The K-pop industry is more global and popular; thus, the demand for merchandise related to the idols are also increasing. But then, the counterfeit and bootlegged merchandise existence become a big problem for the company and artists. For an ARMY, having BTS merchandise is a must. Big Hit Entertainment, the agency label that manages one of the most popular Korean pop boybands, BTS, has taken serious action to protect the copyrights of BTS merchandise.
Preventing the BTS Merchandise Bootleg and Counterfeit
One of the company’s efforts to protect the copyright of BTS is by not activating the screenshot function on the BTS World game. This Korean company claimed that they have an exclusive right to the BTS trademark.
There is an exclusive agreement with Live Nation Merchandise, Inc. to distribute the official [BTS] tour merchandise at or near the concerts’ venue. While outside the concert’s site, some people are selling illegal BTS merchandise such as shirts, stationery, posters, clothing, and more.
Cracking Down the BTS Merchandise Bootleg and Counterfeit
⚠️ Although they have been on our blocklist for quite some time, please block and report @/BTS_jp_fancafe and @/btsglobal_fc as a scam in the link below👇https://t.co/ZvkDE3ohzf— Report ARMY⁷ (@report_army) November 1, 2019
Advertising a fake WW Go for tour merchandisehttps://t.co/R2pXD8oxMShttps://t.co/oG1G5Mmssu pic.twitter.com/ifdzCk7i3w
Even so, the rise of counterfeited and bootlegged BTS merchandise that sold outside the BTS’ concert location has caused a big loss for the company as well as the band. On April 25, 2019, Big Hit Entertainment filed a preliminary lawsuit against bootleggers and counterfeiters. This action not only against bootleggers and counterfeiters offline but also online.
[공지] 아티스트의 초상, 상표권 무단 사용 및 위조 상품에 대한 공지 (+ENG) pic.twitter.com/JfeA4F54pj— BigHit Entertainment (@BigHitEnt) October 23, 2019
There are four causes of action against the bootleggers and counterfeiters:
- The counterfeiters and Bootleggers have violated the Lanham Act.
- The bootleggers have engaged in unfair competition.
- The counterfeiters have violated the group’s right to privacy.
- The bootleggers have violated California Business & Professions Code §§ 17200.
The Lanham Act or the Trademark Act of 1946 is the federal statute that governs trademarks, service marks, and unfair competition. While California Civil Code § 3344(a) and California Business & Professions Code §§ 17200, defines “unfair competition.” Those are: “Unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act[s] or practice[s].” For example:
- Selling products or services at different prices or below cost.
- “Bait-and-switch” advertising.
- Confuse the customers for goods or services origin.
- False products or services.
BTS Reputation is Harmed by Counterfeiter and Bootlegger
The company claimed, the counterfeiter and bootlegger likely to damage Big Hit Entertainment as well as the boy band BTS reputation, such as:
- Monetary loss (income and profit) due to the sale of unauthorized merchandise.
- Inferior quality of the merchandise.
- Violate the group’s rights to privacy.
For this, Big Hit Entertainment requested the court to immediately seize and destroy all bootleg BTS merchandise that sold outside the concert venues in the US.
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) also has done strict supervision of bootlegged and counterfeited BTS merchandise, by placing its officers in BTS concerts on October 29, 2019, at Seoul Olympic Stadium, South Korea. Moreover, according to the Korean Intellectual Property Office, they have already arrested four wholesalers and people involved in counterfeit BTS merchandise supply and distribution. Further, they also suspected of labeling the merchandise with official BTS trademarks.
Furthermore, Big Hit Entertainment also wins in the case against sales of unauthorized BTS photo books and merchandise in South Korea. These photo books without permission had using BTS’s name and a large number of photos. As no permission, it is considered an act of unfair competition under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act.
Indeed it is not ethical that some people are gaining more advantages than people that have worked hard for it. So, if you are a real ARMY, let’s support and respect the Bangtan Boys, buy official BTS merchandise. You can purchase original BTS merchandise in their website, too.