Bad vs. legally actionable

So, it's not like I'm trying to turn this into a K-pop blog or anything, but Block B recently had its lawsuit against its label dismissed. The case reminded me a lot of the failed class-action lawsuit against Harlequin in that the company being sued was engaged in behavior that clearly was very bad, but that, for various reasons, was not considered by the courts to actually be lawsuit-worthy.

In Block B's case, the label:

1. Did not pay members until the members started to sue.

2. Owes the members a substantial amount of money (roughly $400,000).

3. Hired as CEO a man who stole money from the member's families and then committed suicide.

Not shockingly, the members of the group feel that their label is Not A Good Label. (In fact, they are going indie now, which honestly I think is probably the best thing--in the Korean music industry the performers are typically just talking heads, so it's pretty standard for a band's legal relationship with their label to closely resemble that of a monkey to an organ grinder.)

But all that is pretty much irrelevant to the court. Why? Because the court is trying to determine if the label's actions are so bad that the contracts have been voided. And the court said no.

Why? Well, the court looked at the above points and said, Yeah, but once you did sue, the label paid you. And yeah, they still owe you money, but it sounds like they're planning on someday paying you that, too. Plus, there's no evidence that the label underpaid you because they were trying to rob you--it's more likely that they underpaid you because they're completely disorganized and keep craptacular records.

You might think that that sort of thing wouldn't happen here, but rest assured, it does: What a court considers Bad is often far below most people's Get Me the Hell Out threshold. It's kind of like the difference between someone being a bad driver and someone having their license revoked--there's a whole grey area in there where you don't let that person drive your kids around. And it's something to keep in mind before you go a-signing contracts with a publisher or other company that may or may not actually prove to be of service to you.