IP and Law
Posted by Joel Martinsen on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 3:00 PM
Xinhua released the following news item this morning:
Last year's reports elaborated on Li's complaints: his two plays were unpublished, but in 2002 he submitted them to China's Science Fiction World magazine and the 2003 Xia Yan Film Literature Prize.
Two things distinguish this particular infringement case from the run-of-the-mill plagiarism allegations that seem to crop up every few weeks and which don't usually rate a mention here. First, the reports link the case to the American WTO complaint - Xinhua's English-language article, though less detailed than the Chinese version, mentions the US government's filing in the second paragraph.
The timing's just a happy coincidence, however; according to news reports from last year, the Dongying court predicted that it would require at least 10 months lead time, and set a preliminary court date in April. Li had been gathering evidence since late 2004 and had filed his lawsuit a number of times before the court finally accepted it.
Second, a bizarre fictionalized account of the affair done as a pastiche of traditional Chinese popular novels was posted to some online forums in late 2004. Li Jianmin and his friend "The Black Whirlwind" Li Kui navigate the labyrinth of Song bureaucracy to find out how the foreigners got their hands on his script. (Part I, Part II, Part III)
UPDATE (2007.07.15): Xinhua announces, via AP, that Li Jianmin lost his suit: "Li could not prove that his plays were completed in 2001 and 2002, nor could he establish that 20th Century Fox had access to his plays, Xinhua said, citing the decision by the Intermediate People's Court of Dongying, in eastern China's Shandong province."
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.