Court Rules in Favor of Song Seung Heon Regarding Illegal Usage of Likeness
Maximiliano VCHK, Jan. 14, 2014, 11:50 a.m.
Song Seung Heon won the lawsuit that he had placed against a music production company that had violated his publicity rights by using his photos, videos, and most importantly his name after the contract had expired. The worst part of the continued usage of Song Seung Heon's likeness was that he wasn't properly compensated for it... or compensated at all.
The Seoul Central District Court quoted Seong Seung Heon's agency Storm S Company as stating, "We ask for compensation for damages from the violation of the right of publicity and a reimbursement for the payment associated with the contract for use of portrait rights."
Production company H had previously chosen Song Seung Heon to be the image of their company, and to promote their gukak (traditional Korean music) musical. Both parties had signed a contract for Song Seung Hun to be compensated for the usage of his image and likeness in order to promote the musical in 2010. The musical was a success, and the actor agreed to a contract extension which would begin for the second half of 2011 and second half of 2012 with the conditions that he would be paid about $7,900 USD per month until the contract expired. The company however only paid for July-August 2011, and July 2012 and refused to continue payment but continued to use his images and name on their homepage after the contract expired.
Song Seung Heon sued company H for the violation and breach of contract, and also pressed that they will be fined about $284 USD per day if they did not cease and desist. The court ruled in the actor's favor, and made the decision final on the hearing that took place January 10.
The court commented, "Company H is obliged to pay back the unpaid fees of 82,500,000 KRW (~$78,000 USD) due to Mr. Song and for the usage of Mr.Song's portrait rights even after the expiration of the contract, [company H] is obliged to pay 91,700,000 KRW (~$86,670 USD) and in the case of continued violation, a fine of 300,000 KRW (~$284 USD) will be demanded each day afterwards."