Intellectual Property

Scylla and Charybdis in the Beijing subway

This is Time Out Beijing, known in Chinese as LE magazine.


Because of various absurd regulations governing print media in China, the publishers of LE have not yet been allowed to put "Time Out' on the cover. But that's another issue. Today's lesson in Chinese magazine fun and games concerns the Scylla and Charybdis of Mainland publishing, which are: no respect for intellectual property, and the gangsters in charge of the limited channels of distribution. An even more fearsome beast that publishers must deal with is the Press and Publications Bureau which grants and takes away publishing licences. But back to Scylla; take a closer look at LE's logo:


Now take a look at this new magazine, called D One Week (D yi zhou) produced by a company connected with the Beijing Subway.


Note the logo. The design and content of the inside of the magazine is equally derivative. Let's look at just one example: the 'tabs' that indicate the section of the magazine. The one on the right is from LE, the one on the left is from the Beijing Subway magazine.


Now meet Charybdis:

The Beijing Subway has always been one of the best places for magazine sales for obvious reasons. But just over a month ago, the subway authorities kicked out all the magazine and newspaper stalls, because of 'safety concerns'. Coincidentally, this was exactly the time when D One Week launched. D One Week is full of advertising and is handed out to commuters for free in subway stations. Giving magazines away for free: it's clearly much safer than selling them.

This little battle is still developing: some magazine stalls have already started operating again in subway stations, presumably after payment of 'fines'.

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives