and merchandises using BTS’ name, portrait and photo without Big Hit’s permission started to flood the market. Fans who purchased these merchandises (specifically photobooks with collection of BTS’ portraits and photos) by believing them as official goods were disappointed to learn the truth, and poured complaints to Big Hit.

Lee & Ko was engaged as Big Hit’s legal representative to take legal measures against these unauthorized merchandises. At the time Lee & Ko sought to take action, however, the Korean court’s then-current position was that the entertainment companies are not entitled to seek legal protection for their artists’ right to publicity when there is no explicit legislation governing such right. This called for an immediate introduction of new legal basis that can protect the entertainment companies from the free-riders of their artists’ fame. 

To do so, Lee & Ko developed a new legal basis for protection based on the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act (“UCPA”). The UCPA prohibits actions that infringe another person’s economic interest by using such person’s achievements, which are the result of substantial efforts and investments for many years, without permission for unjust profit. Using the UCPA, Lee & Ko asserted that the economic value of BTS (e.g., BTS’ name, logo, portrait, photo, etc.) correspond to Big Hit’s enormous achievement resulting from many years of tremendous efforts and investments, by emphasizing the fact that Big Hit has planned and managed BTS’ entire career from debut to their present tremendous success. Lee & Ko argued that the very act of selling the unauthorized merchandises of BTS constitutes an act of unfair competition prohibited by the UCPA.

Convinced by Lee & Ko’s argument, the Seoul Southern District Court entered an injunction order on November 30, 2018 prohibiting all unauthorized production, distribution, sale and export of BTS photobooks, and also imposed a strict penalty by ordering a payment of 20 million KRW (approximately 20 thousand USD) won per day in the event of continued violation.

Despite the Court’s order, once the publishing companies were not allowed to make photobooks using unauthorized photos, they found ways to circumvent the court’s scrutiny by creating and selling photobooks fronted as entertainment magazines (that still included large number of BTS photos) and claiming freedom of press. 

Official BTS photobook produced and sold by Big Hit 
(pictures from WEPLY, the official BTS merchandise store) 



In response, Lee & Ko filed an injunction to stop the publishing company from selling such “magazines” in name only. The Seoul Central District Court, however, denied the claim by holding that since the magazines still cover stories of other artists as well, they constitute legitimate media coverage and are protected under the freedom of press. Lee & Ko appealed the decision by showing the court that the magazines were serving as actual photobooks to the fans (which was verified through fan surveys, general perception of the public, comparison with other legitimate entertainment magazines, etc.), and that the publishing companies were using such guise to free-ride on the fame and popularity of BTS. After reviewing the exhaustive evidences submitted by Lee & Ko, the Seoul High Court on May 30, 2019 expressly acknowledged that the magazines in effect constitutes a “photobook” or “photobook-like magazine” similar to the official photobooks produced and sold by Big Hit and further held that the publishing company’s act of publishing and selling such magazines exceed the scope of ordinary media coverage and therefore cannot be protected under the freedom of press. The Seoul High Court granted an injunction relief and ordered the publishing company to pay Big Hit 10 million KRW (approximately 10 thousand USD) per day in the event of continued violation.

The two recent Korean Court’s decisions are significant in that they serve as first-ever decisions to recognize that entertainment companies are also independently entitled to legal protection for their artists’ name, logo, portrait, photo under the UCPA, therefore extending the scope of legal protection from artists to the entertainment companies that built the artists’ customer attractiveness through substantial investments and efforts.

Hyeok AHN
Hyeok AHN
Jaewoo KWAK
Jaewoo KWAK
For more information pertaining to this newsletter, please contact the attorneys identified on the right.
The Lee&Ko Legal Newsletter is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered as the rendering of legal advice for any specific matter. If you no longer wish to receive our newsletter service, please click here or reply to this email stating UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line. The contects and opinions expressed in the Lee&Ko Legal Newsletter are protected by law against any unauthorized use.


등록된 댓글이 없습니다.

후원로펌 뉴스레터 목록
번호 제목 글쓴이 날짜 조회
328 [법무법인 광장] 국가핵심기술 보유 기업의 해외 인수·합병 등에 관한 사전 승인 제도 도입 관리자 2020-02-21 16
327 [White & Case] Suspending contractual performance in response to the coronavirus outbreak 첨부파일관련링크 관리자 2020-02-20 24
326 [법무법인 광장] 고위험 금융상품 판매 제한 시행을 위한 자본시장법 하위규정 개정안 발표 관리자 2020-02-19 19
325 [법무법인 광장] 코로나19 상황 하에서의 현지법인 운영 관련 유의사항(1) 관리자 2020-02-14 38
324 [부스러기사랑나눔회] 씽씽~즐겨라! 현동 익사이팅 캠프! 관리자 2020-02-11 28
323 [법무법인 광장] 韓国大法院が判例変更「事実審弁論終結後の訂正審決は特許訴訟の再審事由とならない」 관리자 2020-02-10 29
322 [법무법인 광장] 대법원, 약정 근로시간에 대한 고정수당의 시간급 통상임금 환산 방법을 변경하다 관리자 2020-02-06 39
321 [법무법인 광장] 볼커룰 개정 규정의 주요 내용 관리자 2020-02-06 29
320 [법무법인 광장] New Supreme Court Decision Constrains Patentee’s Strategic Use of Correction Petition in Pending Patent Case 관리자 2020-02-04 27
319 [법무법인 광장] 상장회사 사외이사의 자격요건 강화 및 주주 권리 확대를 위한 개정 상법 시행령 시행 관리자 2020-01-29 65
318 [법무법인 광장] 사실심 변론종결 후 이루어진 정정심결은 특허소송에서 더 이상 재심사유로 보지 않음 (대법원 전원합의체 판결 : 기존 대법원 판결 변경) 관리자 2020-01-29 39
317 [부스러기사랑나눔회] 롯데제과의 달콤하고 소중한 과자 나눔 관리자 2020-01-29 40
316 [법무법인 광장] 대법원, 무기계약직에 기존 정규직의 근로조건 그대로 적용된다 관리자 2020-01-20 39
315 [법무법인 광장] Korean Tax Law Adopts New Simplified Transfer Pricing Rules relating to Low Value-adding Intra-group Services 관리자 2020-01-20 35
314 [법무법인 광장] 신용정보의 이용 및 보호에 관한 법률 개정안 국회 통과 관리자 2020-01-20 43
게시물 검색

인하우스카운슬포럼 In-House Counsel Forum

주소:서울시 강남구 테헤란로 625, 17층 | 고유번호 : 107-82-14795 | 대표자 : 양재선

E-mail : ihcf_staff@naver.com


모바일 버전으로 보기