Copyright Progress (with a Long Way to Go)

by John Chester, owner Wild Apple Graphics

Made it back home with no arrests, no jail time.  Yes, we were on another copyright infringement hunting trip in China.

This time there were 6 art publishers (International Graphics, May, Rosenstiels, Top Art, World Art Group, and Wild Apple) walking the massive Canton and Jinhan Fairs in Guangzhou.  Bad news: there were just as many companies ripping off artwork as the last time.  Good news: the number of images being ripped off, especially from Wild Apple’s perspective, was way, way down.  Could it be…we’re actually having some effect?!

We took a more constructive though firm approach this time, since we discovered that our aggressive behavior last October could have been rewarded by a months’ long prison visit.  Which is not in my vacation plans.  Almost all of the violators were reasonably cooperative, and the fact is we saw a huge reduction in infringements, so a more positive tone was warranted.  However, one guy was a real jerk to us, and fortunately I had the right paperwork with me (that only took 3 months to procure) to get the show organizers make him take down product and put him at risk of being kicked out of the show if he ever sells it again. The officially sanctioned copyright smackdown felt pretty good.

Fighting the copyright battle is nowhere near as much fun as looking forward to the next great artwork introduction.  But spending a portion of our time on defense is worthwhile – for Wild Apple and for the industry.