It is known that K-pop trainees join a company, they are forced to sign years-long "slave contracts" that generally favour the agency over the artist. After a new investigation, it appears that this may no longer be the case in the future.
According to a new report, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) investigated eight major Korean entertainment companies - SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Loen Entertainment, FNC Entertainment, Cube Entertainment, Jellyfish Entertainment, and DSP Media - and implemented changes to six contract clauses that were deemed to be unfair.
Here's the list of contract clauses that were modified:
1. Imposing excessive penalties on contract cancellation
According to KFTC, it was reported that YG, JYP, FNC, Cube, Jellyfish, and DSP Media were imposing contract cancellation penalties of two to three times the amount invested in the trainee. As a contract of this type lasts three years, the KFTC ruled the penalty to be excessive and changed the clause to demand only the amount directly invested into a trainee's training period.
2. Forcing artists to renew their contract after expiration
It was reported that JYP, Cube, and DSP Media had pressured artists into renewing their contracts after their expiration or otherwise they were forced to return a sum double the amount invested. The KFTC has since modified the clause, allowing companies to only begin preliminary negotiations upon the expiration of a contract.
3. Canceling contracts immediately without notice
This clause previously permitted agencies to immediately cancel a contract without prior notice, and has since changed to include a grace period that will give the two parties time to work out any conflicts. It was reported that this clause was previously part of contracts at YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Cube, Loen, and DSP Media.
4. Canceling contracts for ambiguous reasons
This clause was found in SM, FNC, and DSP Media contracts, which allowed the agency to cancel a contract based on unclear or arbitrary reasons. It has since been removed.
5. Forcing trainees to pay penalties immediately
This clause forced trainees to pay penalties immediately upon infringement of the contract, and has since changed to strictly follow the Korean civil law.
6. Limiting jurisdiction over legal cases to the Seoul Central District Court
This clause initially limited legal cases regarding trainee contracts to just the Seoul Central District Court, and has since been modified to include all other authorized courts.
The head of the KFTC issued out a statement regarding these contract reforms, saying that“Protection of trainee rights will be strengthened further with the rectification of agencies’ contracts with trainees. This will create an environment for agencies and trainees to sign fair contracts with each other.”
What are your thoughts on these new K-pop trainee contract reforms?
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