Supreme Court Upholds Appeal Hearing Decision In Favor Of Big Hit Entertainment In BTS's Portrait Rights Case

The Supreme Court has ruled that the entertainment magazine that published photo books of BTS without Big Hit Entertainment’s permission has engaged in unfair business practices.

On May 8, Big Hit Entertainment and the Supreme Court confirmed that back in March, the Supreme Court had upheld the decision made in the previous appeal trial to grant a partial injunction against entertainment magazine production company “A” to prohibit them from selling or producing photo books.

In 2018, Big Hit Entertainment filed a request for an injunction against “A,” stating that “A” had engaged in theft and unfair business practices by producing bonus books with a large amount of BTS photos and photo cards with the intent to sell them without Big Hit’s consent. The first hearing was held in 2018, an appeal hearing was held in 2019, and in March 2020 the case reached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled that “A” had engaged in unauthorized use of the results of Big Hit Entertainment’s work in a way that violated fair commerce practices and fair competition order. As Big Hit Entertainment had spent considerable investment and effort in planning BTS’s promotions and producing and distributing content, the accumulated reputation, credit, and customer attraction can be seen as the result of the agency’s work. If another company uses these results without permission, then they have encroached upon the agency’s economic benefits.

The Supreme Court recently disclosed this case as the leading case on theft and unfair business practices on their website.

In April 2020, following the Supreme Court decision, Big Hit Entertainment filed another lawsuit against another production company who produced a photo book of BTS without their consent.

Big Hit stated, “The Supreme Court decision has provided the legal basis for protecting artists’ intellectual property rights. This case will become the legal basis for other agencies to take legal action against fake photo books and fake goods that have made victims out of fandoms since the first generation of idols.”

The agency continued, “With this decision as our basis, we intend to continue pursuing firm legal action against future illegal infringements. We intend to protect our artists’ rights by making clear announcements early on in cases where it appears intellectual property rights have been violated and work to ensure that there are no innocent victims.”

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