The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced on Sunday that it would henceforth root out “irrational” practices in the entertainment industry such as overwork by entertainers and unwritten contracts, in an effort to stop scandals such as the recent controversy surrounding the Belt and Road Initiative. Singer Lee Seung Gi’s former agency, Hook Entertainment, did not pay.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said on Sunday it would abolish the entertainment industry’s practice of unfairly binding contracts through an annual labor report and amendments to existing laws, including the Popular Culture and Arts Industry Law.
The announcement follows a legal dispute over Lee’s 18-year outstanding payment contract and the agency’s alleged threats. Social discussions about the nature of artists’ contracts with agencies have intensified recently, according to a release from the Ministry of Culture on Sunday.
Pop culture artists in particular do not have large followings and are being “exploited” increasingly, the culture ministry said on Sunday.
“With Korean culture maintaining a lot of attention and applause, strengthening the entertainment industry ecosystem is important to seek continued growth and protect vulnerable groups within the industry,” Culture Minister Park Bo-gyun said at a news conference on Sunday. “Our aim is to make promoting fairness in the popular culture and arts industry a core project for the coming year.”
Specifically, the Ministry of Culture said it would amend Article 13 of the Popular Culture and Arts Industry Law so that in the case of unfair contracts, more administrative measures would be taken, not just warnings and recommendations to institutions. Corrective measures such as fines and an investigation by the Fair Trading Commission will be offered.
According to Article 18 of the “Popular Culture and Art Industry Law”, the industry status, market size and work environment survey are published every other year. As of 2021, 4,610 businesses have registered in the entertainment industry, of which 1,416 businesses responded to the most recent survey.
Rep. Lim Jong-sung of the National Assembly’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee proposed legislation to protect industrial workers, especially young people. The culture ministry said it would provide educational programs for young workers hoping to enter the industry, including on what rights they are entitled to when entering into a contract.
Lin Zhengyuan [firstname.lastname@example.org]