BTS' agency HYBE warns military community app The Camp against unauthorized use of artist's IP for monetary gains

BTS’ agency HYBE have issued a warning to the military community app The Camp for using BTS photos and their name for monetary gain. Read on to know more.

Updated on Apr 02, 2024  |  04:00 PM IST |  162.3K
BTS (Image Credits- BIGHIT MUSIC)
BTS (Image Credits- BIGHIT MUSIC)
Key Highlight
  • BTS’ intellectual property is said to be exploited by startup military app The Camp
  • HYBE has issued warning due to many violations by the app in terms of using BTS without consent

HYBE, the agency representing BTS, issued a warning to The Camp, a military letter app, for unauthorized use of the faces and names of BTS members currently serving in the military. The agency has expressed intentions to explore legal action, citing this unauthorized usage as a violation of publicity rights.

BTS intellectual property used unauthorized by The Camp

HYBE Corporation, the entertainment giant representing BTS, has issued a strong warning to The Camp, a military communications app. This comes in response to the unauthorized use of BTS' images and names without consent, specifically through the app's Recommended Star Soldier feature. HYBE has identified this as a direct violation of their intellectual property rights. The warning highlights the importance of the right to publicity, emphasizing the right to derive economic benefits from the use of one's face, name, and other personal attributes.

The Camp is a platform enabling family and acquaintances to send letters to enlisted trainees online through a mobile app and the Internet. Once soldiers complete training and are assigned to their units, they can use the application to leave comments. Following the app's launch, the operator secured a business agreement with the Republic of Korea military, solidifying its role as a communication service for the army.

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The issue arose when The Camp app began using BTS's intellectual property rights without proper authorization. HYBE discovered that the platform's Recommended Star Soldier service, designed to provide information about the artists' military life and community service for fans, extensively used BTS members' faces and names without consent.

Furthermore, individual communities were established for each BTS member with the term "official" included. Since HYBE manages the rights to BTS's official fan community, they viewed this as a violation of their rights.

The Camp also sold dolls and soldier name tags, using the members' real names on the tags. The dolls were priced significantly high, and HYBE asserted that the artists' names also constitute intellectual property. The controversy was initially brought to light by BTS fans, who hinted at a potential boycott of The Camp's services due to the unauthorized use of the members' identities.


HYBE issues warning to The Camp for exploiting BTS

After receiving reports from concerned fans, HYBE formally addressed The Camp with an official letter, citing the act as a "violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act due to infringement of publicity rights" (unauthorized use of intellectual property), a "violation of the Electronic Commerce Act" (misleading fans and consumers through official text), and a potential "violation of the Personal Information Protection Act" (disclosure of service information like the artist's salary, rank, and diet).

In response to HYBE's protest, The Camp management removed BTS-related content and discontinued the sale of the doll and artist name tag package. Despite these actions, the BTS community on the platform continues to operate. The operators reportedly assert that it was a community formed voluntarily by fans and not created by the platform.

HYBE is contemplating legal action against The Camp, asserting that the unauthorized use of an artist's intellectual property, especially during military service, undermines the foundation of the entertainment industry. The company emphasized that being a startup does not grant immunity, highlighting the importance of respecting the efforts and investments made by the industry to discover and nurture artists. HYBE further pointed out that The Camp's actions could be perceived as a tactic to exploit the promotional effects of BTS' fandom without proper authorization, indicating a willingness to continue benefiting without due consideration.

On the other hand, The Camp has not issued an official statement regarding the controversy over BTS' publicity rights infringement, stating, "We have nothing to say."

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About The Author

Pratyusha Dash is an English Literature Graduate from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies with a deep passion for Korean

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