BTS agency Hybe has officially taken legal action against “perpetrators of malicious postings” targeting today’s most popular K-pop group.
Hybe (formerly Big Hit Entertainment), which made a series of high-profile changes at the executive level yesterday, just recently detailed its criticism-focused legal actions. According to this straightforward message, the South Korea-based company (and specifically its Big Hit Music division) “regularly initiates legal proceedings against perpetrators of malicious activities related to BTS, including ill-intentioned criticism, the spread of groundless information, sexual harassment, personal attacks and defamation.”
Consequently, the document serves as an update on these long-running efforts, as opposed to a notice of a pivot towards legal action, the text continues. The company has “filed criminal complaints” involving alleged defamation of character (under Article 70 of South Korea’s Act on Promotion of Information) and for insult (under Article 311 of South Korea’s Criminal Act).
The nuances of said complaints remain unclear, and Big Hit Music relayed on this front that “we may be unable to release further details or comment on pending cases to ensure that perpetrators can be identified and investigations remain confidential.” However, the entity also disclosed that it’s pursued action specifically “against perpetrators who engaged in repeated posting or spreading malicious replies and writings exceeding the boundaries of socially-acceptable expression of opinions on online communities, blogs and social media.”
For reference, Article 311 of the Criminal Act states (according to a translation from the Korea Legislation Research Institute) that “a person who publicly insults another shall be punished by imprisonment or imprisonment without prison labor for not more than one year or by a fine not exceeding two million won,” or $1,769 or so at the present exchange rate. But Article 312, for its part, elaborates that Articles 308 to 311 “shall be prosecuted only upon complaint.”
Seemingly to drive home the idea that it aggressively pursues BTS-related defamation and insult, the Hybe subsidiary indicated that even a stay of proceedings stemming from uncertainty about a defendant’s address didn’t stop one action, which simply continued “after the perpetrator was newly identified.”
Furthermore, for instances “where the criminal complaint was concluded with a sentencing,” Hybe/Big Hit Music continued, “we filed additional civil suits for damages.” And just in case the threat of criminal prosecution and a potentially expensive civil suit wasn’t enough to deter would-be BTS critics from posting online, the company reiterated in closing that all BTS ARMY diehards are encouraged “to make use of the new BIGHIT MUSIC legal hotline,” [email protected], “to submit information regarding BIGHIT MUSIC artists.”