Big Hit Entertainment Taking Aggressive Legal Action For Violation Of BTS’s Portrait Rights
Big Hit Entertainment is suing MGM Media for violating BTS’s rights to their name and image.
According to an official statement from the agency, posted on January 5 to BTS’s fan cafe, this is not the first infringement by MGM Media, who tried something similar at the end of last year.
Big Hit expressed that they are taking the matter very seriously, as infringements of BTS’s rights to their name and likeness have increased in recent times.
Here is the agency’s full statement:
Yesterday (January 4, 2019), Big Hit Entertainment (hereafter Big Hit) confirmed that MGM Media opened pre-orders for Star Focus Special Magazine through Kyobo Bookstore, Aladin, and Yes24. This publication listed a BTS photo book ‘BTS Special in Depth,’ a DVD, and a photo card as supplementary items.
The photo book, DVD, and photo card, which use BTS’s image and name, are items which have not been permitted for use by Big Hit or BTS, and are in violation of our artists’ rights.
Big Hit and MGM Media have recently been in court with a lawsuit regarding a publication violating portrait rights.
In November 2018, Big Hit filed for an injunction and publication ban on Star Focus’s photo book ‘BTS History Special in Depth,’ which MGM Media tried to publish in December 2018 under the pretext of celebrating 2000 days since BTS’s debut. The injunction was filed on the grounds that no permission was given for the publication by Big Hit Entertainment, and [the publication] was, without any article content, simply a montage of the members’ photos.
The 51st civil affairs department of the Seoul Southern District Court acknowledged that MGM Media attempted to commercially use the BTS members’ images and names and engaged in unfair competition by exploiting BTS’s public appeal. The court stated, ‘MGM must not print, bind, manufacture, copy, distribute, sell, or export any photo books/DVDs/blue rays/stills/bromides/posters/autograph paper using the BTS members’ images or names without permission. In the event that this order is violated, [MGM] must compensate Big Hit in the amount of 20 million won (approximately $17,900) per day.
Not a month has passed, and MGM Media is attempting to commercially publish and sell a similar publication, ignoring the court’s decision.
Recently, there has been a sharp increase in unauthorized use of BTS’s images and intellectual property without the permission of Big Hit or our agency artists, and we see this as a serious problem.
Big Hit has created a department expressly for the protection of our artists’ intellectual property rights, and with both internal and external legal assistance, we are taking strict legal action. Outside of this situation, we are also in the middle of legal action regarding a variety of matters.
Our response to publications violating our artists’ portrait rights is to protect the fans and consumers from publications that have not gone through the proper process and are indiscriminately published. Particularly in this case with Star Focus Special Magazine, Big Hit’s assertive legal action is an effort to prevent any harm to the fans that have pre-ordered the item.
We ask that fans and consumers pay close attention to publications or contents that violate intellectual property rights, and Big Hit will do everything necessary to protect the rights of our agency artists.