It was announced yesterday that the Korea Fair Trade Commission had sent notice to 10 major entertainment companies recently, asking them to modify some contract terms that was judged to be unfair to their artistes.
The “slavery” contracts were uncovered when the Korea Fair Trade Commission ran a check on the contracts of 354 artistes belonging to 10 major entertainment companies (see list below). Apart from a few elite artistes, most of the artistes had signed contracts that weren’t beneficial to them.
The entertainment companies have since made changes or abolished the 46 terms and conditions classified under ten categories with 204 artistes affected by this change. This has created an uproar in Korea after the unfair contract terms was made known to the public and the “slavery” contract between companies and their artistes has once again come under the spotlight.
The 10 biggest entertainment companies named by the Korea Fair Trade Commission to change their artistes contracts include iHQ, JYP Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Yedang Entertainment, BOF, Olive9, wellmade Star, Namoo Actors, Fantom Stars and M.net. The spotlight is on the contract terms that mainly interferes with the personal life of their artistes. For example, an artiste has to first seek approval from their company before being able to go overseas (iHQ). An artiste must notify their company their present location at anytime of asking (Olive9, Fantom). An artiste lifestyle including companionship, schooling, citizenship, military enlistment, making friends, economic activities, socializing events, transportation will have to be consulted with the company (JYP Entertainment) in advance which means interfering with their personal life.
According to one Korea Fair Trade Commission representative, it’s a characteristic of the entertainment industry that artistes follow orders. But companies should not have the right to interfere with their personal life. Under the request of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the 10 entertainment companies have either modified or abolished the unfair terms and conditions stated. iHQ for example has now changed their ruling to that their artistes need only to notify them a week before they are leaving the country.
Before this, M.net Entertainment had a ruling whereby if it’s artiste terminates their contract before it ends, they would not be able to sign on with other companies. This continues even after the contract has lapse, otherwise the artiste is liable to be sued. Artistes belonging to SM Entertainment have to appear on internet broadcasting belonging to the company for free. But these rulings will now be modified thanks to the Korea Fair Trade Commission.
Other notable terms which include companies being able to ask artistes to perform for free as and when they like, using their artistes song compositions in anyway they want to, etc have since been modified or abolished.
The representative expressed they will maintain even more stringent checks on companies in order to prevent “slavery” contracts from appearing again. For companies that do not or refuse to exercise fair contracts, they would be hauled up to court for a hearing and also slapped with a hefty fine.