A 28-year-old Korean man has been sentenced to prison for pretending to be a BTS member, stealing unreleased music in 2022, and leaking it online.
On July 17, 2023, the Daegu District Court’s Western District Criminal Division 9 announced that the man was sentenced to one year and two months in prison. He also received a three-year probation and 240 hours of community service along with 40 hours of mental and psychotherapy classes, multiple South Korean news websites reported.
In February 2022, the man, whose name has not been revealed, contacted a Bighit music producer and pretended to be a BTS member from his house in Daegu.
Unaware he was being deceived, the producer shared the septet's group activity information and files of unreleased music.
According to reports, the accused publicly posted the music files on Instagram 47 times and shared them with his acquaintances on a messaging app multiple times.
The prosecution said that the man aspired to be a successful producer by faking his profile, which was copied from the Bighit Music producer.
The accused managed to hamper Bighit sales until May 20, 2022, and has been charged with South Korea’s Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilisation and Information Protection.
Reportedly, BTS’ agency, Bighit Music withdrew all criminal charges against the man.
The lawyer of the accused pleaded for leniency by appealing that he had succumbed to social media as he was facing difficulties in maintaining relationships with the people around him due to his past criminal records. He was jealous of his friends who became successful in the music field as he had also pursued pop music, and this made him take such extreme steps, the lawyer added.
According to South Korean entertainment news website kbizoom.com, the court explained the reason for the sentence and said: “We took into account the fact that the victims are likely to have suffered considerable property and social damage, most of the released music files were edited and posted in a short length of about 10 to 20 seconds, the music was released as an official album after the crime, and Big Hit Music withdrew the lawsuit.”