Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Does China's Copyright Law Has A Sense Of Humour?

Tavis Coburn created in 2007 "Mao Jordon", using Mao holding a Nike Air in his hand and wearing a hair band with swoosh, a registered trademark of Nike. The artist provokes a lot of questions with a limited edition of 100 prints.

Besides whether Mr Coburn's work would be censored in China, would it be protected under China's author's right?

Article 1 Copyright Law: This Law is enacted, in accordance with the Constitution, for the purposes of protecting the copyright of authors in their literary, artistic and scientific works and the copyright-related rights and interests, of encouraging the creation and dissemination of works which would contribute to the construction of socialist spiritual and material civilization, and of promoting the development and prosperity of the socialist culture and science.

Does Mao advertising Nike on a reproduction of a painting contribute to the construction of socialist and material civilazation?

Article 46 Copyright Law: Anyone who commits any of the following acts of infringement shall bear civil liability for such remedies as ceasing the infringing act, eliminating the effects of the act, making an apology or paying compensation for damages, depending on the circumstances: (4) distorting or mutilating a work created by another;

The original maker of the Mao portrait could claim this personal right was breached.
I think that the artist by using parody makes a statement that refers to China's effort to combine socialism and capitalism into a hybrid. However, parody is at the moment in China not protected under the Copyright Law.

Head tip to Susan Scafidi of Counterfeit Chic. Read her excellent Knockoff News Edition 76 here

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