Saturday, December 25, 2004

Chinese Cage Rabbit

Peter Rabbit, the tasty rodent created by Beatrix Potter over a century ago, is back in his cage. Attempts by a Chinese publisher to set him free from copyright restrictions have resulted in an affirmation of the rights of the English publisher Warne & Company by a Chinese court. The court has ruled that, although Chinese copyright ends 50 years after the death of the author, the Chinese publisher violated copyright by putting tens of thousands Peter Rabbit books on the market without authorization. Potter died in 1943, but apparently Warne & Company registered 11 of her characters between 1994 and 1997, two of which are related to Peter Rabbit.

The news reports are pretty shady about this case. No explanation is given for the discrepancy between the ending of the 50 year copyright term and the trademark rights of the English publisher. And is China getting more serious on copyright enforcement? If Peter wants to hold true to his story I can only say: run rabbit, run!
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Xinhuanet report
Later: Furdlog points to other "evidence" that China is taking copyright enforcement more seriously: Honda brand motorbikes to be taken from the market.

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