MCST reveals K-pop standard contract revisions focused on preventing tampering, limiting contract length

Man, K-pop has been wild lately, but while most have understandably been busy with the HYBE/ADOR mess and the NCT sex scandal thing, an important bit of news about K-pop contracts dropped as the Ministry Of Culture Sports & Tourism (MCST) announced revisions to the standard contract.

Part of it is focused on trademarks and intellectual property rights.

The revision made it clear that management can use the trademarks of artists only to provide pop culture and art services, preventing management from abusing trademarks. 
Terms detailing the surrender of trademarks by agencies can now be categorized depending on whether the artist is a group act or a solo act under the agency.

There’s also some lip service to an artist’s mental and physical health, though it’s still unclear what the guidelines entail.

When performing popular culture and arts services, management must consider an artist’s mental and physical situation and cannot impose a schedule that goes against the artist’s explicit intentions. Artists also can refuse to provide services in situations that have unjustifiable grounds or when management makes unreasonable demands beyond the exclusive contract.

I’d argue the main section is inspired by two high-profile recent cases.

First, EXO-CBX situation, as MCST limited contracts exceeding seven years and can’t be extended unilaterally by the companies.

Under the current standard contract, a contract period exceeding seven years is possible, but the termination of the contract can occur at any time after the seven years. Under the revision, the initial contract period cannot exceed seven years. It now requires a written agreement between all parties involved for extension.

Then the FIFTY FIFTY situation, where the artists are limited for three years, which is aimed at reducing the efficacy of tampering (also EXO-CBX, honestly).

When an artist moves to a new agency after the end of an exclusive contract, the ban on the reproduction or sales of similar content by the new agency has been extended from one year to three years. 
This clause will likely result in lowering the initial expected profits of the new agency. It is intended to discourage tampering and prevent settlement disputes by specifying the end dates of intellectual property rights after the contract period.

The MCST says they hope the new contract stipulations will resolve difficulties and disputes between artists and companies.

In a way though, this sorta feels like rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic, wherein the Titanic is artist rights. Okay, sure they get limited contract lengths, but that’s how it was supposed to be to begin with. In exchange they get vague promising of being able to refuse things that endanger their health (which will probably need legal challenges to mean anything), and the trademark issue seems undercut by the three year ban. Mostly what this seems to do is provide leverage to the companies the idols are signed to already, which after the FIFTY FIFTY situation, I presume is what these revisions are actually all about.

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