In a recent case that sent shockwaves through the K-pop industry, a 28-year-old male was handed a suspended prison sentence for posing as a member of the globally-renowned K-pop group BTS and leaking unreleased tracks.

The male, referred to as “A,” was found guilty of violating the Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection. Last July 17, the Western Branch of the Daegu District Court’s Criminal Division 9 sentenced “A” to a one-year and two-month prison term, suspended for three years. In addition to the suspended sentence, “A” was told to complete 240 hours of community service and 40 hours of psychiatric/mental health education.

This case dates back to February 22, 2022, when “A” contacted a producer from Big Hit Music, the agency managing BTS, from his home in Seo-gu, Daegu. Pretending to be a member of the group, “A” tricked the producer, referred to as “B,” into giving him confidential information on their activities and unreleased tracks.

Over the next three months, “A” posted the unreleased music files on Instagram or passed them to others 47 times via KakaoTalk. Not only did this violate the privacy of BTS and the producer, but it also disrupted BigHit Music’s music production, release, and sales operations.

Investigations revealed that “A” found “B’s” personal information on the internet and impersonated a successful composer to impress other people. The prosecution initially demanded a 1.5-year prison term for “A.” But the defense argued that “A’s” previous criminal record made it challenging for him to form healthy relationships, leading to an obsession with social media. They further revealed that “A” used to study music but became jealous of his successful peers, which was why they committed this crime.

The court took into consideration the popularity and sales of the artist in question, concluding that the victims must have suffered significant financial and social damage. However, it also noted that most of the leaks were short clips of 10 to 20 seconds, and they had since been officially released. Additionally, Big Hit Music withdrew its complaint.

This case serves as a reminder of the potential risks and violations that can occur in the digital age, where confidential data can be easily misused. It underscores the need for stringent cybersecurity measures and ethical online behavior to protect artists and their creative content. –K-pop News Writer

Featured Image: The leaked songs mentioned in this article reportedly ended up on BTS’s “Proof.” Source: Weverse/Weverse Magazine’s BTS ‘Proof’ release interview.