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Kim’s widow wins defamation suit

May 30,2019
The widow of deceased singer Kim Kwang-seok partially won a defamation suit against journalist Lee Sang-ho on Thursday, who directed the film “Kim Kwang-seok.”

According to Seoul Western District Court, the three defendants - Lee, Gobal News and Kim Kwang-bok, brother of the late Kim - are to pay 50 million won ($41,820) to his widow, Seo Hai-soon, to compensate her for defamation.

“Lee and Gobal News conclusively pegged Seo as the definitive culprit responsible for the death of the singer and falsely accused Seo of snatching copyrights of Kim’s music from Kim’s family while intentionally hiding the death of her daughter to secure her sole legal rights,” ruled the court.

The court also acknowledged that a social media post where Lee described Seo as “a demon” was defamation.

The case originated from 2017 when Lee accused Seo of causing Kim’s suicide in 1996.

The journalist had also filed a suit against Seo for fraud and said she was responsible for the death of the couple’s only daughter, Seo-yeon, who died unexpectedly from acute pneumonia. Police closed the case.

But Wednesday’s ruling concluded that the film itself did not infringe upon the plaintiff’s portrait rights or copyright, although there is content that is exaggerated.

Neither the plaintiff nor the three defendants attended the ruling.

By Lee Jae-lim