While former LOONA member Chuu secured an early win of an injunction in her contract battle against Blockberry Creative, the lawsuit is still ongoing and probably will be for a while more. However, it’s now being reported that Chuu has scored another win, this one from governing body CEMA after they ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to say BY4M Studio tampered or had an illegal contract, and also rejected Blockberry’s request to have Chuu’s entertainment activities banned.
According to an industry official on the 4th, CEMA judged that “there is insufficient grounds” for Blockberry’s claim against Chuu regarding having double contracts with BY4M Studio (hereafter “BY4M”).
Further, it emphasized that this was a matter to be determined in the main lawsuit currently in process within the legal system, not by CEMA.
Earlier, last December, Blockberry submitted a petition to CEMA and others seeking a ban on Chuu’s entertainment activities. It cited that Chuu had engaged in an advance contact (tampering) with BY4M, when her exclusive contract with Blockberry had not yet expired.
However, it is reported that CEMA has not recognized that there was advance contact between Chuu and BY4M, as claimed by Blockberry. That is to say, it determined that there was no evidence to confirm this allegation.
Additionally, CEMA is said to have considered the double contracting emphasized once again by Blockberry to be a matter that should be sorted out legally, and taken a circumspect position.
It should be noted that despite it being a positive sign for her case and just the fact that Chuu’s activities won’t be banned, CEMA generally punted the decision to the legal system, so that still matters the most.
Also, BY4M has said they will accept CEMA’s advice of not signing any other LOONA members.
According to an industry official on the 4th, BY4M submitted materials to the Korea Entertainment Management Association’s Disciplinary Mediation Ethics Committee (hereafter “CEMA”) stating that it did not engage in advance contact with LOONA, and will not enter into a contractual relationship with other members in the future.
As far as Blockberry goes, they basically say they vehemently disagree but also respect the decision.
Regarding this, a senior Blockberry official said on a phone interview with Star News, “Unless we raise an objection to this point from our side, I don’t think there will be anything further to discuss on this issue.” They added, “Everyone in the know is aware that BY4M attempted to sign her to a contract. Advance contact can mean many things, and I think they’ve made this decision without a clear standard, and also BY4M seems to have changed their position. The core issue has been clouded.”
In particular, they said, “You can still look up and find press articles stating that BY4M and Chuu signed a contract. Just from those articles it’s possible to infer the timing when the two sides contacted each other, or whether or not they had contact at all, and there are some things that are hard to understand about this.” But they replied, “We respect CEMA’s decision.”
On the other hand, regarding the issue related to new contracts for the other LOONA members, this official said “We have not decided yet. In some ways it wouldn’t be easy to obtain a favorable outcome if we were to pursue legal action, they have not filed for a contract termination, and we believe we’ll have an answer as to Universal Japan’s response within 1-2 weeks too. First of all the contract is currently valid, and we are monitoring the situation while negotiating with the members.” They added that “Rather than trying to block their activities, we are trying to have them maintain LOONA as a team, so with things like mediation petitions, at this time we are thinking deeply about the direction to move in.”
Overall, it’s so far so good for Chuu, but it’s going to be a while more before things are resolved legally.
An arguably more interesting angle to this news is what it’ll mean for the other four members who won and Blockberry’s attempt to ban them from entertainment activities as well. It’ll be of immediate importance since they’ve already signed with MODHAUS and seem to be hard at work for their re-debut. And as mentioned, the UMJ situation is looming overall all 12 members since it’s a separate contract that they all have to deal with.