Wo Shi Laowai – Wo Pa Shui

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Disneyland is Too Far

Posted by MyLaowai on Monday, May 7, 2007

With it’s slogan “Disneyland is too far,” Beijing’s Shijingshan Amusement Park features a replica of Cinderella’s Castle, with staff dressed like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and other Disney characters. None of this is authorized by Disney – but that has not stopped the state-owned park from creating its own counterfeit version of the Magic Kingdom in a brazen example of the sort of open and widespread copyright piracy that has Washington fuming.

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.

Her view is common in a country where lax societal and law-enforcement attitudes toward copyright protection has seen the counterfeit goods industry become a key part of the national economy.

According to Zhang Zhifeng, a member of the state-sponsored China Intellectual Property Society, “If [the Chinese Government] increase IPR protections, this is of no benefit to China, only to foreign copyright-holders. If they go and protect these, then China’s own IPR sector will not be allowed to develop and become competitive,”

070507fakeminniedonald.jpg

Mouse? No – a Big-Eared Cat

The park President, when interviewed on video, said that nothing was copied from Disney and that all the characters were original creations. That just happen to look like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White, the Seven Dwarves, Doraemon, Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, Shrek, Tigger, and a whole host of other well-known characters. These ‘original creations’ spend a lot of time hanging out with (and, I’m sure, lending credibility to) the Beijing Olympics Fluffpuppets, so I guess it’s all legal and above-board, then.

Thanks to JapanProbe and The Standard for the heads-up and first report.

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4 Responses to “Disneyland is Too Far”

  1. strandedmariner said

    Why am I not surprised in a country where everything is stolen, copied, fake, or substandard.

  2. Emily said

    Different countries have different IP laws. In the US, Mickey was due to pass into the public domain a few years ago. The Disney lobby, with the help of Congresswoman Mary Bono, succeeded in extending the length of copyright protection. They were motivated by their own pecuniary interests, not the good of the American people, nor the welfare of the people of the world.

    She’s still Got You Babe.

  3. Eric said

    In that case, Emily, fair enough for Disney to do that, simply because they ARE still using it as a corporate image. And whether or not Mickey Mouse suddenly slips into the Public Domain isn’t really going to effect the American people either way.

  4. […] property, including nuclear weapon designs, is theirs for the taking, also use Mickey Mouse. This post, by an ex-pat living in China, shows that Mickey is fair game:With it’s slogan “Disneyland is too […]

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