Intellectual Property

Curse of the Golden Flower not violating copyright!

Zhang Yimou acquired Thunderstorm rights prior to writing movie script

That's the stunning headline to the Mirror's non-story on Curse of the Golden Flower's squeaky-clean IP situation. Zhang's new film is an adaptation of Cao Yu's play, Thunderstorm. The news media, which is increasingly twitchy when it comes to plagiarism and IP infringement (by other parties, natch), went looking for a scandal but turned up nothing.

Cao Yu's daughter Wan Fang said that she's received lots of calls recently asking about the use of Thunderstorm, and confirmed that Zhang Yimou had acquired the rights to the play for a sum she would not disclose. Said Wan:

There are lots of movies and TV shows being adapted from famous literary works these days, and Armor is just one of them. There's nothing to hype up. Rights were handled very appropriately, and the entire process went according to the rules.

There's also been some criticism of Zhang for slighting Cao by leaving his name off the movie credits. Wan dismissed those concerns:

If his name isn't in the credits, it won't bother us as family members. They completely rewrote the script and made some major changes. Also, the producers probably have their own concerns, and don't want to draw the audience's attention to a comparison of the movie and Thunderstorm.

Since this really isn't much of a story, here's a clip from the 1997 TVB series Old Time Buddy (难兄难弟) in which the cast spoofs the big reveal in Thunderstorm (in Cantonese with Mandarin subtitles):

It comes by way of "Joint Improvement" who asks, "Why couldn't Zhang Yimou have chosen this screenwriter?"

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