[Trans] Truths and Distortions Regarding the Dong Bang Shin Ki Affair

Truths and Distortions Regarding the Dong Bang Shin Ki Affair… “A Trap with a 11 Million USD Price-Tag” (An interview with insiders)

[SportsSeoul.com| Reporters Song Eun Ju, Na Ji Yeon]

August 4, 2009

“[They] are angry with SM’s lies”

The fate of idol group Dong Bang Shin Ki is uncertain. The relationship between 3 members of Dong Bang Shin Ki (Micky Yoochun, Xiah Junsu, Youngwoong Jaejoong) and SM Entertainment has soured beyond repair. Although everyone is saying, ‘They must not disband’, if one closely examines the current situation the breakup has already happened. Even if they manage to avoid the worst-case scenario of a disbandment, their separation with SM is a given in the current mood.

On the third, insiders close to the three members of Dong Bang Shin Ki revealed that “they (Dong Bang Shin Ki) already attempted many times to negotiate with SM. However, neither side could come to an agreement” and so “the reason why it has reached the level of the courts is because they couldn’t find common ground.” At this stage, further dialogue is meaningless, according to these evaluations.

The insiders that we met are those closest to Dong Bang Shin Ki on the level of acquaintances. These are people who’ve known [the Dong Bang Shin Ki members] from before their debut and have gone through thick and thin with them. According to them, the position of Dong Bang Shin Ki is single-minded and simple. Alleviate the burdens of the unequal exclusive contract. However, instead of addressing this core issue, the dialogue between the two parties ran in parallels that never approached agreement. They (the three DBSK members) “requested that the length of the contract and the earnings distribution scheme be changed. Because anyone could see the terms were irrational,” and “they tried until they could to solve all problems through dialogue. However, they got the clear impression that SM was trying to avoid it. In the end, both sides only grated on the other’s nerves. Now, the three members are feeling greater anger at SM’s response.”

“The truth behind 3 of SM’s distortions”

In truth, after this controversy broke out, SM issued two press statements on the 1st and 3rd, respectively. On the first day of the heated controversy, [SM said], “we will try our best to resolve this issue which was caused by a cosmetics business” as their official position, and the day that the terms of the contract became the focus of attention, they responded, “but we gave them 11 million USD in cash and foreign sports cars as gifts.”


On this, the insiders told us, “the core issue of this case is the unfair contract not cosmetics. And yet, SM is not even bothering to address the terms of this irrationally unfair contract but instead are manipulating the media to make it seem like the cosmetics business is the reason why this controversy arose,” in refuting [SM’s position].


Then, they focused on the 11 million USD cash amount. They said, “According to SM, [DBSK members] received 11 million USD over six years. But this amount is pre-tax profit. If we calculate the amount received after tax deductions and then divide among five, the amount they received over six years comes out to be barely 200,000 USD per person per year,” adding that “in the latter half of this year Dong Bang Shin Ki earned 2.5 billion yen (33 million USD) in album sales. However, Dong Bang Shin Ki was working for 200,000 USD per year.”


To give an illustration, Dong Bang Shin Ki thus far has released 48 albums. Of those, the ones released only in Korea, including singles, sold 1,960,000 units. In Japan, they released 4 full-length albums as well as 27 singles, of which 8 sold 100,000 units and 1 sold 250,000 units. If one includes sales from Southeast Asia, the number of albums sold goes up to at least 4 million. [The insiders] pointed out the absurd methods of calculation. They said, “SM arbitrarily removed fees for back-dancers and even meals. It appears overhead costs were paid for using Dong Bang Shin Ki’s share [of earnings],” and added, “even in Japan, several local subsidiary companies were used so that Dong Bang Shin Ki’s earnings were further depleted. For example, Avex shared the earnings with SM Japan, and then again with SM Korea. In the complicated distribution structure, Dong Bang Shin Ki’s share could only shrink further.”


They also revealed that the company did indeed give foreign cars as gifts. They said, “After [DBSK] received an award at a music awards show, SM gave [DBSK] cars as gifts. However, the cars are ultimately the property of SM. Dong Bang Shin Ki does not own them,” clarifying the parameters of the gifts.

“Currently the 3 are fed up and exhausted”

According to the insiders, the three members of Dong Bang Shin Ki are fed up with SM’s manipulation of the media. They no longer have any desire to talk to a company that takes the truth and distorts it; their hearts have been sufficiently scarred by disappointment of the company’s comportments.


The three “predicted that SM would use the media to a certain extent but not that it would fall to the level of distorting facts. The more it continues in this fashion, the more they find it unreasonable to continue working together. It would be preferable to eventually separate with SM and go a different road.”


Obviously a separation with SM does not necessarily signify the disbandment of Dong Bang Shin Ki. At the moment, the insiders are confident that there is no discord between the members. They are getting along well as a family, and they plan hereafter, under whatever circumstances, to continue activities together; on this point they all agree.


At the same time, an insider revealed, “In truth, in the beginning the five all moved with one mind, together. However, in the process of discussing with one another the other two started showing slight differences of opinion. Because of this, in the end only the three followed through on the decision to fight the company,” in spite of the fact that “all [five] of them agree that the terms of the contract are irrational. It’s just that their preferred methods of dealing with this were different.”

“Even after separating with SM, we’ll continue with Dong Bang Shin Ki”

Right now, the resolve of Micky Yoochun, Xiah Junsu and Youngwoong Jaejoong is stronger than ever. According to the insiders, “they are showing a stronger resolve than even before they debuted. No matter what difficulty or animosity they meet, the three are absolutely determined to pull together and push through.”


They are also just as determined to reunite as five under the name Dong Bang Shin Ki. They said, “Even if the three end up permanently leaving their management company through this lawsuit, this just means they are parting ways with SM not that Dong Bang Shin Ki is disbanded,” and so “whether the other two follow them out on a later date or whether they each end up in different management companies, the [three members] want to continue working as five as the group Dong Bang Shin Ki.”


If that is case, can the three members who left use the name ‘Dong Bang Shin Ki’ for themselves? Upon investigating, we found out that ‘Dong Bang Shin Ki’ as a group name is not trademarked or patented. In 2004, SM submitted an application to have the name trademarked but was denied. To repeat, SM has no rights to the team name ‘Dong Bang Shin Ki’. According to Hwang Seong Pil, patent lawyer at the Office of Patent Law, “The term ‘Dong Bang’ signifies the East and so is not a unique enough term to merit an exclusive use [through trademark]. This is probably why the Patent Office rejected the application,” and “SM currently can’t claim an exclusive trademark. There is no problem with the five members using the name Dong Bang Shin Ki, regardless of SM’s position on the matter.”


At the present moment, what Dong Bang Shin Ki feels more than anything is apologetic toward their fans. It’s because they wanted to complete all their scheduled appearances as promised. The insiders revealed, “if they lose the lawsuit they might have to pay an incredibly high contract cancellation fee. However, they are finding it harder to handle the inevitable separation from their fans during the lawsuit,” communicating also their (the insiders’) regret with regards to this situation.


<Photographs = Reporter Lee Seung Hun, SM Entertainment, Singles>

Source: SportsSeoul.com

Translated by: Jimmie of TheJYJFiles

Shared by: TheJYJFiles

Please do not add/remove credits


39 thoughts on “[Trans] Truths and Distortions Regarding the Dong Bang Shin Ki Affair

    • Rather than wishing for the death of someone, I’d rather wish for them to change their philosophy or to cut losses and focus on something else. I agree it’s been dragged out for too long, but I’d feel really, really terrible if something so drastic actually did happen to a human life as a result of this conflict. Also, the end of a ruler/owner does not necessarily mean that the rest of the company will change their approach/mindset.

  1. Thanks always for your effort to help JYJ.
    They really need it. Whenever I read about how TVXQ members were exploited, I get
    really sad and angry. It makes my blood boil. But getting angry at SM is not enough.
    Please let me know what I can do to help JYJ other than buying their CDs, books,etc…
    I really appreciate what you are doing for JYJ. What SM has done is a crime against
    humanity. Keep up a good work!!

  2. Just wanted to add: This is an article from over a year ago but JYJ’s position never wavered, never changed from day one. They have always been consistent in their stance and their goals. I love these boys sfm! ~Ceci

    • But isn’t that time JYJ said to not believe any statement from any acquaintances?? They even change their phone number to prevent any distortion.

      Of course is not that i not believe JYJ of course. I just wanna to ask is it okay to trust this acquaintances??

    • “They have always been consistent in their stance and their goals.”

      Why I love them, too. And it’s good to have these older articles published again now, when there are more lies and distortions around. I feel so impressed when I see how JYJ have not wavered since July 2009.

  3. I’ve read this before, this is a kind of old article isn’t it?
    Anyways, it’s interesting to read it now keeping in mind everything that has happened. The problems are still the same, but there are new problems on top of that plus their friendship has soured considerably.
    Thanks for the article Jimmie!

  4. thank you for all the articles…
    You do all the hard work of documenting all of them for us to use to defend our boys. Tks

  5. OMG! Chrome capture image, save, heading back to read with chips in my cozy bed. OMG what is this shit! SME is the biggest shit i ever known.

  6. JYJ will win this… I am sure they will… SME will use all the cards they still have but they will eventually run out of tricks… The truth shall prevail and all the haters will eat their words…

    SME needs to respect change. Their artists are not brainless puppets that will just nod when their strings are pulled. JYJ took the chance to be the ones to cut those binding ropes, and I do hope that one day, these former ‘family’ they knew from SME will learn to thank them for the favor the three had done for them.

    • And also, “2억원” = 200 Million Won = US $178K?
      From all the translated version I’ve read before, it was always 11 Billion Won & 200 Million Won 😐

    • We fixed the errors, thanks for pointing them out ^^ Korean counts by ten thousands while in the west, we count by thousands. Jimmie was tired when she translated this lol *pats Jimmie on back* (she’s been working extra hard these days, the dear woman).

      • All of these millions are confusing me too… my converter says that 250 millions yen is 3 millions USD, but in the article it says it’s 33 millions ? *too many zeroes, cannot compute*

      • Ach! >.<
        It's supposed to read 2.5 billion yen…which equates to 33 billion won which is roughly 33 million USD (the currency rate has fluctuated quite a bit in the last 10 years so I use the standard 1 USD = 1000 won).

        Sorry for the confusion.

  7. The thing that has changed recently is Homin’s stance.
    They now fully support SM sadly rather than trying to figure out
    a different method around the contracts which shocked everyone
    even JYJ themselves.

    Why the change of heart Homin? Who is in you guys ears? why won’t you
    fight if you believed at one point this SM was irrational the contracts? Now
    you’re thanking Soo Man and kicking JYJ our y’all hearts. 😦

    • I think HM change of heart is because SM. Remember YC lyric, he said when the boss called them, he would only talk about other member, behind their back. It’s a prove that boss couldn’t be trust, and for this two years imagine what kind of lie he sprout to HM?

      • yes, I agree to that. and another thing I notice noone mentioned…has anyone thought about how HoMin may just be waiting their time out? So far, noone has questioned if HoMin themselves have actually gone on to extend their contracts with SM, such as SuJu has done.

      • I know right, but like why would HM believe them? I mean the love for each other should be stronger than whatever hold on SM. *sigh*… idk. I just wish HM happiness if that’s where it lies, being with SM and all. I know JYJ will win this and prosper! Hopefully the 5 of them can get back together.

      • Oh that’s right! It’s like THE BOSS tried to spread manipulation among members. This would lead to misunderstanding between them. So, at this point, it’s clearly that SM tried to seperate them from each other. So lame old fashion kind of way!

  8. Seriously? $200.000 per year??? For the most famous band in Asia???

    I know SM is bad… I don’t know they are this evil…

  9. I remember reading this. Those boys have held true to their promises and I really respect them for that and many other things. Kind of funny in a tragic way but it seems that even KARA were much better paid them DBSK. Didn’t DSP say that they paid the girls 300.000$ yearly and our boys got 200.0000$ from SM. Both are kind of funny numbers considering their positions.

  10. I hope they can still work together even though they are under different contracts… After JYJ get rid of SM and after the members resolved their personal problems (I am sure there are problems) they can work as five again… won’t be the same but better than nothing…

  11. I too saw this one when it first came out last year. This is about my 2nd or 3rd reading of this article and it still doesn’t read any better. The bitter taste remains. I find it truly amazing when I read comments about them being greedy and only doing this for money! Well duh!! Working for free is called charity. Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you would work anywhere for free. If you are comfortable doing that, then so be it. I personally look forward to seeing my direct deposit every payday. 🙂

    My greatest wish for these young men, JaeJoong, Yoochun, Junsu is that once this ordeal if finally over, they realize it was not for ought. They will have managed to maintain their dignity, their rights, and the chance to pursue their futures/dreams unfettered.

    Once the contract has been declared ‘invalid’, and has been voided, then true justice can be sought. If their legal team is as good as has been reported, they will be able to regain their copyright rights and royality rights. For those who say they are ungrateful, try creating something from your heart and soul, then have someone say to you…you have no right to it. Talk is cheap.

    • Love your comment ^_^
      I really want to ask those ppl same question: try to put themselves in boys’ position. Will they willing to work for free? Im sure the answer will be NO

      I see no prob in demanding what you deserve resulted from your hard work. That is NOT greedy

      Love JYJ, and that’s that. They have my love and respect

    • I hadn’t thought of them being able to regain the rights to their lyrics and music. I was going to be satisfied with a judgment that allows them leave SME, contract nullification or not, now I have a reason to really push for a clear JYJ victory. The intellectual rights was one of the clear violations of international agreements as well. I hope this is in the legal game plan.

      • Hey, you 🙂 *waves*

        Since reading here about all the international agreements that SM’s contracts don’t fall in line with, I’ve been thinking about the intellectual property rights, too. It makes me sick to think that JaeSuChun could lose any rights to their self-composed songs — and to imagine SM giving them to any other artists to perform (I don’t mean to HoMin, but to other SM artists) and JYJ wouldn’t make any royalties. I hope the IP rights are in the scope of their lawsuit, too. (And wondering about the IP rights to their Japanese songs ’cause I dearly love those, too… IIRC the Japanese copyright system is a little different from Korea’s? But there’s the whole “SM Japan/SM Korea” thing… *sigh*)

      • HI! 😀

        I’m really curious about the songs they did in Japan as well, because they seemed a lot more comfortable composing there. I think they must have known the conditions of their contract by the time they wrote “Colors” and I don’t see them giving away something as awesome as that song and “Shelter.” I’m sure Avex has the licence for the length of their contract, but after… It’s messy.

      • Keeping my fingers crossed that it is.

        I believe one of the reasons, the law firm has not played their hand about monetary compensation, is to not give SME any head-start in digging in once the decision comes down. Since money is the motivating factor with the above mentioned company, hitting them where it hurts is the best revenge. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw somewhere they (the law firm) have only asked for a preliminary amount of about $3M USD. This we all know is chump change.
        The big money in the entertainment industry is copyright and royalties – just ask Elvis’ heirs. 🙂 In perpetuity…for always. Not only is it a matter of monetary rights, it also is about leaving a legacy for their children one day.

  12. Pingback: (TRANS) Truths and Distortions Regarding the Dong Bang Shin Ki Affair « jyj3

  13. Thank you for republishing this one. People forget where the real case lies and it’s not about the cosmetic business (which SM has been referring to as their defense ever since…)

    I’m just sad that some fans say that JYJ should stop since SM has already changed the contracts of their artists. It’s not only about changing contracts. SM has done unfair things and it’s about time that someone from the inside speak up. Why would they retract their case? It’s all about principle and making a change in the industry.

  14. Pingback: [TRANS] Truths and Distortions Regarding the Dong Bang Shin Ki Affair | JYJ3

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