Thursday, May 03, 2007

Chinese Intellectual Piracy: Not Just for Back Alley DVDs Anymore

Source Article HERE

Sometimes you just have to stand in awe of China's "in your face, capitalist societies!" world view. Here's Shijingshan Amusement Park, near Beijing.

You know, for an amusement park, it looks remarkably like...nah. Couldn't be. But who's this cheery lady, with a hole carved into her skirt? I think I saw her in a film once...

Wait a minute!

Oh my gosh! It's Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. Well, actually, these are characters at the Shijingshan Amusement Park, whose slogan is (I swear) "Disneyland is too far." Park officials insist that that's not Minnie Mouse. Not at all. That's a cat with very large ears. (I really can't make this stuff up.)

I'm not sure who they think they're fooling. I mean, if you lie about something, but the party you're speaking to KNOWS you're lying, and even you are aware that you're not being believed, is it even *called* lying at that point? We may need to invent some new term for sad, pathetic, and utterly transparent attempts at lying. A new verb is required! Perhaps we can use "dum", as in "she dummed about washing her hair last night, just to avoid our date."

dum: verb. intransitive.
1. to prevaricate in a situation in spite of the knowledge that the fallacious statement will not be accepted as true by any of the participating parties.

I think we can all agree that this is now the new benchmark for dumming. It may not be the epitome of this new verb (since I've only just coined the use), but we can all agree this is an excellent exemplar.

I mean, doesn't this look familiar?

And this is definitely not whomever you think it is...

Here's the telling point in this craziness. It's from an article on the park, found HERE.

But 31-year-old housewife Zhang Li betrays a typical Chinese attitude on the issue while chasing her young son around the park.

“I don’t understand why that is such a big problem. Shouldn’t others be able to use those characters besides [Disney]?” she asks.

I can't help thinking that whenever China starts producing something original for global consumption that it wants to control the profits on, watch how fast their stance changes. Maybe it's a cultural thing. When people are raised in a culture where a significant portion of the commerce is stealing ideas and products from other countries, they just don't have the same rights of "ownership" that you and I have.

Or at least, the same ideas I *thought* we had. There's been a big stink in the world of web-based comics lately with the revelation that a designer who makes t-shirts for mall stores may have stolen art from a web artist, and reproduced it for profit without permission. Shots of the original and the mass-produced copy are at this link. Looks pretty conclusive to me.

But anyway, consumerism is about the free exchange and sale of other people's ideas, right?


  1. I have to admit that also have my own non-copywrite infringing cartoon character amusement park. Every weekend it's a celebration! Come see Hans Mouse and his dog Jupiter.