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(LEAD) Hundreds of businesses violate 'Descendants of the Sun' publicity rights: producers

All News 17:56 April 29, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS production company's statement in paras 9-10)

SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) -- Producers of the South Korean hit TV series "Descendants of the Sun" said Friday there have been hundreds of violations of their rights to control the commercial use of the show's identity, also known as publicity rights.

Production company NEW said it will press charges against these violators and is currently in the process of collecting evidence to present to the authorities.

"Hundreds of businesses have tried to advertise products using scenes taken from our show without permission," an official with the company told Yonhap News Agency.

Businesses "of all shapes and sizes" in both South Korea and China have tried to take advantage of the show's success, NEW said.

"Even if their products have nothing to do with our show, they have used our images in their advertising," the official said.

Even the official sponsors of the show starring actor Song Joong-ki and actress Song Hye-kyo have violated its rights, but NEW says most of them removed images that would have made them liable when producers raised the issue.

The announcement comes with actress Song locked in a legal feud with J.ESTINA, a jewelry maker that she says used her images from the KBS 2TV series without permission.

In refuting Song's claims, the jeweler, one of the show's sponsors, publicly revealed a copy of the sponsorship contract earlier this week.

NEW released a statement later Friday, saying it is prepared to take J.ESTINA to court over the alleged violations.

"J.ESTINA is not entitled to the rights to freely use the captured images and edited video clips of 'Descendants of the Sun,'" NEW stated. "We will take all possible legal measures against J.ESTINA, one of our official product placement (PPL) sponsors, for its unwarranted use of scenes from 'Descendants of the Sun.'"

NEW has previously sided with the actress, saying although J.ESTINA made deals with the production company, it did not have one with Song. Therefore, the company said, the jeweler should have asked the actress separately for permission.

"We never allowed J.ESTINA to use Song's personality rights without her permission," a NEW official said.


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