One news item making noise in Korea that has been seemingly glossed over by Western K-pop publications recently is that a bunch of Korean media outlets are preparing to go after allkpop on grounds of copyright infringement.
The title of one of the articles reporting on this is ‘allkpop & Ailee controversy, allkpop facing lawsuit for habitual copyright infringement‘.
“The true nature of the so-called Hallyu information site allkpop has been revealed. allkpop caused shock after riding a wave of popularity for uploading nude photos of Ailee. The majority of media outlets connected with this company have decided to charge allkpop for habitual copyright infringement. Under the pretense of being an English site dedicated to K-pop, allkpop.com has published entertainment articles and photos from Korean media outlets without permission, thus infringing on the Korean media outlets’ copyrighted material on a habitual basis.
allkpop, who jumped on the bandwagon of the Hallyu as it started becoming global, has translated and published entertainment articles written by Korean media outlets without permission. Despite all of this, Korean media companies haven’t taken any special measures against allkpop because the company is located in the United States, as they have been able to skillfully evade the Korean copyright laws.
The Korean media outlets didn’t take any action because the process of charging the American company is hard. The issue is that allkpop acted in a way where it neglected to mention that it was plagiarizing articles without consent.
The situation has changed after Ailee’s agency, YMC Entertainment, pointed out in a press release on Nov. 11 that her ex-boyfriend, the person who allegedly illegally distributed the photos, holds a position at allkpop. allkpop refutes everything that Ailee’s side is saying, stating that it won’t evade legal action, and asserting that it just brought the pictures up to the surface.
The Korean media outlets and copyright holders who simply ignored allkpop’s illegal activities have decided on a course of taking the most extreme measures by reporting the company behind an American mask for disregarding Korean copyright laws to the police.
6Theory Media, allkpop’s parent company, published an article at midnight on Nov. 12, claiming their innocence in an article titled, ’6Theory Media response to YMC’s statement on Ailee’s nude photos’. Everyone is very curious as to what response allkpop will have in response to the copyright infringement charges.”
In addition to that strongly worded mess of a situation for allkpop, another article reports more specifically on the charges, saying that about a dozen media outlets are prepared to sue for (in some instances) over 2,000 cases of illegal usage of content. They’re also claiming that each case comes out to $600 per article. Do a little math, and yes, that would come out to total over $1.2 million in damages sought per media outlet.
(*Editor’s Note: A correction was made. Companies are actually preparing said million dollar suits INDIVIDUALLY and not collectively. Which means they could end up seeking damages that total over $10 million.)
Also worth noting is that when they say ‘true nature’, they’re referring to the Korean media picking up on the supposed anti-Korean/anti-Hallyu history of allkpop, like in this article by Top Star News, where they basically rundown a bunch of stuff from allkpop’s past.
As far as the lawsuit is concerned, I’m not educated enough to comment on the validity of it is or what exactly is going down, nor have I seen any news of action officially being taken. However, if the Korean media outlets do indeed follow through on this, I could see this being a far, far, far bigger deal than any fan boycott (which would still be significant for the same financial reasons).
Even if the media companies don’t win, if they decide to pursue it, it’s going to be a legal mess like these cases always are and will probably hurt allkpop financially. More importantly, this is destroying allkpop’s reputation in Korea to far greater lengths than a couple years ago, and it’ll be interesting to see which Korean companies/celebrities will still want to work with them.
I’ll try to keep you updated on this, especially if any further action goes down, but Korean companies do have a history of posturing, so I would take it with a grain of salt until something is actually done.
Any lawyers have any takes on how this might actually work out if the Korean reports of a pending lawsuit are true?
Translation help provided by The Real CZ, so blame him.