Earlier this month, we reported that Kang Daniel, of Wanna One fame, was allegedly in a dispute with his agency, LM Entertainment, over differences with regards to his social media.
Recent developments between the two parties have escalated, with each issuing statements through their legal counsel.
On 21 March, Kang Daniel reportedly filed an injunction against LM Entertainment requesting for the suspension of his exclusive contract with them.
In a copy of the statement obtained by K-pop news site Soompi, it stated:
"On [March] 21, singer Kang Daniel's legal representative Yulchon LLC submitted an application to the Seoul Central District Court for an injunction against LM Entertainment for the suspension of his exclusive contract.
Yulchon lawyer Yeom Yong Pyo (head of sports entertainment conflict department), who is in charge of this case, revealed, "Without the prior consent of Kang Daniel, LM Entertainment signed joint business contracts that sell Kang Daniel's exclusive contract rights to third parties. The application for injunction was submitted as [LM Entertainment] completely breached [the terms of] his contract."
He explained, "The decision for injunction is typically determined quickly in approximately one to two months, and if [the request] is accepted, Kang Daniel can immediately begin independent activities in the entertainment industry."
He added, "Kang Daniel feels bad that the incident has become a legal [matter] and expresses his deep apologies to the fans who cherish him. He shared his hopes for the incident to be resolved as quickly as possible."
In response, LM Entertainment has denied all of the accusations that Kang Daniel raised, in particular, the signing of "joint business contracts that sell Kang Daniel's exclusive contract rights to third parties."
Their statement reads:
"1. Hello. This is lawyer Kim Mun Hee from the law firm Jipyong, representing Kang Daniel's agency LM Entertainment.
I am relaying LM Entertainment's official statement on the recent application for an injunction and subsequent suspension of his exclusive contract by Kang Daniel.
2. The exclusive contract between Kang Daniel and LM Entertainment is a standard exclusive contract provided by the Fair Trade Commission, and LM Entertainment has paid the signing bonus agreed to in the contract. Despite this, before his contract even went into effect, [Kang Daniel] sent us a notice through a representative vaguely saying that the contract was unfair, requesting that the contract be changed without giving us any specifics. Afterwards, we had four negotiation meetings with a CEO Won, who had declared himself a mediator, but we eventually received a notice from various lawyers with false truths, including a claim that [Kang Daniel] never received the signing bonus.
Moreover, this latest injunction from Kang Daniel's side claims that LM Entertainment breached contract terms by signing over rights to a third party, but the contract in question is simply a contract in which LM Entertainment receives an investment from Kang Daniel's old agency, MMO Entertainment, in order to best support Kang Daniel in his entertainment activities. LM Entertainment has never signed exclusive rights over to another party and holds all rights, including for album planning, fan meetings, concerts, and other performance contracts, merchandise businesses, casting, and management. LM Entertainment exclusively exercises these rights, with no participation from anyone.
3. LM Entertainment has refrained from taking any immediate action in the interest of reaching a mutual agreement, and has sat down several times with the various representatives of Kang Daniel in order to dispel misunderstandings and in a continued effort to reach a point of compromise. However, Kang Daniel's side has changed representatives as well as their stance on issues several times, eventually ignoring what was discussed in our meetings and filing for an injunction and termination of his contract.
The situation is such that LM Entertainment has no choice but to carefully review the contents of the injunction request and to take legal action.
4. LM Entertainment had been preparing so that Kang Daniel would immediately be able to jump into solo promotions once his contract went into effect, and we regret having to relay this kind of news to Kang Daniel's fans and to the public.
Though we have no choice but to move forward with the legal dispute, LM Entertainment will, with an open mind, continue its efforts towards regaining trust and reaching a compromise with Kang Daniel as well as working on getting Kang Daniel back to his activities as soon as possible. Thank you."
Today, Kang Daniel's legal representative issued another statement to clarify points mentioned in LM Entertainment's statement, as well as to clarify Kang's stand on the matter.
In the statement, Kang's lawyer focused on the fact that "LM Entertainment transferred various rights of Kang Daniel stated in his exclusive contract to a third party at a cost without his consent."
The lawyer further went on to say that major rights of Kang's exclusive contract with LM Entertainment, including "music content production/distribution rights, concert/overseas business rights and bargaining rights of entertainment activities", had been allegedly granted to the third party in return for compensation, without informing Kang or obtaining his consent.
Meanwhile, the hearing date for this court injunction has been set on 5 April 2019.
This follows a dramatic split by the singer and LM Entertainment, which saw Kang setting up his own private Instagram account (@daniel.k.here) and explained his actions to his fans.
He wrote, "Because I couldn't show you all how I was doing on social media and I thought that you'd be worried, I requested my agency to transfer the social media accounts under my name [to me], so I can deliver even the smallest of updates.
Although I repeatedly made these requests and waited for the agency to voluntarily transfer the accounts in order to show you all a better side of me, the company refused the requests for the transfer of the social media accounts, and an article about my dispute [with the agency] was released today."
His last update on Instagram took place on 4 March, where he captioned his first photo, "Hello. It's been so long."
Since then, Kang has halted all his activities and has not posted any further updates to his social media accounts.
We definitely hope this ends well, and that we get to see Kang back for his usual activities soon!
This story is developing. Stay tuned for more updates.