Autobots Cars 2
“Disgruntled audiences, more than any law, could have a huge impact in the future on whether producers in China turn away from egregious copying.”
Eric Priest, New York Times,
A continuing concern for those who do business in China has been the threat of having one’s intellectual property copied without compensation or recognition. The protection of ideas is a revered tradition in countries with strong safeguards for intellectual property protection. China, however, has no history of protecting intellectual property so the entire idea of being legally entitled to own an idea in that country is both figuratively and literally foreign.
This notion has been changing in 21st century China as homegrown Chinese companies have fought to protect the rights to their brands, products and characters. What I am finding interesting, however, is that Chinese consumers are now beginning to push back against counterfeiters.
Case in point is a very interesting article by New York Times writer, Amy Qin, entitled: “‘The Autobots’ Hits Theaters, and Many Chinese Say They’ve Seen It Before.” “The Autobots,” according to Qin, “bears a more-than-uncanny resemblance to Disney-Pixar’s hit “Cars.” As a result, notes Qin, the Internet in China has seen an eruption in angry and critical comments about "The Autobots" and the people behind it.
Qin goes on to make this very telling point made by Eric Priest, a University of Oregon professor who specializes in Chinese intellectual property protections: “’Chinese consumers feel ripped off and expect more now from domestic productions,” said Mr. Priest. “Disgruntled audiences, more than any law, could have a huge impact in the future on whether producers in China turn away from egregious copying.’”
A discerning public may in the long run be the key to encouraging better and more robustly enforced intellectual property protections. China’s culture is changing in regards to who owns intellectual property and that is good for everyone…except of course for those who copy.