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Scriptwriter Sues Production Company Over TV Drama

Posted July. 13, 2010 12:45,   


“You need not write scripts anymore.”

Kim Mi-suk, a scriptwriter for an MBC TV weekend soap opera on the legendary founder of Korea’s Gaya Kingdom Kim Su-ro, got this message in an e-mail from her production company last month.

The company, who was uncomfortable with the drama’s story, sent her a notice on terminating their contract. Kim had signed a deal worth 190 million won (157,800 U.S. dollars) in July last year on formulating the plot and writing scripts.

She applied for a provisionary attachment of debts in her lawsuit against the company, demanding damages of 576 million won (478,600 dollars).

A Seoul court said Monday that 576 million won (478,600 dollars) of the fees going to the production company from MBC will be under provisionary attachment before the ruling comes out.

The court also accepted a provisionary attachment worth 70 million won (58,160 dollars) from a separate lawsuit against a drama production company filed by another writer, who demanded damages from the company for terminating their contract unilaterally.

A series of conflicts between drama production companies and writers have been fueled by a heated bidding war for popular scriptwriters among production companies seeking to make quick money.

If a drama is not as popular as expected, the costs increase dramatically, or conflict erupts between a writer and a production company, friends turn into enemies overnight.

“This side effect stems from production companies trying to attract popular writers and actors by spending excessive amounts of money to gain a slot,” a source from a production company said. “Increased pay for writers is another source of conflict.”