‘Ip Man’ triggers IP litigation in China

Piracy Here’s one you don’t see every day: Chinese film studio Dasheng International Media (DIM), in conjunction with the China Film Copyright Protection Association, has brought a lawsuit against China’s largest eDonkey tracker VeryCD and other sites for providing links to pirated copies of the martial arts film Ip Man 2.

The suit was filed late last week in the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court and seeks 11.85 million yuan (U.S. $1.73 million). At a press conference Friday, DIM president An Xiaofen said the film appeared on the Internet within a week of its theatrical opening and has been downloaded over 10 million times.

VeryCD has been subject to government crackdowns in the past, but mostly over providing links to porn and other verboten content, not copyright infringement. The suit represents a rare instance of a private Chinese party seeking to enforce its IP rights in a Chinese court.

Whether the Ip Man 2 case will start a trend remains to be seen. But in the long run, the best thing that could happen for foreign distributors in China is for domestic producers get more assertive about enforcing their own IP rights. Cultures, particularly insular cultures like the Han Chinese, need to change from within, international trade and treaty obligations notwithstanding.

Further reading:

IP Man 2 Movie Piracy Case a Rare Event in China

VeryCD, Other Sites Charged With Film Piracy (auto-translated)