The verdict is in. Jang Dong Gun, the actor who appeared in the recent drama "A Gentleman's Dignity," has lost a lawsuit against a plastic surgeon for using his picture to advertise his services. The doctor did not ask for permission to use his photo nor did he pay for its use.
Jang Gong Dun was not the only celebrity involved. Photos of several actors and pop idols, including Kim Nam Gil, Song Hye Kyo, BoA, Girls' Generation's Jessica and Tiffany, were used on the site of the doctor, identified only as Mr. Kim.
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SM Entertainment, which represents Jang and Girls Generation, filed a lawsuit in January claiming that the doctor had knowingly used the celebrity images to attract plastic surgery clients to his Gangnam office. Around the same time, a similar case was filed against a dental clinic, involving photographs of actor Lee Byung Hun and the girl groups, Wonder Girls and Girls Generation.
"The plastic surgery clinic was found to be operating a blog and circulating these artists' images on the Internet to promote the hospital without their consent or permission, thus this is an infringement of these celebrities' rights," said a statement released by SM Entertainment.
The agency asked for $1.2 million in damages for the clients named in their claim. In a ruling this week, the judge denied their claim. He ruled that Dr. Kim had not used the images on purpose but that others uploaded the images without his consent.
"There is no evidence that indicates that Dr. Kim should be responsible for their use," said the judge,
SM Entertainment disagreed. Dr. Kim may not have consented but he should have been aware that the photos were associated with his site.
"People can access their site just by looking up the artists' names on the Internet," said an SM representative. "This will mislead people into thinking that our clients have connections to the clinic or have had plastic surgery in the past."
Entertainers are often accused of plastic surgery and must repeatedly deny such allegations. Jang has previously denied having work done.
"People always think I have had plastic surgery," said Jang. "Especially on my nose. I've heard it so many times."
Photos from his younger years show he looks much the same as he always did.
Despite the court ruling, the agency has no plans to abandon this suit.
"We will definitely appeal," said an SM representative.
There was no word on how they would proceed. It is thought that the actors will file individual suits through their record labels.
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