Court Denies FIFTY FIFTY’s Request To Suspend Exclusive Contracts With Their Agency
FIFTY FIFTY’s request to suspend their exclusive contracts with their agency ATTRAKT has been denied by the court.
Back in June, FIFTY FIFTY filed an application for provisional disposition to suspend the validity of their exclusive contracts with ATTRAKT. After the first hearing in July, the court recommended mediation between the two parties, but on August 16, the FIFTY FIFTY members announced that they had no intention of continuing with mediation, leading the dispute to return to trial.
On August 28, the Seoul Central District Court made its decision, ultimately denying the four FIFTY FIFTY members’ requests for the suspension of their contracts.
At the hearing in July, FIFTY FIFTY’s legal representative made three main claims as to why a suspension was needed. The first was an alleged lack of financial transparency, the second was that the company allegedly did not take adequate care of the members’ health, and the third was an alleged lack of resources to support the group’s activities.
However, the court ultimately found that there was “insufficient evidence” to grant a suspension. In terms of financial transparency, the court stated that after reviewing ATTRAKT’s finances, in light of production costs and other expenses, there was “no evidence of any unpaid earnings that FIFTY FIFTY should have received by now.”
While there was a specific omission on the company’s statement for April (FIFTY FIFTY’s digital music revenue for the month had been marked as 0), the mistake was corrected as soon as ATTRAKT was made aware of it—and according to a report by Dispatch, the error was actually made by an employee of Ahn Sung Il (SIAHN)’s company The Givers.
“There was no instance of FIFTY FIFTY making a request for correction and the agency not complying, and there was no instance of the agency violating their duty more than once or for a long period of time,” explained the court. “It is difficult to see this incident as causing an irreparable breach of trust.”
The court also dismissed the claim that the company had not taken care of the members’ health, stating, “After discovering the issue with FIFTY FIFTY’s [Aran’s] health, the agency [ATTRAKT] arranged for her to be diagnosed. They then checked on her diagnosis and progress, and they adjusted their promotion schedule and set up a date for the surgery.”
As for ATTRAKT’s alleged lack of resources following the end of their contract with The Givers, the court responded, “It is difficult to say that the agency is in violation of their exclusive contract just because The Givers is no longer working with the company.”
Finally, the judge specifically criticized the fact that FIFTY FIFTY did not bring these issues up with ATTRAKT before filing to suspend their contracts. The judge pointed out that if an agency is in violation of a contract, the artist is legally required to give the agency a 14-day grace period after notifying them of the violation. However, in FIFTY FIFTY’s case, instead of notifying ATTRAKT of their grievances, the members immediately moved to legal action and attempting to terminate their contracts.
“The group’s activities came to a halt because of Jung Eun Ah [Aran]’s surgery, and because some of the members came down with COVID-19, they each returned to their own family homes,” noted the judge. “Immediately afterwards, they suddenly sent the agency notice that they would be ending their exclusive contracts.”
“There is no way to see this as [ATTRAKT] refusing to make corrections in spite of a request for correction,” they continued.
Meanwhile, following the court’s decision, FIFTY FIFTY’s attorney stated in a phone call with Yonhap News, “As we still have to discuss the matter with the members, nothing has yet been decided, but it is currently very likely that we will be appealing the decision.”