Amazingly, there is indeed already a lot more in the ongoing FIFTY FIFTY mess, as Dispatch has released a conversation between ATTRAKT‘s Jeon Hong Joon and SIAHN of The Givers that allegedly shows the latter has been doing something shady with the copyright of “Cupid“. Additionally, the court case between the group and ATTRAKT has started.
In the original Dispatch report, receipts were provided that appeared to show that SIAHN used ATTRAKT’s money to buy the copyright of “Cupid”, including SIAHN seemingly lying to the CEO about his publishing rights.
SIAHN replied claiming that the money from ATTRAKT was for neighboring rights.
It is unfortunate that a self-proclaimed producer with 30 years of experience isn’t able to discern between copyrights and neighboring rights. Neighboring rights refer to the right of an individual who has made a certain contribution to enhance the value of a copyrighted work and is usually given to the producer. In other words, it is the right of the record producer to pay and hold the $9,000 that ATTAKT claims.
Copyrights are given to the person who created the production. For music, it is given to writers, producers, and music arrangers. In regards to this, The Givers, after deliberating with the writers, lawfully purchased the copyrights (to “Cupid”).
Essentially, SIAHN is claiming that ATTRAKT’s money went to the 28.65% that he now owns, while The Givers (his company) separately purchased the 66.85% they own with their own funds. I’m not an expert in copyright law, so I have no idea if that’s legit or not, but it’s what he’s saying.
Anyway, he goes on to explain how The Givers obtained the rest of the copyright.
All of this occurred before “Cupid” was released and was done through our publisher to expedite the process of re-writing and producing, mixing various versions, and collaborating with other artists during the group’s global promotions. Rightfully, the rights were obtained through the company’s efforts, and besides the rights owned by Ahn Sung Il, who participated in the production, overseas rights are owned by the publisher, The Givers.
Because the contract and other documents contain the parties’ private information, we can not reveal it, but we have the invoice showing that the song’s copyright was purchased with other funds and not with the money ATTRAKT is asserting. Also, on ATTRAKT’s invoice is written Music Production Fee, while our invoice states it is for the purchase of the song’s Music Intellectual Property Rights Fee. These are two different things that we will reveal in court.
With this said, it is defamation to say that ATTRAKT had purchased the copyrights to the song. Using that logic, we would like to ask if ATTRAKT owns the copyrights of all previous works that they had paid for. It is true that when ATTRAKT did not have enough money to buy the song, we volunteered to purchase the song in their stead and were compensated for it later. We are disappointed and express regret at the manipulation of this fact.
He concludes by basically claiming that he’ll prove his case in court.
Seemingly in response to this, Dispatch released a phone call from April of this year between SIAHN and ATTRAKT’s Jeon Hong Joon, in which the CEO asks about the “Cupid” copyright.
JHJ: I heard we were contacted by our investor. (JHJ’s acquaintance) told me, “Hey, you said you bought a song overseas, right?” The copyright association looked into it to see if I was lying, and they said that the (copyright) was listed under SIAHN. That’s you, Ahn Sung Il. So, they called to confirm as there were no foreign producers listed.
Ahn Sung Il: Ah, I think they said that because of the publishing credits…
JHJ: Why isn’t that done?
Ahn Sung Il: That’s because once that all goes up, it all transfers to the publisher’s name.
JHJ: It’s been two months, but that still isn’t done?
Ahn Sung Il: For the first album?
JHJ: No, for “Cupid.”
Ahn Sung Il: That takes 3 months.
JHJ: Ah, I’m so sorry. I need to know what to tell them.
Ahn Sung Il: You know I am a domestic producer, right?
JHJ: Is that why your name went up first?
Ahn Sung Il: Otherwise, you won’t be able to apply for the IP, right?
JHJ: That’s right, you have the receipt of the song purchase for $10,000, right?
Ahn Sung Il: Of course.
The convo appears to show SIAHN admitting to buying the copyright from the original composers with ATTRAKT’s money. It also seems to show that the statement about the three-month wait wasn’t true, as it’s been three months since then and nothing has changed with the copyright.
Dispatch also said that the aforementioned neighboring rights belong to the company anyway, and that paying for them would be bizarre, further stating that Korea Music Copyright Association (KOMCA) insiders believed SIAHN tricked those Swedish students by not putting them in the credits.
Now personally, since The Givers and FIFTY FIFTY are being absolutely savaged at the moment by the public, I have long expected some kind of explanation from their side of things. Instead, the response they mounted to all that information being revealed was basically a no comment.
We are aware of the allegations made in the report, but we don’t really have anything to say. Please refer to our statement made on July 5.
Okay, sure. We’ll see how it plays out in court, but at the rate things are going it’s not going to even matter much by then. Honestly doesn’t make sense to not amount a public defense if they truly believe they’re in the right here.
Speaking of court, the case between FIFTY FIFTY and ATTRAKT has started.
FIFTY FIFTY’s team laid out their position.
During the first trial, which took place on this day, FIFTY FIFTY’s side expressed their position, stating, “We intend to terminate the exclusive contract based on three reasons: lack of settlement data transparency, violation of the artist’s health care obligations, and insufficient support for essential resources.”
They questioned that they signed with ATTRAKT but it was Star Crew (Jeon Hong Joon’s previous company) that had the distribution funds from Interpark.
FIFTY FIFTY’s side emphasized ATTRAKT’s violation of the settlement obligation by stating, “ATTRAKT claims that Star Crew ENT signed a distribution contract with Interpark, receiving a 9 billion KRW (6.9 million USD) advance payment, of which 6 billion KRW (4.6 million USD) was invested in FIFTY FIFTY. However, from the members’ perspective, we cannot confirm the details of the contract or if it was truly for the benefit of the members. Additionally, the current profit from the group’s entertainment activities, such as music and album sales are directed to Star Crew ENT. However, the contracts with Star Crew ENT have concluded when the trainee period of the members has ended.” Furthermore, they highlighted their loss of trust in the agency, stating, “This obligation should have been disclosed by ATTRAKT before the members signed the entertainment contract, but it was not communicated.”
ATTRAKT countered by claiming that the members had signed with Star Crew and then re-signed with ATTRAKT after it was founded. They admit that the documents were provided late, however, they say a third party made that mistake.
ATTRAKT’s lawyer addressed the previous claims, stating, “There seems to be a serious misunderstanding about the relationship between Star Crew ENT and ATTRAKT. FIFTY FIFTY originally signed an exclusive contract with Star Crew ENT. FIFTY FIFTY consented and signed the business transfer agreement as well. Therefore, speculating about the resignation of ATTRAKT’s CEO appears to be unfounded and based on imagination. Additionally, the omission of sales with Star Crew was not intentional but rather a result of differing perspectives during the process. Hence, the claim made by FIFTY FIFTY lacks a solid foundation.”
Regarding the delayed submission of some settlement data, ATTRAKT’s side explained, “It was an oversight by an outsourcing company,” and further stated, “All the requested data was provided within the specified timeframe, so the claim of non-fulfillment of settlement obligations is not a valid reason to terminate the exclusive contract.”
FIFTY FIFTY’s side said that the errors led to trust being lost, to which ATTRAKT expressed regret, but explained that they could not even begin to repair any lost trust due to not being able to contact the members themselves.
FIFTY FIFTY’s attorney clarified, “In essence, the members are not demanding or seeking monetary gain. The members have been subject to speculation and criticism, but these accusations (by ATTRAKT) are unfounded. Currently, the trust between FIFTY FIFTY and ATTRAKT has been irreparably damaged, making the continuation of the exclusive contract impossible.”
ATTRAKT expressed their regrets concerning the alleged breach of trust with the young artists of FIFTY FIFTY and expressed a desire to resolve the matter promptly.
However, the label cited a lack of opportunities to establish contact with the members, stating, “We want to resolve the matter a day quicker but we have no chance to meeting the artists. They also do not respond. While personal freedom allows for individual choices regarding meetings, it seems that external influences may be at play in this case involving the young members of FIFTY FIFTY.”
FIFTY FIFTY’s side downplayed the involvement of third parties and said the issue was ATTRAKT’s competence, to which ATTRAKT talked about the money invested into the group.
You keep talking about ATTRAKT’s incompetence, but they invested ₩8.00 billion KRW (about $6.14 million USD) into the group. The CEO invested his whole life’s savings, including his mother’s. Don’t you think labeling that kind of investment as incompetence is a mischaracterization?
Honestly? No. ATTRAKT have mostly been defending themselves well, but the investment is nobody’s responsibility but their own. The constant pity party/self-victimization thing by ATTRAKT is weird considering Jeon Hong Joon is a long-time industry veteran and the investment that companies make into idols is purely to ensure return on it. Not like they’re doing charity work. Also, the use of said investment is exactly what’s under question.
Anyway, aside from the odd CEO PR campaign for Jeon Hong Joon and the unsettling corporate worship I’ve been seeing, it’s clear at this point that SIAHN/The Givers and FIFTY FIFTY are not making their case to the public well or at all anymore. It was reasonable to wait and see if SIAHN and/or The Givers had a detailed rebuttal to everything that’s been released, but to get a no comment was probably the worst thing they could’ve done. In this case, it’s not a mystery as to why public perception is the way it is.
Granted, to me it still largely seems like this is a corporate war over cashing in on what was once a potential cash cow, with the members of FIFTY FIFTY themselves being used as pawns (hell, that’s basically the argument of ATTRAKT themselves now), and it’s just sad to know that no matter the outcome of the court case things are going to be very different from here on out.