On February 8, KST, the legal representative of IVE’s Wonyoung, talked in detail about the process of suing the YouTuber behind Sojang.
Sojang was an infamous YouTube channel known for spreading false rumors and pumping out malicious content about various K-Pop idols, creating harmful hearsay that often led to huge controversies. Wonyoung and her agency, Starship Entertainment, sued Park, the YouTuber behind the channel, and won the lawsuit partially in January 2024. The court ordered the YouTuber to pay ₩100 million KRW (about $75,100 USD) to the idol in damages.
It was a landmark ruling for K-Pop fandoms since Sojang had harmed many idols before, but none of the entertainment agencies could seem to do anything about it. Wonyoung’s lawyer talked about the reason behind this, explaining that finding out the real person behind the YouTube channel was challenging. Initially, they couldn’t file a formal complaint since the YouTuber’s real name or address was hard to find. Since YouTube creators’ identity information is usually saved on Google’s overseas servers, and it is impossible to conduct a search and seizure abroad, filing a complaint even with an investigative agency wouldn’t have worked out.
But Wonyoung’s legal representatives were not stopped by this significant hurdle. They applied to the US court, which has jurisdiction over Google, and successfully obtained an order to access the necessary information. Meanwhile, when Google notified Park about the court order, they deleted the Sojang YouTube channel immediately. Though they issued an apology along with the removal of the channel, Starship Entertainment and Wonyoung pushed forward with their civil and criminal lawsuits against the YouTuber.
Talking about the importance of this lawsuit for Starship Entertainment, the lawyer stated that stopping Sojang became imperative to ensure an all-over healthier environment for K-Pop artists and fans alike.
Malicious comments insulting celebrities and fake news are being created and reproduced a lot these days, not only causing disruptions to the company’s operations but pushing the fans to protest seriously…When the incident reached a critical point, identifying the culprit and making an announcement provided a sense of relief to fans who must have thought, ‘So all that while, they did take some action.’
Talking about the cost of the entire legal process, the lawyer shared that they had to handle three civil cases and one criminal case domestically while also keeping up with a lawsuit in the US. As a result, the cost incurred was much higher than a regular defamation case. They also highlighted that other companies could also easily sue Sojang now, given that their identity has been uncovered. However, since the channel is gone, it is fair to say that the entire K-Pop industry has benefitted through Starship’s lawsuit, and, hence, agencies don’t need to take action separately in this matter.