A SMALL and intimate paid event for fans of K-pop boy group ENHYPEN in Manila was canceled after the Korean agency of the band threatened to bring them to court for unauthorized use of images and brand.
What’s driving the news?
ENHYPEN is scheduled to have a concert in the Philippines on February 3 to 5.
The South Korean boy group is composed of Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-ki. They are famous for their hit tracks FEVER, Polaroid Love, and Drunk-Dazed.
A paid pre-concert fan event called ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY1 was set up on Facebook Group. The event is supposed to be a gathering of ENHYPEN fans only.
This caught the attention of BELIFT LAB, a joint venture between Korea-based superlabel Big Hit Entertainment and conglomerate CJ ENM.
BELIFT LAB said the organizers of the fan event violated copyright laws. The Korean label company claimed the Philippine organizers are using “content” of ENHYPEN without prior authorization or even discussions from them.
The fan event
It is not known exactly who were the organizers of the fan event.
Apparently ENHYPEN fans who call themselves ENGENES initiated this event to promote the K-pop group and to provide enjoyment for their fellow Filipino fans.
The festivaI started as an ENHYPEN OT7 Photo Exhibition to exhibit “fansite-taken photographs of the group members and conduct activities for the fans to enjoy.”
Attendees are also free to conduct merchandise trading during the said event.
Later, it was rebranded as ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY1.
It was supposed to be held this Saturday, January 7. The venue is small – a function room in a Mandaluyong condominium’s clubhouse.
“Intellectual property” violations
Apparently, BELIFT LAB has engaged a Philippine law firm to deal with the legal action against the Philippine fan group.
It also tapped the services of WeVerse Company, the official fanclub app of Enhypen, to communicate with all the registered fans of Enhypen in the Philippines.
In a mass email, WeVerse warned Filipino fans of Enhypen that the ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 paid event is “unauthorized.”
“If the event host pushes ahead with this event, we will take legal actions for infringement of intellectual property,” WeVerse said.
“We would like to take this opportunity to highlight that this is an unauthorized event being held without any discussions with our company. BELIFT LAB assumes no responsibility for any damage resulting from the event,” the agency wrote in a Facebook post. “We will continue to work to ensure that the rights of our artists are fully protected.”
Why is it such a big deal?
Upon learning about the event, BELIFT LAB reached out to the organizers, conveying their concerns on a potential copyright infringement case.
According to the label, the mere use of the band name ENHYPEN and all related content is subject to copyright and the unauthorized use of these materials may result in a lawsuit.
While the fan project was said to be a non-profit event, participants were asked to pay a registration fee ranging from P 250 to P 400 to finance the expenses of the event.
Screengrab from ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1’s Facebook post
The festival is supposed to take place at the Avida Towers Centera Clubhouse in Mandaluyong City on January 7.
ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 explains
After the posted warning, the organizers of the ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 issued a statement in a Twitter post.
ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 organizers said they were first called by the group’s management in November 3 to express the label’s concern regarding the “potential copyright infringement on the band name ENHYPEN.” The organizers noted that the group has been the highlight and basis of the said event.
In line with this, BELIFT LAB’s legal representatives asked the organizers to submit a full report on the event’s details, including the event partners, source of funding, promotional and marketing strategies.
On November 15, the organizers complied with the request by submitting a full report on ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1’s event proposals and memorandum of agreements with event partners.
According to the event organizers, they have “iterated countless times that ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 or now called as ALWAYS TOGETHER: The Festival is a harmless, fan-organized, non-profit event created to promote ENHYPEN and for the enjoyment of ENGENES.”
However, the group’s label still recommended the following to the event hosts:
- To strongly recommend cancellation of the ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1;
- To refrain from using ENHYPEN to promote any event; and
- To avoid potential copyright infringement by not holding a similar event in the future.
The organizers informed BELIFT LAB’s legal team that they cannot cancel the event as they are “at 70% completion towards D-Day ” and they cannot refund the payment from the registered participants as the funds have already been exhausted.
Instead of canceling the event as suggested by ENHYPEN’s management, the organizers reformat the fan event from ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 to ALWAYS TOGETHER: The Festival. The hosts then asked the label for their feedback and approval on their proposal.
Screengrab from ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1’s Facebook post
The organizers said they received a cease and desist order in January 4 from BELIFT LAB through Filipino lawyers, demanding to cancel the event to avoid copyright lawsuit. The ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 hosts were only given until January 5 to decide.
The ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 organizers expressed their dismay for not receiving the same treatment as other fan events held in the country and abroad.
“We regret to say that this is not the response we expected from BELIFT LAB, and we are deeply disappointed that we did not get the same treatment as other similar existing fan projects and those that have already been concluded,” the event organizers wrote in a statement.
As they officially canceled the event, ENHAFESTIVAL: DAY 1 organizers also released a financial statement for the purpose of transparency.
At the moment, they are in the process of reaching out to registered participants of the event regarding the compensation and other concerns. The organizers also apologized for the inconvenience caused.
Banner courtesy: BELIFT LAB