“Hye Super Star” Enticement

I was in such a merry mood when I passed the first round of “Hye Super Star 2” after my failure at the first one, that anything else wouldn’t matter for me, even if I was dismissed during the next 2 rounds. But unfortunately my cheerfulness lasted only a week, It went down as soon as I was presented with a contract, which I had to sign and hand in the next day in order to take part in the next rounds.

After having just a glance at all the points I already hesitated and was equivocal about my further participation. For two days the contract in my hand I was running from this person to another to get advice and with the hope that any of those people would calm me down saying that such contracts are normal in cases like this and I don’t lose anything. But, alas, nothing of such was heard.

Translating and quoting from the contract:
“The participants assure that they are aware that in case of participating as one of the 11 participants of the final round, at “Shant” TV’s demand in 10 days time they must sign a contract lasting 3 years”.

So by this contract they oblige them to sign another contract lasting 3 years on terms of which the participants don’t know anything. Besides during those 3 years, the participants don’t have any right to partner with others, use their names, bring any changes to their appearance and character and so on. They also want the participants to admit that their aim is to win at this competition and that the participants won’t get any kind of compensation, indemnity, or salary.
According to this contract the participants give to “Shant” TV their copyright, regarding everything they’d do during 3 years, and “Shant” TV has also the right to sell this contract to some other person. They don’t take any responsibility if the participants lose their jobs, or have problems with education or army service.

“What happened to the winner of the first Hye supert star? Where is she?”- was the question everyone would ask me. Well, I hope they are preparing something for her future. Yet, no news. What about the other 10 participants? I was told that not once “Shant” called to producers persuading them to take those participants. But as I talked to such a producer: “Why should I pay money to buy the contract, I may find brilliant people by myself and work with them by my own”. Later I learnt that those poor guys now are sitting idly by apart from several concerts they gave right after the first show.

It turns out that by signing this contract I would have to serve them for 3 years acquiring in return just a recognition, and people would soon forget about me if I didn’t become the winner. That means I’d have to leave everything I was doing so far I obey to their orders and run to the places they would send me with concerts. That would mean to forget for 3 years who I am and be ruled by a company which would pay me nothing in return. One of my acquaintances remark on it “Are you the Spartak” won’t come amiss here. No self-expression, no choice, no creative personality, no artistic attitude but anything set by the others.

After 2 very hard and depressing days I finally made my decision: I’m not participating. It was my decision, despite the fact that several very important people told that I had all the chances to be among the best 11. But I could not allow myself to be lured by the chance to show up on the TV screen, that’s not for me. Trying to do something alone will be far more difficult, but as I don’t give up and lose heart, I hope that you’ll learn about me one day, I sincerely cherish that dream, one day!

And many thanks to all of those who backed me up those days and also helped to make up my mind.

8 Responses to ““Hye Super Star” Enticement”

  1. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    Sorry that this happened, but I think you made the right choice. When you read parts of the contract to me I was horrified too, especially the part obliging the last 11 contestants to sign a contract they haven’t even seen and which would last 3 years.

    Like most people, my first reaction was also “What happened to the last winners?” I’d also add that if Shant continue to draw up contracts like this they should perhaps request that participants sign in their own blood. Still this is Armenia. Even contracts from organizations such as the U.N. here aren’t much better.

    Forgetting the fact that contracts mean little to most people, when they are produced they nearly always favor the employer and not the employee. To be honest, I haven’t seen one exception to this rule in the 8 years I’ve been in Armenia. It’s a really worrying situation.

  2. Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Armenia: Bowing Out Says:

    […] Zarchka of Life Around Me explains why she decided not to participate in “Hye Superstar 2.” Nathan Hamm […]

  3. Myrthe Says:

    Good for you for not signing! I think that was a smart move.

    I have heard that the candidates to the finals of “Idols”-shows in other countries also had to sign somewhat similar contracts (committing themselves to a certain recordcompany for a certain amount of time). Only there, they would bring out an album soon after the finals and they would be able to use their “status” as a new famous person. In general things were definitely arranged better and commitments would be honored better than in Armenia. Though I do realize the difference, I just wanted to point out that the general idea of the contract is not particular to Armenia but comes with getting to the finals of all “Idols”-shows.

    But again: you did the right thing!

    Only too bad I don’t get to hear you sing again!😛

  4. Myrthe Says:

    Hm, that was supposed to be the smiley sticking his (her?) tongue out. P

  5. Zarchka Says:

    Myrthe, you’r right, that contract is probably the same for all the countries, but in a word it is outrageous.
    And, by the way, the singing you heard is not actually what I usually sing. It was the wine I guess😉

  6. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    You call that drinking wine?
    😉

  7. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    The Shant contract doesn’t appear to be the same as the U.S. contract, and there doesn’t appear to be the obligation to sign a contract not even seen yet in the American version. However, the U.S. contract also appears bad, and in many places similar to the Armenian contract, and is also raising some concern stateside.

    See here.

    Slaves of celebrity

    According to the version of the contract one entertainment lawyer posted to the Internet, Fuller and his company own the names, likenesses, voices and personal histories of the “Idol” finalists, “in or in connection with” the show, forever. 19 Group can use that material however it wants, even if it’s false, embarrassing or damaging.

    If contestants reveal anything to anyone about the workings of the show or the contract they signed, they’re liable for damages “in excess of $5 million.” Their recording, management and merchandising companies, needless to say, are all owned by 19 Group — a fundamental conflict of interest familiar to anyone who has studied the machinations of the music biz.

    […]

    Kenneth Freundlich, a prominent Los Angeles entertainment lawyer who has examined the 14-page contract that was presumably signed by all the “American Idol” contestants, says, however, that Clarkson and her fellow finalists are “surrounded by what appears to be the worst rendition of the industry, after being voted on by a public with no knowledge of the story within the story.” How many of the millions of viewers who voted for Clarkson or any other contestant, he wonders, would willingly have signed their own sons and daughters up for such a career of music-industry servitude?

    […]

    Fine came into possession of the contract when the mother of a young man who was interested in being on the show brought it in for his perusal. The contract had been presented on a “take it or leave it” basis and the man had been given a couple of hours to make a decision. Fine told him not to sign.

    “1. I hereby consent to Producer’s filming, taping and/or recording of me for use in and in connection with the Series … I acknowledge and agree that Producer will be the sole and exclusive owner of all rights and material filmed, taped, and/or recorded pursuant to this Agreement.

    “… I hereby grant to Producer the unconditional right throughout the universe in perpetuity to use, simulate or portray (and to authorize others to do so) or to refrain from using, simulating or portraying, my name, likeness (whether photographic or otherwise), voice, singing voice, personality, personal identification or personal experiences, my life story, biographical data, incidents, situations and events which heretofore occurred or hereafter occur, including without limitation the right to use, or to authorize others to use any of the foregoing in or in connection with the Series …

    “… I understand that, in and in connection with the Series, I may reveal and/or relate, and other parties … may reveal and/or relate information about me of a personal, private, intimate, surprising, defamatory, disparaging, embarrassing or unfavorable nature, that may be factual and/or fictional.”

    In other words, the producers can record any and all behavior of the contestant “in and in connection with the series” and use the contestant’s likeness, voice and any or all biographical material, whether true or false, any way they want to. The producers own all this material forever and “throughout the universe.”

    “2. Confidentiality/Disclosures: Any and all information disclosed to or obtained by me concerning or relating to the Series, the contestants, the events contained in the Series, the outcome of the Series and/or contest, Producer, the Network and the terms and conditions of this Agreement shall be strictly confidential.

    ” … I acknowledge that any disclosure of such information will constitute a material breach of this Agreement and will cause Producer and the Network substantial and irreparable Injury and will cause substantial damages in excess of Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000), entitling Producer (and/or the Network, as a third party beneficiary of this provision) to, among other things: (a) injunctive or other equitable relief, without posting any bond, to prevent and/or cure any breach or threatened breach of this paragraph by me; (b) recovery or disgorgement of the monies and other consideration, if any, I received in connection with such disclosure; (c) forfeiture of any and all cash and prizes that I may have been entitled to for participating in the Series; and (d) recovery of the Producer’s and/or the Network’s damages, including but not limited to, lost profits and other consequential damages, to the extent permitted by law, and attorneys’ fees and court costs incurred to enforce this paragraph.”

    Absolutely all information regarding the show and this contract is confidential. If the contestant breaches this confidentiality it will cause damages assumed to be in excess of $5 million. The producers can recover such damages, anything gained by the contestant from such a disclosure, the contestant’s winnings from the show and any actual additional damages caused by the disclosure.

    […]

    “5. Future Agreements: Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Section C, I understand and agree that in the event I am one of the final ten (10) contestants in the Competition, I will be required to enter into the following agreements: (a) an agreement with 19 Recordings Ltd. (or an affiliated company) for my exclusive services as a recording artist; (b) an agreement with 19 Merchandising Ltd. for the use of my name, likeness biography in connection with advertising, endorsement, merchandising and sponsorship; and (c) an agreement with 19 Management Ltd. for the management of my career as an artist. I understand and agree that, unless I am the individual selected as the winner of the Competition, such agreements shall become fully effective only at the election of 19 Recordings Ltd., 19 Merchandising Ltd. and/or 19 Management Ltd.”

    Each of the 10 finalists was required to enter into agreements exclusively with 19 Recordings as recording artist; 19 Merchandising for advertising, endorsements, sponsorships and merchandising; and 19 Management for the management of his or her career. All this was entirely at the option of the 19 companies, save for the winner, who was guaranteed this result.

    […]

    Fine’s fellow L.A. music attorney Kenneth Freundlich, who was quoted above, is also highly critical of the contract and its ramifications. He notes that the contract omits a routine provision: the advice to consult your own lawyer or forever waive your right to complain later that you didn’t. “Perhaps this was left out so as not to suggest to a contestant something she might not otherwise have thought of,” he says. He wonders whether the absence of this provision might make the “American Idol” contract ultimately unenforceable.

  8. Zarchka Says:

    Thanks for the information, Onnik. Though it seems to me that the contract points are even more revolting in the U.S. version, but as we say “It’s the same shit, just in different pots”.
    I don’t want to regret that I left it.

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