So we’ve all heard the news that SM Entertainment is being ‘SM Entertainment’ again, by trying to sue the pants of Wu Yi Fan (Kris). No surprises there, right? But they are also suing all the companies, agencies and studios that Kris has worked with since he said his last goodbye to the SM Building in Gangnam. And most importantly, is that SM is filing this lawsuit, not in Korea, but in China.
SM argues that those companies are taking advantage of the popularity of Kris, in working with him. Well, duh. But whose responsibility is it to uphold an exclusive contract? Those companies and agencies didn’t sign an exclusive contract with SM.
But it does pose a curious question, who is the rightful owner of someone’s popularity or reputation? Common sense would say that one’s popularity and reputation are intrinsically their own, and almost as inseparable from that individual as their arm or leg. So is SM Entertainment claiming to own their artists so completely that even their reputation and popularity becomes the property of the agency?
According to SM “We invested a large amount of human and economic efforts to develop the group EXO into a global artist in a short two years.” They continued “Until a ruling have been made on the lawsuit between [SM Entertainment] and Kris (Wu Yi Fan) and Luhan by the courts, the exclusive contract continues to be valid. We will be taking legal action against all of the illegal activities that have occurred since that time.”
And, does SM really think that it can get its way in an overseas court, in China?
According to Soompi, SM Entertainment has asserted that “We worked officially with the Chinese law firm King & Wood Mallesons to file the lawsuits against Luhan and Luhan’s advertisement company, and we will take every legal measure necessary to protect the rights of [SM Entertainment] and EXO, as well as innocent victims even in China and various countries so that no economic damages are incurred.”
So, this might really set a precedence for Chinese artists and other international artists who work in Korea, and how they choose to treat contracts they sign in Korea.
King and Wood Mallesons has over a billion dollars in revenue and is among one of the top 25 law firms in the world. And it isn’t clear if SM Entertainment is also using the same law firm for Kris’s lawsuit.
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