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Chinese Copyright Law, Peer Production and the Participatory Media Age: an Old Regime in a New World

Sydney University Press
Publication Date
  • 180115 Intellectual Property Law
  • Chinese Copyright Law
  • Peer Production
  • Participatory Media
  • Law


In 2005, a funny flash song, "I Don't Want to Say I'm a Chicken", spread over the Internet (hereafter referred to as the Chicken Song Case). People were sharing it among friends, downloading it and using it as a mobile phone ring tone, and singing the song on KTV. The flash song is the lament of a chicken that was happy to be a source of eggs and meat, but is now facing extermination because of the threat of bird flu. Although the lyrics of the "Chicken Song" are creative and humorous, the melody of the song is lifted entirely from a famous Chinese song, "I Don't Want to Say", written by Li Haiying. As a result Li has sued the wireless content provider where the "Chicken Song" first appeared, for copyright infringement. Li believes he is owed an apology, 2 million Yuan in compensation, court costs and 50000 Yuan for mental suffering. In 2006, a video spoof of a big-budget film created by a Chinese blogger triggered a hot debate among Chinese legal academics on copyright law. Hue Ge in his short video titled, "The Bloodbath That Began with a Steamed Bun", mocks much more than Chen Kaige's movie, "The Promise" (hereafter referred to as the Steamed Bun Case). The video pokes fun at the premise of the movie in which a hungry girl lies to a boy and steals his steamed bun. The boy grows up hating the world and becomes a cold-blooded killer. Chen was so infuriated by the "Steamed Bun" that he threw stones at Hu and threatened to seek litigation against him.

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